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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Biden and Trump Both Botched Afghan Withdrawal

When news first broke that our withdrawal from Afghanistan had been a disaster, some of you slammed me for failing to speak out. I had my opinion, but wanted to wait until it was more certain what actually had happened. Now that the nation's top generals, including Joint Chiefs Chair Mark Milley have testified before a Senate panel, we know that Donald Trump and Joe Biden both betrayed our counterparts and left without leaving a stable and humane government in their wake. Their foolish withdrawal means that roughly 2,500 American soldiers died for no reason. We also flushed $2 trillion down the toilet. 

Our military adventurism in the Middle East was spawned by the 9/11 attacks. In the days following that terrorism, a rage militaire, as the French call it, dominated our thinking. We had to attack someone, anyone, preferably Muslim,. So we hit Iraq, even though it had nothing to do with  the airline hijackings. Of course, everyone slapped each other on the back and waved flags. Iraq was not enough. We had to go into Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden. We all cheered and waved flags again. Congress was nearly unanimous in its support. 

At that time, I was guest hosting a local radio show and was one of the few voices who spoke out against military involvement. The very people who now condemn the "forever wars" were ready to string me up. I was called unAmerican, etc, 

Before the "shock and awe" started, you might recall that then Secretary of State Colin Powell warned President George W Bush of the pottery barn rule. Once you invade a country and muck things up, you have an obligation to fix it before you leave. Anything less makes your initial actions meaningless and reduces you in the eyes of your allies. 

You break it, you fix it. 

We broke it.  

Time went on and the rage militaire waned, as it always does. The very people who were prancing around and saluting each other now decided it was time to pull out. Never mind that the region was still unstable. Or that we would creating a power vacuum that will be filled by China, Russia, Iran or yet another terrorist group. Or that we are signalling our allies that we are unworthy of their trust. 

This is what happened during the Civil War. Though the Union had vastly more resources than the Confederacy, Robert E Lee knew he could win if he destroyed the political will of the North.  George McClellan ran against Abraham Lincoln on a platform that included a negotiated peace with the South, a peace under which slavery would continue. Lincoln was immensely unpopular because a war that was supposed to last 90 days had gone on for years. A decisive blow in the North would ruin Lincoln politically, Lee hypothesized. 

Lee was correct. But then he lost at Gettysburg while William Tecumseh Sherman ran wild in the South, traipsing all the way to Atlanta without a supply line. 

Unfortunately, there are no William Tecumseh Shermans or Ulysses S. Grants in Afghanistan or Syria. And no Lincoln in the White House. It was hard to justify a war to end something as horrible as slavery in our own country. It's been next to impossible to justify a war to ensure stability (and basic human rights) on foreign soil. 

In February 2020, dealmaker Donald Trump agreed to pull out of Afghanistan by May 2021, freed 5,000 Taliban prisoners, and reduced troop strength from 13,000 to a scant 2,500. Never mind that Taliban attacks continued.       

Now the very patriots who were waving flags and slapping each other on the back when we went into these countries, were waving flags and slapping each other on the back when we decided to pull out. 

Trump's new policy certainly is the view of most Americans. I know mine is a minority view. We expect things to happen in five minutes, and lack the patience of older civilizations like the Chinese, who can wait for centuries. Trump ignored the advice he received from the military, although they will be the first to admit that civilian authority is paramount. 

Biden may disagree with Trump on many things, but he like Trump knows those "forever wars" are unpopular. So he followed through, and as we now know, he also ignored military advice that some troops needed to stay in place to keep the government from collapsing and to guarantee that those who wanted to leave could leave. He may have even lied by denying such advice was given to him. 

No one will ever confuse Biden or Trump with Honest Abe.

So basically, I believe both Trump and Biden botched our withdrawal and have weakened us in the eyes of our allies. If we were really interested in global security, we'd still be there.  


Anonymous said...

