Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 24, 2021

The Foreign Policy Borg And The Retreat From Afghanistan - by Michael Brenner

by Michael Brenner

There are few things in this kaleidoscopic world of ours that we can count on – for predictability, for fixity of outlook, for unswerving resistance to the vicissitudes of life. The American foreign policy community is one of them. They reliably react to stunning events in the world with reiteration of what they have been saying for years and decades They do so in unison. They never admit error of analysis or of policy, they preserve a righteous tone, and they retain a permanent inventory of persons to scapegoat – and, equally important, those who are always exempt from blame.

The Afghan debacle demonstrates, once again, how deeply entrenched this behavioral pattern is. It is self-evident, it is glaring, and it is a reason for both shame and for doubting the United States’ ability to conduct its external relations in a sober, reasonable manner. Recent essays of mine have sought to explicate this phenomenon. There is no point in trying to summarize them. Instead, here are several declarative statements intended to correct some of the most egregious misrepresentations about what had happened and its implications:

  1. The United States never has had a strategic national interest in Afghanistan – certainly, not for the past 30 years.
  2. No one is to blame for ‘losing’ Afghanistan. It never was ours to lose; it was never ours to recast in Washington’s image of what we would like it to be. No more than China, Cuba, Vietnam or Iraq were ‘ours’ to lose.
  3. The widespread notion that the ‘American Dream’ has as a central component an imperative to empower women and teach religious tolerance in Central Asia, among other places, is total nonsense. It is neither historically, psychologically nor philosophically valid (to understate it). There are very good reasons to probe the collective American psyche in search of clues as to why we act as we do. Superimposing a puerile version of WOKE sensibility on the nation’s foreign affairs is a pastime we cannot afford – even if the editors of The New York Times instruct us that their potted version of history is the true one. That tale tells us that Afghanistan dissipated a dream that somehow had survived Vietnam, Iraq, and Libya - not to speak of our failed experiments in exporting Americanism in Haiti (multiple times), Dominican Republic (a few times) and across the Central American banana belt.
  4. Staying in Afghanistan after we had dislodged and scattered the al-Qaeda was a fool’s errand from the very beginning; whether the aims were geostrategic or nation-building. It never had a chance of succeeding. The foreseeable costs always outweighed any conceivable successes – however modest – by several magnitudes.
  5. Afghanistan significance as a launching pad for Islamic terrorism was always exaggerated, and today is totally unjustified. The Taliban did provide refuge for Osama bin-Laden and his lieutenants after they were kicked out of Sudan. The execution of 9/11 itself was organized in Hamburg and operationally coordinated from two apartments in New Jersey. Over the past several years, the mainspring for terrorist acts has been ISIS – not al-Qaeda or its affiliates. Al Nusra, an affiliate, has concentrated its activities in Syria. ISIS, in turn, owes its existence to the United States. It was spawned in the prison camps we built in Iraq, its core recruits were Iraqis, its military expertise was provided by ex-officers of Saddam’s army whom L. Paul Bremmer III summarily fired in 2003.
  6. Some ISIS fighters did try to reestablish themselves in Afghanistan -with transport and support provided by their long-time backer: President Erdogan of Turkey. (He exported others to Azerbaijan and many thousand to Libya). They were a mixed lot of Syrians, Iraqis, Chechens, Uighurs. Initially, they got some sympathy from radical Taliban factions. The leadership, though, wanted nothing to do with them and soon moved to suppress/evict them forcibly and will continue to root them out. In the present Taliban vision for the country, they are as welcome as a Vatican established bishopric in Kabul.
  7. The range of commitments made by the Taliban in Moscow in regard to jihadis - and other- matters - gain credibility from the new regime's acute need for economic assistance. Washington's freezing of the Central bank's meager assets in only the first step in the West's campaign to strangle Afghanistan and, thereby, to destabilize the Taliban government. China and Russia have pledged financial aid, investment and commercial dealings to counteract the American strategy. It would be put in jeopardy by any significant Taliban deviation from the mutually agreed guidelines.
  8. The main reasons why the West’s Afghan project failed were these: we installed a corrupt, incompetent, and weak leadership that had little legitimacy in the eyes of a majority of Afghans; our coddling of warlords, opium lords and a host of unsavory characters; the deep-seated Afghan distaste for foreigners meddling in their affairs. The use of aggressive tactics like search-and-destroy, signature airstrikes and the creation of Afghan commando units that were a law unto themselves – all of which alienated an increasing fraction of the Afghan (largely rural) population. So, our placing of non-Pashtuns from the Northern Alliance in most senior military, Intelligence and police positions (along with a preponderance of rank & file personnel) to quell an insurrection that was Pashtun at its core. In other words, our strategy was a recipe for recrudescence of the Taliban as effective as anything they could have prepared themselves.
  9. The United States understanding of the country they were trying to reconstitute was thin, non-existent or distorted. This was true of policy-makers in Washington and especially the Pentagon’s Central Command which ran the war. The parade of commanding generals whose identity changed every year was a further guarantee that the learning curve would be flat.
  10. The suddenness of the Ghani regime’s disintegration, the collapse of the much-touted Afghan Army we supposedly trained for 19 years – in mimicry of the routing of the even more highly touted, Petraeus built Iraqi National Army that crumbled with hardly a shot being fired before ISIS in 2014 The evacuation fiasco itself derived from poor Intelligence – CIA & Pentagon, the willful ignorance about Afghan politics, and appallingly bad planning by the U.S. Army.
  11. The Army is one of those entities that our politicos and MSM have been given immunity from accountability and criticism. The Pentagon’s omnipresent campaign to sacrilize the American military has paid off in a big way. So, instead of offering the apology they owe the American people they carp from the sidelines (if retired), leak to the press (if still in uniform) and mobilize their corps of Pentagon-briefed, Pentagon-loyal camp-followers to lay the blame on President Biden*. These are members of the defense expert fraternity who have an unblemished record of getting just about everything wrong since the inception of the Global War On Terror. The decision to leave Afghanistan was made by Trump and Pompeo. They had nearly a year to prepare. Biden gave them an extra three months. Military forces in country were kept at levels that the Army itself deemed adequate to ensure a smooth withdrawal of troops. He later added a few thousand. And it was the Pentagon, not Joe Biden, that took the bizarre snap decision to quit the Begram Airbase in the dead of night (without informing the Afghan general slated to inherit it) – thereby, denying us a secure airport conducive to an orderly processing and boarding of evacuees.
  12. However, it appears obvious that no contingency plans were ever made for a possible rapid evacuation of civilians – much less qualifying Afghans. Even in the fateful weeks when the handwriting was on the wall, they brass failed to act. The tragic fiasco at the airport was wholly the Pentagon’s fault. They could not as much as cordon off sections of the airport, establish control of entry gates, or maintain a modicum of order.

