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Afghanistan

#41 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-August-17, 19:29

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-17, 14:25, said:

... the book by Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism


I haven't read it but I am sure a few earlier empires could have advised. But seemingly every generation of anything needs to relearn from their own mistakes. Sadly some can be devastating to others

I could also add that my new country of Australia could learn too what happens attaching themselves to imperial struggles around the world. Slow learners too
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#42 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 04:24

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-17, 14:25, said:

I cut you down to this section to emphasize how similar are your comments to the entire thrust of the book by Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism

I think I might have heard the name in passing but have certainly not read it. Is it worth adding to my future reading list?
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#43 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 08:24

View PostGilithin, on 2021-August-18, 04:24, said:

I think I might have heard the name in passing but have certainly not read it. Is it worth adding to my future reading list?

I think so. Bacevich is quite a thoughtful individual so what he argues and explains is never emotive rant.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#44 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 09:10

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-17, 14:25, said:

I cut you down to this section to emphasize how similar are your comments to the entire thrust of the book by Andrew Bacevich, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism


Another of a long list of books I should read but haven't. I vaguely recall the book's first appearance some years back.

Motivated by your post, I did read a review by Jonathan Tepperman:

https://www.nytimes....epperman-t.html


Sample

Quote

Andrew J. Bacevich thinks our political system is busted. In ďThe Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism,Ē he argues that the countryís founding principle ó freedom ó has become confused with appetite, turning Americaís traditional quest for liberty into an obsession with consumption, the never-ending search for more. To accommodate this hunger, pandering politicians have created an informal empire of supply, maintaining it through constant brush-fire wars. Yet the foreign-policy apparatus meant to manage that empire has grown hideously bloated and has led the nation into one disaster after another. The latest is Iraq: in Bacevichís mind, the crystallization of all thatís gone wrong with the American system.


Tepperman later expresses some skepticism about the argument. Not having read the book, I'll leave it be.

I also looked up Bacevich on Wikipedia. Interesting enough.



Ken
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#45 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 10:26

View Postkenberg, on 2021-August-18, 09:10, said:

Another of a long list of books I should read but haven't. I vaguely recall the book's first appearance some years back.

Motivated by your post, I did read a review by Jonathan Tepperman:

https://www.nytimes....epperman-t.html


Sample
[/size][/font][/color]

Tepperman later expresses some skepticism about the argument. Not having read the book, I'll leave it be.

I also looked up Bacevich on Wikipedia. Interesting enough.





Oddly - or perhaps not so oddly - I did not get the same thing from the book that your reviewer did. The parts that intrigued me was his criticisms and explanations of the coordination of politics and the military, how this coordination has been disrupted with the advent of a professional standing army and the disconnect of values between civilians and the armed forces.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#46 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-18, 15:47

Was getting this right part of his job?

Quote

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley insisted at a Wednesday press conference that U.S. intelligence did not predict the collapse of the Afghan government in less than two weeks. "There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army in this government in 11 days," he said, adding they were told the country could fall to the Taliban in weeks or even years.


Is it time to say adieu? Or, as I read somewhere: Lieutenant is a military rank; General is political.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#47 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2021-August-19, 09:36

I think Biden was in a no-win situation.

And as for the failure of intelligence, I can merely quote the great philosopher Yogi Bera:

Quote

It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future.


The real failure was 20 years ago not heeding the advice of Vizzini:

Quote

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia,"


#48 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-August-19, 09:48

View Postbarmar, on 2021-August-19, 09:36, said:

I think Biden was in a no-win situation.

And as for the failure of intelligence, I can merely quote the great philosopher Yogi Bera:


The real failure was 20 years ago not heeding the advice of Vizzini:



I think that Biden was definitely in a no-win situation. I also think that is not all that there is to say. Of course I don't know what can and cannot be done, but I found this article of interest.

https://www.washingt...rlifts-history/

It's one thing to say that the situation is awful. And, in very large part, not created by JB. But that's not the same as saying that there are not better ways and worse ways of proceeding.

I strongly hope that we get this as right as possible for the Afghans, for us, for the world. Part of how to do it, I think, is to acknowledge a screw-up when we see it. And then fix it as best we can. I hope that is what we are doing.
Ken
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#49 User is offline   Gilithin 

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Posted 2021-August-19, 16:06

View Postkenberg, on 2021-August-19, 09:48, said:

It's one thing to say that the situation is awful. And, in very large part, not created by JB. But that's not the same as saying that there are not better ways and worse ways of proceeding.