I have never been so disappointed with our government than I am now with Donald Trump and Joe Biden. I never ever thought I would say this.....It is quite obvious that the Republicans and the democrats all across America don't care about you and me. All they care about is power. What is happening in Washington is disgusting. They're dividing a nation. They're mortgaging our children's and grandchildren's future. Both parties. They're passing laws that suppress voter turnout and go against everything America is supposed to stand for. I don't want to turn on the T.V. anymore because all we hear is negativism and rhetoric. I don't want to waste my vote, however, I will not vote for any incumbent above my local government. We have to show our disgust with these career politicos by throwing them all out of office.

Anonymous said...

In the 60s a kid graduated from high school, got scooped up by the army, shipped to Fort Dix for 6 months, then off to Vietnam. How long do we need to train the Afghans to fight for themselves. I mean 20 years of training. They were freaking retiring from their military. Enough. The winners here were the congressional/military war complex.

The Huntress said...

Let's not paint an entire party over this. Al Gore (who would have been president but for the Supreme Court) wanted to go into Afghanistan and surgically remove Bin Laden as an international policing effort involving Interpol etc. and special forces, not take down the Afghan government. He had absolutely no interest in Iraq. That was the neo-conservative's idea, like Cheney and Rumsfeld...let's finish what we started in 1991.

Anonymous said...

Trump did not botch it Biden did---People are sick

Anonymous said...

12:30 you quite correct with your view on politicians they are ruining our country our system breeds them, we must change our system of carrier politicians we must also get rid of lobbist and their money. None of this will happen aS A RESULT OUR COUNTRY IS DOOMED.also look how the people vote--California is an example--Newsome and Pelosi to mention a few,

michael molovinsky said...

anon@12:30AM, Biden/Trump/Afghan aside, perhaps your vote against incumbents should start with your local government.

Anonymous said...

Blame Trump as usual--Boy are we in trouble

Anonymous said...

Let’s give Joe Biden a chance. The cards that his administration were delt put him in a hole since the beginning of his Presidency. It is Donald Trump and the Republicans who only care about preserving their wealth over God and Country. The Republicans are passing laws to suppress voter turnout since there is absolutely no vote fraud going on in our election system. You only have two rights in America, to vote and pay taxes. Therefore, I’ll say let’s get the rich to pay their fair share, do a needs test for Social Security and get rid of the fillibuster.

Anonymous said...

Biden repeatedly said the Taliban wouldn't take over and he categorically denied being advised by his generals to leave 2,500 troops there. The Taliban had been mounting a huge offensive since the spring, and three generals testified under oath yesterday that they advised Biden to keep 2,500 troops there. Biden is either senile or lying or both. He ignored intelligence and the advice of the generals. He left Americans hostage and got Marines killed. Period.

I'll give him credit for one thing, however. Whether by incompetence or luck, he got us out of a place that three previous presidents couldn't. The Pentagon survives on wars; even those they incompetently screw up for 20 years with disastrous results. There is a military industrial complex and Biden finally thwarted it. Sadly he ruined lives unnecessarily by just not paying attention. This is what foreign policy from The Oberlin College faculty lounge gets you. Amateur hour.

Anonymous said...

Everyone supported an end to this war, but it was the disaster of a withdrawal of the military before we removed all our people that is the problem. the negotiations by Trump were to be a conditional withdrawal with stipulations for the Taliban to adhere to. What Biden did was not what the original plan was meant to be.

Anonymous said...

Holding President Trump responsible for the current mess is too much of a stretch for me. Begin just by looking at the calendar. President Trump had a comprehensive plan in place to be out of there by May 2021. Six (6) months before, he was voted out of office and was being consumed by sketchy impeachment attempts. His original plan was SCRAPPED by the Biden Administration! I have no doubt in my mind, Trump’s original plan would not have turned out anywhere near as failed as this quickly executed exit was.

Anonymous said...

How interesting that your essay omits 8 years of Obama’s presidency.

Anonymous said...

On different days, I wonder if this blog site is just democrat propaganda; delusional; or simply dishonest.

This post clears things up for me - it's all three.

What happened in Afghanistan was nobody's fault except Joe Biden's.