    The ensuing chaos occurred despite the understanding with the Taliban, who observed it, not to interfere with the evacuations.

    So, a fair judgment is that the people who should be denounced for sins of omission – and a few of commission – are Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Milley, CENTCOM head General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr, and the American commander of ISAF, General Austin “Scott” Miller. They are the 4 untouchables who barely get a mention while the pack harries Joe Biden. Simply put, they didn’t do their jobs.

    No candor, no sense of responsibility. What do we get instead? The Republicans castigate Biden for Trump's decision. The Pentagon casts aspersions on the administration - but surreptitiously. The media put on their hysterical psycho-drama - and, in the process, display their profound ignorance cultivated over 15 years of forgetting about Afghanistan. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan seeks to divert attention and to sow panic (thereby, perhaps, unifying Americans in collective fear) by loudly sounding the alarm about a fanciful ISIS threat - "real" and "acute" - to the evacuation.

*(Biden, for all his faults, was the one man in the Obama administration who stood up to the cabal orchestrated by Robert Gates, with Hillary out front providing political cover, that coerced Barack Obama into the ill-fated ‘surge’ of 2009-2010).

Added by b:

The White House just announced that the U.S. will stick to August 31 as the end date for the complete retreat from Afghanistan as the Taliban had demanded. In light of the above I do expect last minute Pentagon shenanigans to sabotage that outcome.

Posted by b on August 24, 2021 at 15:52 UTC | Permalink

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Jackrabbit @90:

In that sense, yes. But that's more of a bluff than a con. ;-)
Some people her seem to think war is nothing but a racket, I took you for one of those. War IS a racket, but it's far more than that.

My take is that the original plan was that Afghanistan was first, then Iran would soon follow. Had that been the case things would have been radically different.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 25 2021 9:02 utc | 101

@ Gordog | Aug 25 2021 3:55 utc | 84

You make a lot of sense, thanks.

Posted by: Norwegian | Aug 25 2021 9:05 utc | 102

William Gruff | Aug 24 2021 20:39 utc | 50

"The military wasted no time at all getting out of Afghanistan, and did so with such alacrity that thousands had to be sent back in to herd the civilian cattle onto airplanes. Had the civilians already been evacuated then the entire "crisis" would be over right now. If the civilians could take commercial flights out then the entire "crisis" would be over."

This had probably been "gamed out" somewhere in a nice cosy boardroom in the US. Trouble is - the Taliban are not playing the same board game.

Note that the Taliban have one simplified objective, Get the US out and re-establish a National/Ethnical base.

The US wanted too much; to be "out", but simultaneously stay overhead to bomb the Taliban with impunity, make agreements with the 'stans for bases which could then be used to destabilise them in turn (and Russia). Make the situation "unstable" enough to curtail the BRI (China), Continue mining/exploitation with the aid of a corrupt puppet Government. Continue to threaten and isolate Iran on the West. Screw up Pakistan/Pashtun relationships, and allow continued presence of Indian "Embassy workers" and their infiltration into Pakistan itself. etc.

Couldn't have everything - it's called wishful thinking not strategy.

Gordog | Aug 25 2021 3:55 utc | 84

Trust; Of course, in many parts of the world, "a man's word is his Bond". All the "arrangements" made between the various factions depended on individuals giving their word and keeping it. All, possibly without exception, keep to the same underlying moral Code. (Russia under Putin as well, I may add).

Trust, once lost, takes a very long time to re-establish. At one time a man giving his word was legally enforceable in Europe. I somehow think that this is no longer the case.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 25 2021 9:17 utc | 103

@50 William Gruff
The US military left Bagram overnight without informing tha Afghan military because they expected them to be infiltrated by Taliban informers.

Otherwise I completely agree. In the current political landscape in the USA the generals count among the moderates. In most cases they are against starting foreign wars and they usually support international cooperation and diplomatic solutions in international affairs. They are still American imperialists and the generals are hesitant in ending the current forever wars because they few it as personal failure but the are against starting new ones. By comparison to most other lobby groups in Washington that is moderate. (By the way, in Israel there is exactly the same constellation.)

Posted by: m | Aug 25 2021 9:26 utc | 104

RE: Posted by: m | Aug 25 2021 8:52 utc | 100

“The are deeply shocked, talking about womens rights and how the West had been defeated (as if anybode in Israel ever cared about human rights or the West). “

In some social relations if you have nothing to say, say nothing prevails.