I strongly hope that we get this as right as possible for the Afghans, for us, for the world. Part of how to do it, I think, is to acknowledge a screw-up when we see it. And then fix it as best we can. I hope that is what we are doing.

Something else to ponder - the withdrawal may well not be the only part of the fallout from Afghanistan where DJT tied JB's hands. A few years back there was a refugee crisis from the Middle East and North Africa. Europe took the brunt of that and the US reaction was "America First!" Now I see that the UK has already agreed to take 5000 Afghans. My guess is that BJ sees that as a down payment on the creation of a trade deal and he would be more than happy to take more if he gets the trade deal he wants. But when it comes to Canada, Germany, France, et al, just what is the US willing to offer for them to take their share? Because if I were the leader of one of these countries, that is what I would be asking. "You want our help? Best get your chequebook out."
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#50 User is offline   thepossum 

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Posted 2021-August-19, 16:28

I feel an Al Jazeera perspective may be apt (and likely highly locally informed). Some stuff not mentioned so far. I learnt a few new things anyway

"
In 2011, the Obama administration allowed a group of Taliban officials to move to Qatar, where they would be charged with laying the groundwork for face-to-face negotiations with the government of then-President Karzai.

In 2013, the Talibanís Doha office was formally opened. In 2018, the Trump administration began formal, direct talks with the group. The Afghan government was not invited.

The head of the Taliban political office in Doha, Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed an agreement with the US on February 29, 2020, that paved way for the withdrawal of the US and other foreign forces. The Taliban promised not to attack US-led foreign forces.

The agreement also launched peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan leadership in the Qatari capital. But the Taliban continued its military offensive on the ground while participating in the talks. Last Sunday, they entered the presidential palace, retaking Afghanistan 20 years after they were driven out of power."

https://www.aljazeer...-of-the-taliban
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#51 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-August-19, 19:03

There is a natural dividing line between what happened and what to do next.

On the What Happened side there were a great many errors, and I include the manner of withdrawal among these. We should try to learn. As a general statement, going into another country with the idea that we can change their way of doing things, from social fabric to political structure, seems to seldom if ever work out well. And why would anyone think it would work? I wouldn't want Canadians coming to the USA to tell us how to do things even though if you blindfolded me and took me for a ride it would take me some time before I could say if I was in Toronto or Buffalo when I stepped out of the car. People don't like an intrusion, not even from neighbors.

So errors abound.

Now we have to do our best moving forward. It's a mess, a godawful mess, but I hope we can still do something for those who are in a completely understandable panic.
Ken
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#52 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 05:27

I was listening to The New Abnormal podcast this morning

This episode featured a discussion with a guy name Jason Kander (who I had never heard of before)
He had served in Afghanistan and made some interesting observations that I hadn't heard before



https://podcasts.goo...UEegQIAhAF&ep=6
Alderaan delenda est
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#53 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 06:17

View Posthrothgar, on 2021-August-20, 05:27, said:

I was listening to The New Abnormal podcast this morning

This episode featured a discussion with a guy name Jason Kander (who I had never heard of before)
He had served in Afghanistan and made some interesting observations that I hadn't heard before

https://podcasts.goo...UEegQIAhAF&ep=6


I gave it a try but it led to

Why Uncle Don Is 'Incapable' of Convincing the Unvaxxed w/ Mary Trump

It offered three other choices but only one was on Afghanistan and that was by Susan Glasser.

I will probably explore the site a bit but at least for the moment I can't find the Jason Kander episode. I googled and I gather that he, or another Jason Kander, is a vet recovering from PTSD.
Ken
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#54 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 06:33

View Postkenberg, on 2021-August-20, 06:17, said:

I gave it a try but it led to

Why Uncle Don Is 'Incapable' of Convincing the Unvaxxed w/ Mary Trump

It offered three other choices but only one was on Afghanistan and that was by Susan Glasser.

I will probably explore the site a bit but at least for the moment I can't find the Jason Kander episode. I googled and I gather that he, or another Jason Kander, is a vet recovering from PTSD.