It wasn't Trump who moved the withdrawal date back, which gave the Taliban time to move across the country as the weather improved (for "fighting season"). It wasn't Trump who decided to close Bagram air base prior to everyone being evacuated from Afghanistan. It wasn't Trump who failed to keep our allies informed of what we were doing, to the point of having the British Parliament rebuked America's actions and destroying NATO. It wasn't Trump who has left hundreds if not thousands of Americans and Afghan allies who helped us in the war behind to face the Taliban onslaught.

To top it off, this post comes the day after American generals testified that their recommendation was not to pull out but to keep at least 2,500 members of the military in Afghanistan, which Biden had previously lied to the American public about.

Anonymous said...

Biden has lied to the American people many times--what do you expect from a 50 year politician who was never accountable for anything--his reasoning abilities are a terrible and we cannot turn to the VP or third in order Pelosi I hope we still have a country 3 years from now.

Anonymous said...

Joe Biden was in charge. He could have changed anything he wanted about the situation. In addition, he was told in JULY? by the President of Afghanistan that the Taliban was winning. But Biden wanted it swept under the rug. You can try to blame Trump all you want, but when it was time to make the decision to leave (professionally), it was all Biden. He ignored all the signs that this was going to be a disaster.

JB had no problem changing other Trump plans, why stick with this one, if it was so flawed? JB is to blame. No one elese. Even his underlings agree. And yet, where is the media coverage of THIS phone conversation? 13 Americans and numerous Afghans died because of this fiasco, that JB KNEW was going to happen. These deaths, the loss of military equipment, and looking like a fool to the world lay all at the hands of President Joe Biden.

Anonymous said...

The bombers that occurred were observed and a drone air strike was set to stop it from happening. A request to take out the bomber was requested multiple times and IT WAS DENIED. This falls squarely on Biden's shoulders.

Working to pull the troops out falls squarely on the shoulders of Biden. He is commander in chief. Biden has been briefed prior to taking office, during the whole transition into Presidency.

People and the entire government need to stop blaming Trump for their long term history of political BS. The same people blaming Trump are the same people who have been in politics and the federal government for 40+ years. Knock it off.

Biden and his Administration are traitors. Miley is a traitor. They need to be treated as such.

Anonymous said...

The withdrawal we got under the Biden administration is disgraceful. Our news media largely ignored reporting on all the blunders. A big mistake was to abandon America’s huge Bagram Air Base. We didn’t just choose not to use this for secure evacuation of citizens, our military, in effect dropped its weapons and ran! We left behind for the Taliban hundreds of new military vehicles and thousands of high power weapons, all purchased by our taxpayers. We actually made the Taliban much more deadly an enemy.
We left the Taliban in control of the civilian airport used, resulting in the deaths of 13 of our Marines. We left behind an estimated 1000 Americans to an uncertain fate, and hundreds of key Afghans who fought for our side. We even left behind a full list of their names and where they live (for now).

Anonymous said...

You finally posted on the topic because it took you a while to work out your predictable blame-Trump details. It's a weak effort. Biden didn't hesitate to quickly overturn every Trump policy and initiative he could, from the Paris Accords to the Iran deal. His blaming Trump's plan (which he ignored for months - per yesterday's testimony), is as pathetic as comparing the brain tumor death of his son to the military deaths he caused in Kabul. Then, he killed an entire family, lied about getting the bad guys, and called it a success before he was found out. My dad was a lifetime R who loved Harry Truman because he had the balls to say the buck stopped at his desk. Biden has never accepted responsibility without blaming someone else in the same babbling, disjointed sentence that was put on the TelePrompter for him to attempt to read. The buck never stops with Biden.

Anonymous said...

10:14 is correct! My similar post was submitted just minutes later. As some might not know, the ridiculous Susan Wild did a mailer last week in effort to distance herself from the Biden administration. Talk about hypocrisy! This woman voted repeatedly for anything the Pelosi crowd wanted. I wasn’t going to vote for her re-election, anyway. I’m in her district, but in my mind, she’s a fraud.
You know, after just 8 months, our country has been seriously damaged by today’s decision-makers. This can’t continue any longer.