In other social relations if you have nothing to say, say something so others don't think you have nothing to say prevails.

In some social relations some analyse what those who have nothing to say say, since such is a potential data-stream to research what those who have nothing to say deem to be “plausible belief” to their “target audience” since to paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare “All of Israel and some other places is a stage”, the levels of contempt they hold for their “target audience” and the present status of the realisation that “Oh fuck we live in Western Asia not the “Middle East”.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 25 2021 9:41 utc | 105

RE: Posted by: m | Aug 25 2021 8:52 utc | 100

“The are deeply shocked, talking about womens rights and how the West had been defeated (as if anybode in Israel ever cared about human rights or the West). “

In some social relations if you have nothing to say, say nothing prevails.

In other social relations if you have nothing to say, say something so others don't think you have nothing to say prevails.

In some social relations some analyse what those who have nothing to say say, since such is a potential data-stream to research what those who have nothing to say deem to be “plausible belief” to their “target audience” since to paraphrase Mr. Shakespeare “All of Israel and some other places is a stage”, the levels of contempt they hold for their “target audience” and the present status of the realisation that “Oh f*ck we live in Western Asia not the “Middle East”.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 25 2021 9:43 utc | 106

We are supposed to believe that Qatar and UAE are hosting Talib and Ghani for free? no juicy deal about rare earths? The Gulf would have no investment in tech anywhere on the planet? They just buy football clubs?

Posted by: Mina | Aug 25 2021 9:48 utc | 107

RE : Posted by: dh-mtl | Aug 24 2021 17:25 utc | 23

“that there has been a split in the U.S. Deep State “ and the military flew out first.

Lets return to “potty training” and the disgust of shit.

Then add a touch of social embarrasment when some in the company passes wind requiring resort to it wasn't meness.

Then ascend to the macro level and ponder “What are the “United States of America” and how are they facilitated.

Then perhaps you'll possibly find some notion of who gets into the lifeboat, what order do they get into the lifeboat, and why they get into the lifeboat.

The order chosen in Afghanistan is emulative of the order which prevailed on the Titanic, although there were less “potential enforcers” on the Titanic, and perhaps this will prove acceptable for those who thank the “potential enforcers” for their service which was not fully swallowed but so far has not given rise to much vomiting by the folks back “home”, particularly when you replay the "Good guys in white hats" routine.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 25 2021 10:04 utc | 108

William Gruff @50:

Yepp, another example of the Langley vs Pentagon conflict. I followed Syria closely for many years -- a lot of that there as well.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 25 2021 10:22 utc | 109

Oldhippie @58:

The civilians are probably mostly CIA, often going by other names such as NED, DEA, USAID...

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 25 2021 10:31 utc | 110

@m #100 … Afghanistan being a neighbor of Iran apparenbtly had been a particular strong reason …

Tripping the dominoes was the Islamic Revolution in Persia … the West [US and UK] tried to save the Caspian Basin of fossil fuel from Communism.

Regime changes followed in synchronous order … in the late 90s governor George Bush received a Taliban delegation in Texas to strike a deal on an oil pipeline. Fast forward, leaving a trillion $$$ worth of precious metals behind … is quite painful for the Empire. Key words: Pact of Baghdad in 1955 forming CENTO. The wall of nations has become less relevant as the War on China replaces “terror”.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 25 2021 10:37 utc | 111

58 oldhippie

I do not know who all of those afghans boarding american planes are,but as for the stranded Dutch nationals in Afghanistan,reportedly 700 to 1000,those are afghan nationals who after having fled their country as asylum seekers have been granted dutch nationality for risking their lives in Afghanistan,but who notwithstanding negative travel advice from dutch government on the 12th of july,were already there and did not comeback to the Netherlands,or went there to visit relatives and pass their vacation!They are double passport-holders,but this is kept in the dark by both politicians and media.

I think you are right for being suspicious of those airport reports.Trudeau,Johnson and other NATO personnel are hinting at staying into september.What if some airplane with 400 refugees will crash and the blame falls on the new taliban government?NATO would step in toute de suite,wouldn't it?

Posted by: willie | Aug 25 2021 11:03 utc | 112

The decision to leave Afghanistan was made by Trump and Pompeo.

Is that so? That may be the official version - Trump after all was President at the time (supposedly) - but I would be astonished if Pompeo genuinely supported the decision. That's just my opinion. What Pompeo may have said has nothing to do with it - anything that falls out of his mouth can be reliably assumed to be lies - what about his actual behaviour, did that support or did he create obstacles?

Posted by: BM | Aug 25 2021 11:08 utc | 113

2. No one is to blame for ‘losing’ Afghanistan.
Well, SOMEONE IS TO BLAME for the loss of two trillion dollars and tens of thousands of causalities of war - including the death of >4,000 American and allied soldiers plus many more wounded.
Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 24 2021 16:40 utc | 8

It is misleading to say that no one is to blame for 'losing' Afghanistan. All those responsible for the decision to invade, the decisions to support, the decisions not to withdraw or to sabotage decisions to withdraw, and the absence of decisions to withdraw are 100% to blame for 'losing' Afghanistan. Afghanistan was only to 'lose' by virtue of the decisions to be there. Everything else follws as inevitable consequence.