This is the second topic in the uncle don episode

https://en.wikipedia...09%20to%202013.
Alderaan delenda est
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#55 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 07:54

View Posthrothgar, on 2021-August-20, 06:33, said:

This is the second topic in the uncle don episode

https://en.wikipedia...09%20to%202013.


Hmm. It says it is playing but I am not hearing it. I will put some effort into this, the whole site looks interesting, but for now. I'll let it be.
Ken
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#56 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 11:04

Matt Yglesias said:

David Petraeus thinks we should have just kept on fighting forever to avoid admitting that he failed.

https://www.newyorke...-in-afghanistan

Edit: Petraeus sounds like a drone salesman.
If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#57 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 11:24

Here is an interesting article from Norway (Google translate does it justice, I understand). It was written by attorneys who handled Afghani asylum seekers.



Quote

The Taliban's rapid takeover is said to be very surprising. Really? In our opinion, it is only "surprising" because the information on which the Western authorities have relied has been incomplete.

In addition, Western authorities that have been militarily engaged in Afghanistan have deliberately misinformed about the situation on the ground through beautification. This obviously applies to many different matters. But one thing stands out: The truth has not been told about how the Taliban have constantly infiltrated a corrupt Afghan government backed by Western contributions.




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#58 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 13:48

View PostWinstonm, on 2021-August-20, 11:24, said:

Here is an interesting article from Norway (Google translate does it justice, I understand). It was written by attorneys who handled Afghani asylum seekers.



[size=2]




Here is one way to look at it: Imagine yourself as an Afghan soldier. Your commander says "The Americans are pulling out but they think it will be at least six months, maybe a year, before the Taliban takeover. We expect you to keep fighting until that happens, then of course you will be on your own." And then some of them deserted their posts. Who could have predicted that?

Sometimes intelligence specialists seem to be pretty dumb.
Ken
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#59 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 17:48

Andrew Sullivan said:

https://andrewsulliv...men-falling-fa1

We will soon have a better idea of exactly how this disastrous exit happened, how faulty the intelligence was, how deaf the White House might have been to the warnings, why the visas for our friends took so long to process, and so on. Iíve learned not to jump the gun on these stories, when we donít yet know all the details. But if Biden delayed evacuation and refugee plans because he was spooked by Republican anti-immigrant rhetoric, heís an idiot. If he delayed exit to coincide with 9/11ís anniversary, heís way out over his skis. And if the militaryís decades-long disinformation, bullsh#t and feel-good blather blinded us to reality in Afghanistan, they deserve a long-overdue shellacking too.

But there is something about the unreal huffing and puffing this week from the left-media, the neocon holdouts and the opportunistic Republicans that seems far too cheap and easy. Itís as if they have learned nothing ó nothing ó from the 21st Century. They are acting now as if we are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, rather than finally ending the dumbest, longest war this country has ever fought.

They say theyíre just decrying the way we left; but of course, this is the motte, not the bailey. Read any of their screeds, and youíll see they still want us to stay. They still think they are right and that the American people are wrong, still believe they have the moral high ground, even as their morality has led to strategic blunders, and hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths. Bill Kristol ó I kid you not ó actually wrote another article condemning the withdrawal, quoting Churchill and Munich! How dead can a brain be?

Between these think-tank critics who helped create this nightmare in the first place, and Biden who f#cked it up but actually did it, Iím with the president. Biden is right that ending this conflict was always going to be a bloody, depressing mess. Maybe itís more of a mess than it might have been in a perfect world ó but it was always going to be a difference of degree, not kind. Itís one of those cliches thatís true: power really does abhor a vacuum, and, since the Trump agreement was reached, the vacuum in Afghanistan was fast intensifying. When a regime knows its time is going to be up soon, and its leaders are not as determined to keep power as insurgents are to seize it, things can collapse very, very quickly. If our military leaders did not get this, they are as useless now as they have been for the past 20 years.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#60 User is online   kenberg 

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Posted 2021-August-20, 18:09

From Sullivan:
"When a regime knows its time is going to be up soon, and its leaders are not as determined to keep power as insurgents are to seize it, things can collapse very, very quickly. If our military leaders did not get this, they are as useless now as they have been for the past 20 years."


Yes, it would be surprising if military leaders did not understand this. In fact, it would be surprising if anyone involved with the planning of our withdrawal did not know this. Anyone.


Ken
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