Anonymous said...

The partisan nitwittery and blame casting here needs to stop. With over 20 years experience BOTH Republican and Democrat administrations equally can share the blame for it.

Much like those doing their own research on contagious diseases and vaccines, the unqualified armchair opinions issued here on one of modern histories most COMPLEX socio-military-political global theaters are absolutely laughable and beyond naïve to think that either Trump or Biden alone would solve or botch it. There were thousands, if not millions of bad decisions and wrong choices made in that region going back to Genghis Khan that ALWAYS made it a bad bet.

There is no graceful or elegant way to lose a war. It is certainly worthy of debate to call it a war, and arguably even a loss, but the lives, time, money and resources that were poured into Afghanistan the past 2 decades needed to stop.

The fucking political flag wavers here and in DC who desperately just want the other side to look bad are pathetic, divisive, disgusting individuals who add negative value to our country.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Many of the comments posted here are the typical partisan rants. The fact is that both Trump and Biden botched Afghanistan. Biden's failure was the politically popular but incorrect decision to pull out and the poor planning that went into the withdrawal. Trump's failure was the "deal" he struck with the Taliban in 2020, a terrorist organization, and one that was repeatedly violated by the Taliban. We never should have left.

Anonymous said...

Your are a idiot Trump would have gotten out of Afghanistan with honor and American power--He would never left anybody behind and nobody would have been killed. Trump policies and attitude is superior to Biden on all levels.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, can you at least admit, the new administration hasn’t quite worked out as many hoped?

Warrior said...

Bernie: First you stated we should never have been there and now you state we should never have left. Stop talking out both sides of your mouth.

Regardless on the negotiations, we were there and Trump was trying to get us out. As soon as Trump was informed of the attack Trump would have halted all negotiation and destroyed the Taliban. But alas, Bewildered Biden, turned his back and permitted the attack to occur. Thus he failed to defend the Constitution against any attacks foreign or domestic. He acted in a treasonous manner. this is on Biden and the current administration.

There is no other way to hold anyone else accountable. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

Now we get to the crux of the biscuit. You want to keep sending kids to die. You aren't alone and it's weird to see Democrat hawks, who were thought to have gone extinct after Frank Church, Scoop Jackson, and Daniel Moynahan died. Eisenhower warned that the military industrial complex transcended party lines. Give Biden props for saving kids when you and others would have continued to send them to their deaths. Please explain what victory in Afghanistan was supposed to look like. Asking for everybody who's taken a crack at it for 1,000 years.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Bernie: First you stated we should never have been there and now you state we should never have left. Stop talking out both sides of your mouth."

I am saying what I mean and mean what I say. We never belonged in Iraq or Afghanistan. It was a mistake to go there. I oppose isolationism, but believe the military is a blunt instrument for solving foreign policy goals. But once we make that blunder, I oppose making another by leaving before accomplishing what we set out to do. This is where we have failed. The administrations from George Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump to Joe Biden are all complicit.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Now we get to the crux of the biscuit. You want to keep sending kids to die. You aren't alone and it's weird to see Democrat hawks, "

You apparently read only half of what I write. We never belonged there. It is false patriots like you who were waving flags and demanding we do something. But having gone in, we had an obligation to stay instead of betraying the people who relied on us, to say nothing of our allies. We cheapened ourselves and our reputations.

Anonymous said...

You want to send more kids to die after 20 years of stunning military failure and you're calling others false patriots? OK, then. I usually get called a isolationists pacifist for wanting us to stop killing and being killed - regardless of the idiot on the White House, but your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

There is a very old saying that goes live and let live!

Anonymous said...

We were United flag waving patriots after being attacked on our own land and as a nation we stood United. Let us not forget what we knew on 9/11. United together. Do we have that today?

Anonymous said...

Trumps hesitancy at responding to the pandemic was a lot more deadlier for Americans than Afghanistan will ever be.