Posted by: BM | Aug 25 2021 11:28 utc | 114

@willie #112 …
Geez . my news sources tell a different story … right populist caretaker government of PM Mark Rutte prefers the New Europe approach of marking borders with razor-sharp fencing. The Dutch returned failed Afghan asylum seekers/families well into the Summer until the EU mandated the country was not safe for return.

Recent headlines: Rules on family reunification were changed at the end of last year without the lower house of Parliament being informed. It was decided that asylum-seeking children would no longer automatically be entitled to family reunification residency rights if they were taken in by an immediate or distant relative residing in the Netherlands. Abuse of UN and EU humanitarian rights.

Yesterday there were protests at the temporary location of new Afghan refugees. Dutch embassy diplomats and deputy Ambassador Roels were on the first flight out of Kabul. It took a special action of Dutch lower house to demand evacuation of 207 Afghan employees and close relatives. The Belgian military provided the transport in two flights. Thank you southern neighbours. Presently there are Dutch special forces present to guard and extract Afghan nationals who are in mortal danger. The Dutch leading from behind. Indeed, there was an Iranian asylum seeker whose identity was kept in the dark by both politicians and media. Responsible for terror bombing in Tehran in 1981 killing 70 - Mohammad Reza Kolahi Samadi of the MEK group.

Posted by: Oui | Aug 25 2021 11:52 utc | 115

Nothing about the Opium and Heroine business? Much of it aimed at befuddling Iran/Russia/Chinese millions into addicts! Whilst making the gangstas, warlords and CIA clandestine Billionaires?

The ‘silk road’ mirage that Hillary and Bill and Blair fronted for their NeoLibCon was obviously a riff/doppelgänger grab on the BRI that coalesced under SCO set up in 1998.
Everything follows that - the WoT, the escapade in MENA, the attacks in western cities, ISIS etc.
It is important that the names of all these conspirators are stated. Not just the generals and politicians but the ‘national interests’ and Great Gamers new and very very old , that they dance to the tune of, are writ large. And no one should forget who they and their dynasties are.

Otherwise a great and succinct summary.

Of course they will stick to the deadline to skidadle!

Any ‘contractors’ still dumb enough to hang back thinking that ‘they will become rich as kings’ from even more plundering will find they will not be mourned or acknowledged their families will be told they died in some accident.

Come midnight on 31st I expect a no fly zone for any nato or affiliated aircraft/ drone/ missile.

I expect the borders to be fully secured with professionals and police who will not let the thugees carryon having their way and bakshis will become pointless even if it is solid gold.

I also expect an orderly reopening of commercial air traffic in and out of Kabul and also regional airfields. Which will become successful within months in trade and transport throughout the region.

Many a Afghan migrant who had settled under misapprehension in Europe and Elsewhere will suddenly see that a return to their families and homeland is probably the best for them and their future to make a success of their children and grand children’s lives instead of the cleaners and doormats of the western American dream.

Good luck to the Afghans for the rest of this century.

Posted by: DG | Aug 25 2021 12:11 utc | 116

Who is Brenner anyway?

I think point one in his article removes him from the category 'serious analyser'.
Then I read the article link here in the forum, that was mostly grumpy whining.
So I checked some more recent pieces on the Globalist -- seems mostly to publish thinktanky babbling, very far removed from reality.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 25 2021 12:41 utc | 117

82, 83, 110

Thank you for the responses. We have a consensus. In which case I will say that we are talking about intelligence assets with no intelligence whatsoever. Intelligence assets lacking even a basic sense of self-preservation. Darwin Award contenders.

Except that I don’t even believe they are there. They are all nameless and faceless. We don’t even know how many are in question. CIA has long been in business of perception management and fake news. All theater all the time. If same headlines and same news stories can be written about real and imaginary American citizens in distress there is no reason to pay for real people. Just write the stories. Compliant and owned media carry the story and we are done.

Posted by: Oldhippie | Aug 25 2021 12:44 utc | 118

Interesting interview by Vanessa Beeley of Lucy Morgan Edwards, who has been in Afghanistan the entire 20 years (in fact, since before the original bombing/invasion), and has some very interesting insights. Worth listening to. A lot of real nuggets.

Afghanistan in Turmoil, the Role of the MI6 and CIA

Posted by: J Swift | Aug 25 2021 12:52 utc | 119

Karma's a bitch...

Brzezinski Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur (1998)

Question: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs that the American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahiddin in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. Is this period, you were the national securty advisor to President Carter. You therefore played a key role in this affair. Is this correct?

Brzezinski: Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahiddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention [emphasis added throughout].

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into the war and looked for a way to provoke it?

B: It wasn’t quite like that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Q : When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against secret US involvement in Afghanistan, nobody believed them . However, there was an element of truth in this. You don’t regret any of this today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, essentially: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war." Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war that was unsustainable for the regime, a conflict that bought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B : What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q : “Some agitated Moslems”? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today...

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West has a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid: There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner, without demagoguery or emotionalism. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is t h ere in com m on among fundamentalist Saudi Arabia , moderate Morocco, militarist Pakistan, pro-Western Egypt, or secularist Central Asia? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries...

Posted by: daffyDuct | Aug 25 2021 13:24 utc | 120

>>The Republicans castigate Biden for Trump's decision.

This is essential, and this is wrong.

Biden owns, 7 months into his term, which is not so long after being Veep for 8 years, the fucktardery of this withdrawal.

Anyone mentioning Trump in the context of this disaster has lost the plot.

Posted by: Florin N. | Aug 25 2021 13:41 utc | 121

Thanks to karlof1 @ 41 for Alistair Crooke's essay. It was the last thing I read last night, and for clarity I think it can't be beat. He sets up the pre-Kabul history as dominoes falling, an ironic take I think on the meme that was broadcast for our earlier rationale going into Vietnam. I can well remember the 'domino theory' being proposed then as the 'what will happen if we don't', but this time the dominoes are there writ large - 'what has happened that we didn't forsee.'

His essay reminds me of the strategic map in the first link b gave on the previous Sunday open thread. And the song 'With a little help from my friends' certainly comes to mind, as well as Pepe's updates on proceedings. It's a positive theme we ought not to lose sight of.

The Taliban are in good hands going forward. Best of blessings on their peaceful path; it will make them storied in legend, whilst the mendacity of others sinks into the dust of the desert like the treasure of the Sierra Madre. (Wonderful movie that; Bogart's best I think.)

Thank you b, for your ongoing coverage, and all others who are supporting the tale with links to further fascinating concentric ripples.

Posted by: juliania | Aug 25 2021 14:08 utc | 122

On Swedish state television news there are now 16 topics above Afghanistan in the flow.

I expected the global propaganda apparatus to divert attention away from the US(nato) disaster, but I didn't expect it to be this quick.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | Aug 25 2021 14:37 utc | 123

Biden covered for the military's faults when he declared that USA would not fight for Afghans that won't fight for themselves. The same blame-the-victim duplicity could've come from Clinton, Bush, Obama, or Trump. Recall Obama's bullshit cover for pervasive, unconstitutional surveillance: "if you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear."

I think the unwillingness to fight was already known and knowingly worsened when US military suddenly and secretly abandoned Baghram. What did Biden have to say about the Baghram? AFAIK nothing.

The fix was in. The country would fall quickly - proving that the fault lay with the Afghanis. And the desperate scenes we see at the airport were just as predictable and desirable by the Generals and spooks. That Afghans risk death to leave their country is meant to PROVE to the American/Western public that our good soldiers fought to protect us. And that the threat - from Afghanistan and elsewhere is very real.

The Pentagon budget will not be touched. It is sacrosanct.

The 20-year Afghan nightmare is being white-washed before our eyes. The outrage has been blunted. The Generals and spooks get off with no accountability. Once again.

Lets review:

  • GWBush lied us into war.

    He's now a minor celebrity thanks to Ellen.

  • Obama droned weddings (and bragged about it), made a "willful decision" to allow the rise of ISIS.

    He has raked in millions and just celebrated his birthday with Hollywood notables.

  • Trump illegally assassinated an Iranian General, thumbed his nose at the UN to help Israel, and occupied Syrian oil fields.

    He's livin' large in his Florida mansion and planning for the 2024 race.

  • Biden continues the prosecution/persecution of Assange (who called out the warmongers), reneges on his promise to rejoin JCPOA, and presides over an embarrassing end to the war in Afghanistan.

    The 'big man' gets 10%?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Aug 25 2021 14:43 utc | 124

Thanks for the link to Beeley
No one mentioned the Fall of Mosul, much closer to a negociated departure, even a rushed one. Like in Mosul, the national army paid by milking impoverished Western taxpayers of the middle class all over the world, ran away, leaving a nice collection of weapons IS could not dream of. But this is surely a coincidence.

Posted by: Mina | Aug 25 2021 14:46 utc | 125

115 # OUI,

Thanks for the update,I guess I was misinformed.But knowing that Rutte's government is USA Deep State's favorite doormat to Europe,it's hard to tell reality from wishful thinking,and from supposed conspirations.

Posted by: willie | Aug 25 2021 15:16 utc | 126

France and UK report people with links to Taliban among the refugees; Germany and Denmark report expulsed criminals returned with the airlift. If the US wanted to screen people who boarded evacuation flights the data was there; all it would have taken was a few HIIDE devices and the political will.

Taliban acquires US military biometric devices that can identify Afghans who assisted coalition efforts

Posted by: passerby | Aug 25 2021 16:12 utc | 127

@127 passerby
The devices aren't of much use, it is the database with the readings that would be what everyone wants.

Posted by: ptb | Aug 25 2021 16:28 utc | 128

"Like the Soviets with communism, US mission to ‘democratize’ Afghanistan failed as it couldn’t impose what it doesn’t have at home" is a funny yet deeply cutting op/ed that will never be read by those most needing its cold slap in the face. Here's its introduction:

"Every once in a while, the US messes up so badly that it actually notices. This time, the chaos is in Afghanistan. Snatching defeat from the jaws of stalemate, it has now ended a disgraceful 20-year war with a self-inflicted rout....

"The debacle is so spectacular – and, for now, so omnipresent via the global media, traditional and social – that it has even started to shake, a little, the usually rock-solid conformism and complacency of the 'indispensable nation’s' political-military-think-tank elite. It’s indicative of how bad things must be this time at the heart of the American empire that there are hardly any serious attempts to blame everything on 'the Russians' recently the American default response to severe self-inflicted pain, from Trump to anti-vax sentiment.

"Ironically, all of this has led to a very Russian question being asked all over American chattering space: Who is to blame?" [Emphasis Original]

And there's oh so much more that barflies will surely appreciate and wryly smile about.

It's very informative to read the very different approach to Russia made yesterday by Hungary and, today, Austria. It's as if they're no longer part of the EU. And now the OSCE has done something the EUP and EU Human Rights Court both refused to do--call out Ukraine for its illegal restrictions on media freedom--a freedom an advisor to Zelensky said would "kill our values."