These smooth-brained Trump supporters actually believe there would have been a different outcome if we would have pulled out under our last administration. Eventually, The Taliban would regained power again. Most of you don’t understand how the middle-east works and it shows.

Anonymous said...

Biden should stop blaming everyone else It was Biden and Biden alone who was responsible for the disaster in Afghanistan Bernie own up to the FACTS AND THE TRUTH,

Anonymous said...

Do you actually think American billionaires care about sacrificing your kids for the sake of lining their coffers? Afghanistan wasn’t about democracy, it was about military contracts and the all mighty dollar. These elite love when you throw the word patriot around because they know it gives your pathetic existence some sense of identity, but they’re always the ones that gain the most when they colonize these countries.

Anonymous said...

We were condemned to the outcome that occurred as soon as Bush sent us into Afghanistan. We never had a goal other then get Bin Laden which could have been done through a strategic strike versus all the crap which the front line soldiers got put through. No one from the time of Bush to Obama, to Trump to Biden had the mental where withal to figure out how to get us out of there. Bush and Obama kicked the can down the road with rhetoric and bullshit. Trump set us up for failure in a negotiation that as soon as he said it was complete was not adhered to by the Taliban and he did absolutely nothing to rectify. Biden then picked a bad situation up and got kicked in the butt and made it worse. Remember Trump reduced our troops to 2500 making corresponding reductions in equipment. Biden got stuck with troops in country that could barely protect themselves and had no handle on the equipment still there. He was handed an original May complete withdrawal date of the US Memorial day and a fall back date of 09/11. (Side note that I think it is absolute crap that Trump allowed the Taliban to choose those two dates). In a no win situation Biden pulled the band aid off which went horribly wrong and pulled us out completely. And people forget that the Taliban had been publicizing they would take the country back in under a month as far back as they were negotiating with Trump. The Taliban saw a strategic an tactical opportunity to shit on the US and our so called leadership and took it. So when you really come down to it this just became another Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, and Iraq to add to the list of something that the politician screwed up. And any of you that blame one or the other are self absorbed turd brains who are narrowed minded cool aide drinking fools that no matter what would believe which ever side you can stick your head up their butt.

Anonymous said...

Check out these articles for what might be ther real reason all the crap happened in Afghanistan. We fight amongst ourselves an miss the obvious because our eyes are covered by the politicians asses.

Rare Earth: Afghanistan Sits on $1 Trillion in Minerals

What’s next for Afghanistan’s vast rare earths supply after US pullout?

There are more if you take the time to search.

Anonymous said...

Check out this before you blame one side or the other. Both have some blame in this game.

Timeline of U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

And as a precursor to that article you should also read:
Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan
between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States
as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America
February 29, 2020

Anonymous said...

I just read the deal cut by the Art of the deal failure and a few strange things in it and not in it:

First we negotiated with a group that we did not recognize or acknowledge existed. So we negotiated with an unreal thing.

The United States and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United
States as a state and is known as the Taliban

Second I cannot find anywhere in the document it restricted the Taliban or the ghost entity from immediately taking control of the country.

Third I only saw a timeline for the US and no time line associated with the Taliban.

Fourth there was no mention of removing equipment from the country

Fifth there was no mention of restricting hostilities toward the Afgany government in place.

Seemed like it was a pretty one sided SCREW AMERICA agreement. Here Mr Taliban we are moving out and you do what you do and whatever you want whenever you want and however your want.

Kind of like saying I know you are supposed to all be in Pakistan but here you go take the entire country we want you to have it.

Anonymous said...

I got suckered into voting for Biden because I hated Trump the person. The guy is an asshole, but his policies were better than this clown show Biden has going on. Big mistake.

Wide open border with thousands and thousands of illegal immigrants pouring into the US with a 25% Covid positivity rate, according to Mayorakas.

His Sec of Defense and top General just testified under oath that they advised him to leave 2500 troops. Biden looked right into the camera on Stephanopolos show and denied that. Liar! The Afghanistan pullout was a complete shit show that cost us 13 young service people. Heros all. Then, he green lights a drone strike that blew up a bunch of kids!