It appears the Outlaw US Empire has groomed Ukraine to replace Afghanistan.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2021 16:47 utc | 129

Worth to notice that normally when US presidents announce policy steps they are surrounded by relevant cabinet members. This time such backup is spectacularly failing. Might well be that powers that be decided to end Biden's presidency by picturing him as the fall guy.
Note that I will not regret this because it is beyond improbable that Biden actually won in November 2020, but some "Schadenfreude" over the total mess for the democrats ending up with Kamala is definitely in order.

Posted by: JR | Aug 25 2021 17:11 utc | 130

Some here have taken issue with my pointing out that this major diplomatic coup for the Taliban, to bring in the Tajiks and other major minorities, bears the fingerprints of Moscow. They have long specialized in this type of consensus-building, within their own borders and without. Witness Chechnya, witness Karabakh.
Behind Russia's interlocution was China of course. China is not as diplomatically mature and polished as say Lavrov, but they are no slouches, as Hooknose Blinken found in Anchorage when Yang gave him a proper dressing down.
Posted by: Gordog | Aug 25 2021 3:55 utc | 84

You forgot to mention Iran. Iran is an absolutely critical player in what has transpired, as I have pointed out several times recently - agreement by Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to admit Iran to SCO finally given the very same ay that Taliban entered Kabul after blocking it for so many years emphatically shows how important Iran is viewed to be for maintaining the stability of the region. Indeed, even at the time the CIA's Ayatollah Mike's plane was shot down from a high altitude over Afghanistan I suggested Iran must have been cultivating links with the Taliban because they had such strong common interests. Now this has been confirmed by Prof Marandi's revealing article linked by Grieved. Interesting that Iran had strong influence on both sides - allies within the puppet regimes installed by the US throug having given them refuge in Iran during the first Taliban government, and direct links with the Taliban cultivated since 20 years ago by General Soleimani.

Iran, Russia and China all played a crucial role in the successful and latterly almost bloodless sweep of the Taliban across the country and into Kabul. Whilst all three have now already clarified that they have had close communications with the Taliban for years, of course they will remain coy about more strategic relations. As I pointed out the other day, there is a lot of theatre in terms of the extent of their support, for US and NATO consumption, but the peaceful development of Afghanistan is a crucial strategic necessity for all three countries, and they will move mountains to make sure the new government and the Afghan nation are not crushed by needless economic pressure from the West. (Of course, some of that theatre is also real in the sense of putting pressure on the Taliban to make sure they stick to the orderly and multi-ethnic development that is essential to the greater Eurasian project).

Posted by: BM | Aug 25 2021 17:39 utc | 131

Even the Shiite Ulema is getting on board with a "Talban" (Islamic) comprehensive Government, with certain proviso's certainly, but it is a good start.

“In order to get out of the current crisis, a new government must be formed as soon as possible.
The formation of a comprehensive government in agreement with the various factions, on the one hand, solves the problems in the country, and on the other hand, the presence of elites of all ethnicities in the formation of the government, provides the ground for better development and service to the people.

Posted by: Stonebird | Aug 25 2021 17:50 utc | 132

Hard to find numbers, not the kind the MSM will mention
"Afghans made up 7% of all arrivals to Europe through the
Mediterranean from January to November this year. From January to November 2020, Afghans were the second most common citizenship to claim asylum in Europe (28,145 first-time claims), after Syrians (43,135 first-time claims.)"

Posted by: Mina | Aug 25 2021 17:56 utc | 133

Back in June, I linked to Putin's address to the first phase of United Russia's Party Congress which was very informative for those who bothered reading it. Its second phase took place yesterday, with Putin's address available at the link. As with his first speech, Putin covers lots of policy ground, most of which is summarized here:

"So, colleagues, the United Russia programme is centered – and I can see it – on people, on improving people’s living standards and the quality of life. One of the priority tasks is taking care of the older generation, of pensioners. There is a whole range of problems that need to be addressed, such as improving healthcare and developing a system of home care services for seniors. United Russia should address these problems on the ground, in the regions, literally on a daily basis." [My Emphasis]

That paragraph is merely the starting point that Putin follows here:

"Our economy is currently recovering. Thanks to that, we can prioritise extra support to those who need the state’s protection most: children, large families and pensioners. But it is crucial that after the recovery period, which is practically over (I say 'practically' because there are some details, however, we are generally on the right track, and, in fact, everything has been done for the recovery), it is important to avoid any pause.

"I call the Government’s attention to the fact that we must ensure that the economy has steady, sustainable, high-quality and long-term growth, that people’s incomes go up and new jobs are created. This means we must launch large-scale development projects, use new tools, such as infrastructure loans, step up the implementation of the development programmes for the Far East and the Arctic, and expand the capabilities of basic infrastructure, including the construction of the Moscow – Kazan – Yekaterinburg high-speed motorway with a possible extension – I have already spoken about it – up to Tyumen. The Northern Latitudinal Railway is also among the priorities, as it will boost business activity and the exploration of the immense natural resources of the Arctic, the Urals and Siberia, including the Angara-Yenisei region. And actually, we already have a whole range of instruments and funding sources to launch this work."

Russia's domestic condition is far superior to the EU or Outlaw US Empire's in most respects as all attempts to destabilize its development have failed. I'd be very interested to learn our Russian barflies reactions to Putin's speech.

I do want to excerpt one important part, which is Putin's approach to the pandemic and vaccinations:

"We will be able to overcome the dangerous pandemic only if we join our efforts. In fact, vaccination is the main weapon against the spread of the virus. There is nothing else I can say about this. Importantly, no one should be forced to get a jab. Pressure, where people may lose their jobs, is even less acceptable. People must be convinced of the need to get the vaccine. This must be done persistently and respectfully. Respectfully, mind you. People should be convinced of the need to get vaccinated in order to save their lives and health, and to protect their loved ones. They should be convinced that the vaccine really works and mitigates the risk of complications." [My Emphasis]

Fortunately for Russians, they have Sputnik-V and two other excellent vaccines that are far superior to the West's crap. As you see, I double emphasized his last phrase for its truthfulness. There's no deliberately misleading Establishment Narrative being drummed into Russian's heads or attempts at stigmatizing people, yet pundits and other idiots still call Putin an authoritarian. He's busily making Russia great again while the pukes running the Outlaw US Empire continue to push it into an abyss. The reality is quite stark.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2021 18:03 utc | 134

J Swift @ 119

Thanks for the interview. Yes great nuggets. Hard to find great journalists similar to Vanessa and Eva.

Posted by: financial matters | Aug 26 2021 1:24 utc | 135

It's time for payback for the Afghans killed, disabled and tortured in the US/NATO twenty year occupation.

news reports:
>The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan is urging Americans outside the gates of the Kabul airport to leave immediately, citing security threats. Officials also cautioned U.S. citizens against travel to the airport. "Because of security threats outside the gates of Kabul airport, we are advising U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a U.S. government representative to do so," the embassy said in the Wednesday evening security alert.
>US citizens are told to STOP coming to Kabul airport due to terror threat leaving up to 1.5K including 23 California students stranded: Blinken BLAMES them for not leaving earlier as CIA start helicopter rescue missions

Posted by: Don Bacon | Aug 26 2021 2:03 utc | 136


Comments Marie-France Germain
August 25, 2021 at 19:03

"All of our countries must rid ourselves of these delusional politicians before they become the death of us all! "

That will not be sufficient in itself.

A transcendence of coercive social relations including their ideologies and practices are required informed by "How to drown a drowning man with the minimum of blowback ?" without guarantee given the half-lives of the ideologies and practices of coercive social relations.

Humans are animals with potentials including of adaption, change, death, and reproduction like all animals, within lateral "environments" where change is constant and variables include but are not restricted to trajectories and velocities.

Hence it may already be the case that the coercive social relations manifested by some of the components of these coercive social relations including but not limited to delusional politicians and delusional populations have already facilitated trajectories to affect the death of us all, whether or not they "hold these truths to be self-evident".

Such outcomes will be the slaughter of the complicit, not the slaughter of the "innocents".

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 8:13 utc | 137

RE: Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 8:13 utc | 137

“the half-lives of the ideologies and practices of coercive social relations.”

Some “live” close to markets of burgeoning stock and think they have “choice”

But some “ain't got no satisfaction” and ponder whether it is because “they don't smoke the same cigarettes as me” facilitating “existential angst”, which some seek to alleviate by “more of the same”, whilst others make the “healthy choice” by giving up smoking and viping, since reform/viping is “more of the same”.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 9:38 utc | 138

RE: Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2021 18:03 utc | 134

“yet pundits and other idiots still call Putin an authoritarian. “

Like many of limited facility you rely on reflexive interpretations aided by the illusion that every “soldier” carries a Marshall's baton in his knapsack, also known to some as – the represntative democracy illusion - as a function of a modicum of “ideological immersion”.

Perhaps resort to Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 8:13 utc | 137 and Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 9:38 utc | 138 , whose register is by design not default, will aid “discovery” ?

You appear to believe that being called “an authoritarian”, “shithouse country”, “her/his mother should be ashamed” is a disadvantage, thereby failing to perceived the opportunities derived therefrom.

Without citing examples of previous and present utilities, being held in “contempt” was and is useful, as are pundits and other useful fools – designating them as idiots precludes the optimum levels of productivity of useful foolery so best avoided – the more “informed” useful fools believe themselves to be, the greater the productivity of ensuing useful foolery..

Perhaps I can suggest a metaphor from volleyball – some do the set-up whilst others do the strike.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 10:08 utc | 139

RE: Posted by: Gordog | Aug 25 2021 3:55 utc | 84

“Let me add a deeper dimension.”

Although understandable given the half-lives of ideologies, your weakness and vectors of opportunities for others remains in your assigning significances to the “singular “ which cannot exist in lateral interactions – this methodology being known as the rubbing stick school of thermo-dynamics – which many opponents apparently attended.

“Trust” is interactive and hence can only be considered, described and practiced in interactive complex, which is restricted to those prone to premature ejaculations, the propensity to premature ejaculations being encouraged by coercive social relations in facilitation of “existential angst”.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 10:36 utc | 140

RE: Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2021 18:03 utc | 134

RE: Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 10:08 utc | 139

“You appear to believe that being called “an authoritarian”, “shithouse country”, “her/his mother should be ashamed” is a disadvantage, thereby failing to perceived the opportunities derived therefrom.”

Whilst for some, some opportunities are in process of being myopically perceived.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 10:54 utc | 141

Posted by: karlof1

Please don't respond to Posted by: @ MagdaTam, a waste of your valuable time, I am sure barflies prefer your valuable insights.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 26 2021 11:12 utc | 142

If [they] had a year to prepare for withdrawl, Why did Biden remove the military first and leave behind all the civilians and billions in military equipment? (paid for by American taxpayers)

Posted by: chtristy | Aug 26 2021 11:41 utc | 143

Typically, in a withdrawl--or an occupation--the military is the LAST to be withdrawn, civilians and equipment are first, then you bomb any remaining forts or installations. In this pullout, military went FIRST leaving behind 10s of thousands of civilians, billions and billions in equipment and all miitary installations in tact.