His answer to inflation out the ass is to keep printing money. Let's spend 5 trillion more see what happens. Don't worry, it costs ZERO he says. LOL 5 trillion in spending costs zero?? WTF? How bout we find out what's in it so the CBO can score it, then we'll see.

Crime rates through the roof because some in the D party think the cops are the problem, not the criminals.

I was assured that the open borders and war on cops were just republican talking points and Biden, once elected, would govern from the center. Instead he has been a complete disaster!

Anonymous said...

Hey 12:05 I guess the rest of the shit show of 2443 American troops getting killed in the previous 20 years under Bush, Obama and trump averaging 100 per day were ok but for 13 you are now up in arms and freaking out. I would say you are 13 too late.

Inflation is a lagging indicator that is often 2 to 3 years behind the actual situation that caused it so blame the past moron for our current inflation. In another 2 years after the waste the giant spending bill on their pet projects you can definitely blame Biden but for now it is Trump for sure.

As far as the drone strike. The Taliban have been doing that for the past 20 years. Heck Bin Laden place was right next to a school so we would not bomb the crap out of him.

Crime rates are through the roof because no one in this country really has the stomach to do what needs to be done to fix. How many times do you hear someone say our my poor son or daughter they should not be punished. BULL CRAP. Until we draw a hard line and treat everyone the same way (especially the politicians, the rich, the poor, and all in between we will continue to spiral out of control further.

I agree that the pull out was a shit show. Would you rather had him reverse course and go full on battle putting 20,000 back in country. The 2500 was an indefensible long term scenario especially when you have martyr mentality combatant who will mingle with the masses. They employed what they employed so many times before (Body Bombs). Also, if you notice the Taliban kept surrounding our people and pinching them off further and further like the Indians did to Custer. My personal belief is that the Taliban would have overrun the airport and eliminated all our troops if they were left on the ground.

Anonymous said...

@10:42 I read your link. and @10:47 I agree with you on the written deal seemed like it SCREWED AMERICA. Seems to me like Trump negotiated a Make the Taliban Great Again Deal instead of a Make America Great Again deal. Wonder how much money he got behind the scenes for the pathetic excuse of a deal.

Anonymous said...

So many voted for Biden because they disliked Trump's personality. You are not alone but you admit it so good for you. Pre-election I asked many people what policies they didn't like and all they ever said was they hated Trump. And look where we are.

Anonymous said...

Trump was so much better than Biden in every way

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Bernie, several individuals have pointed out the fact that, while the initial deal with the Taliban to exit Afghanistan was Trump's, the withdrawal wasn't executed until over a half year after he left office and was totally screwed up by the Biden administration. However, you dismiss those who make this point as making "partisan rants". It might be time to reconsider who the "partisan" is here, if you can't bring yourself to agree with those simple facts. Although partisans on both sides might try, it's inherently impossible to blame a former President for the decisions and actions of his successor six months after he leaves office. A President inherits the hand he's dealt, and is fully responsible for what he does with it once he starts playing it. Remember "the buck stops here"???

Also, another very simple question about your "timeline" of the situation, and specifically the second paragraph of your post - you are aware that the Afghanistan invasion happened in 2001, and the Iraq war began in 2003, right? You're not really entitled to move things around to help create an argument that we went after the wrong enemy first. There are definitely arguments to be made for and against the necessity of the Iraq War, but one of them isn't that it held us up in attacking Afghanistan!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with what others have said about the difference between Trump the person and Trump's policies. Trump the person is an unstable, vindictive jerk who made me feel embarrassed just about every day he was in office that I supported him. However, I found myself agreeing with 95% of his policies and held my nose and voted for his reelection for this reason. While I'd love to have another reasonable alternative, I'd take him in a heartbeat over the current administration, with it's America hating policies dominated by social and economic policies that are almost exclusively created to give handouts to those perceived as being discriminated against in the past.