Posted by: Christy | Aug 26 2021 11:44 utc | 144

Typically, in a withdrawl--or an occupation--the military is the LAST to be withdrawn, civilians and equipment are first, then you bomb any remaining forts or installations. In this pullout, military went FIRST leaving behind 10s of thousands of civilians, billions and billions in equipment and all miitary installations in tact.

Posted by: Christy | Aug 26 2021 11:44 utc | 144

Right, that's the plan, this way there are lots of new weapons needed, and plenty of well-armed enemies to antagonize to drum up more business, for the "Defense" business. It's the same reason the computer companies won't fix their bugs, if everything works flawlessly, how will they extract rent from you? Same reason doctors don't want everyone healthy and fit, so it's all chemicals and surgery, and no diet, exercise and lifestyle choices, then who needs them? Besides you cannot crank the patients through if you spend any time with them. You can learn a lot once you get this principle clear.

When you see that sort of thing happen, repeatedly, it is no accident. Thank you for pointing it out.

Posted by: Bemildred | Aug 26 2021 12:27 utc | 145

Posted by: karlof1

Please don't respond to Posted by: @ MagdaTam, a waste of your valuable time, I am sure barflies prefer your valuable insights.

Posted by: Paul | Aug 26 2021 11:12 utc | 142

Enthusiastically seconded . . . but then, I've never had much patience for the flatulence caused by swallowing a dictionary without chewing. Oh, and karlof1 is always worth reading.

Posted by: corvo | Aug 26 2021 12:30 utc | 146

Magda Tam @95,
interesting that you bring up Kosinski in this context. Kosinski was just a plagiarist, minor figure, not worth mentioning.

Posted by: bystander04 | Aug 26 2021 12:56 utc | 147

RE: Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 25 2021 16:47 utc | 129

"Ironically, all of this has led to a very Russian question being asked all over American chattering space: Who is to blame?" [Emphasis Original] “

Some would say that was a very Soviet question from the times of “enemies of the peopleness”, the more Russian question being “What to do?”

Some "linguists" suggest that "Who is to blame ?" has always been the "American question" since "what to do ? other than who is to blame ?" has always been more difficult given their facilities as functions of their co-ercive social relations.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 13:02 utc | 148

Posted by: bystander04 | Aug 26 2021 12:56 utc | 147

"interesting that you bring up Kosinski in this context. Kosinski was just a plagiarist, minor figure, not worth mentioning."

Yes a plaiiarist like Mr. Brzezinsky, the brothers Dulles, Mr. Kissinger, Mr. Petraeus and numerous others in fantasyland, minor figures in world historical terms, but worth mentioning without publishing rigorous analyses, thereby offering opportunities for the continuance of fantasy/hagiography and potential strategies derived therefrom.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 13:16 utc | 149

RE: Posted by: bystander04 | Aug 26 2021 12:56 utc | 147

RE: Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 13:16 utc | 149

“Yes a plaiiarist,...... minor figures in world historical terms, but worth mentioning without publishing rigorous analyses”

Hence no “gee” or even liars in testing of Mr. Chomsky's hypothesis that "My country doesn't tell lies. To tell lies you need to know the truth.

Although Mr. Kosinsky regularly sought to deny it, he and others knew that "The Painted Bird" was not the truth.

Posted by: MagdaTam | Aug 26 2021 13:32 utc | 150

"The execution of 9/11 itself was organized in Hamburg and operationally coordinated from two apartments in New Jersey."

By whom is the question, it couldn't have been bin Laden, I'm under the impression on the eve and on the day of 9/11, he, (bin Laden) was in a hospital in Rawalpindi in Pakistan on a dialysis machine.

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Aug 26 2021 15:27 utc | 151

Short and to the point:time the USA was kicked most sharply where it hurts most. It is an entity of a retarded kind that must not be allowed to breed any more. While we all necessarily, and in full generosity, value and respect capital, they of their "American" kind have sought to appropriate it all in the name of Capitalism. They are an absurdity and mankind needs to rid itself of their deformity just as any neighbourhood must firmly, gently or otherwise root out pedophilia or wife battering.

Posted by: Jamie | Aug 30 2021 9:56 utc | 152

One has to understand Israel's concern as the lessened ability to ring in Iran. In the past Pakistan has at least been somewhat of a collaborator with USA, but one can see Pakistan now turning more attention towards their angst for India, while striving to have a more neutral relation with Iran.

With Afghanistan gone for the hegemon, Iran suddenly has lots of less flans to worry about and may now simply concern themselves with Iraq and the narrow Hormuz and Persian bay.

For Iran this puts them at a much easier position to play with USA&Israel the positioning game. It is now much more easier to anticipate incursions and especially easier to concentrate air defense assets on their western boundary.

Israel (and USA) must also be terrified of the prospect of Iran laying a pipeline through Afghanistan into China. This would make Iran virtually immune to oil embargo and they will reduce their need for shipping significantly. Note that Taliban has already opened a river and letting water flow freely to Iran, while Iran is also reaching out in more friendly manners than a long time.

Afghanistan is a major historical event or will be and I think August 31, 2021 will be marked as the day when the Hegemon took a significant hit to their imperial powers. For those who fancy the Rome historical parrallell, this seems akin to when the Roman legions abandoned Britain. They never managed to subjugate that island either and kept many legions there throughout the entire time. Maybe one could see the picts as that day's Taliban...

Posted by: Harald | Sep 2 2021 11:49 utc | 153

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