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Gen. Wesley Clark: Afghanistan problem is “consequence of 20 years of American misjudgments ..."



David Rothkopf


If the lesson you take away from Afghanistan is that the endgame was misplayed you are missing the point. The point is almost the entire business has been misplayed from shortly after the very beginning until now. It is not a few weeks of misjudgments. It is 20 yrs of them.


Twitter, August 16, 2021


The reality is that no one can justify why the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan for the past twenty years. The goal was to find and punish the man and terrorists who planned the attack on the U.S. on 9/11/2001 that was the worst attack on the country in history.

However, while the initial attacks on al Queda and the Taliban there worked in driving them back, the terrorists moved to Iraq and formed ISIS and worked from there are the debacle in the country deteriorated.

The people that sent us into that Asian nation never captured Osama bin Laden. That came later with President Barack Obama sending Navy Seals into Pakistan to do that — ten years ago.

So, why are we still there?


The truth of what Gen. Wesley Clark said is evident. The U.S. stumbled and fumbled its way through Afghanistan, and misjudgments occurred with Bush and his cronies who quit Afghanistan after the first few weeks and focused on Saddam Hussein.


Was the effort worth it?


The U.S. spent trillions of dollars that we will be paying for the rest of this century on that effort. And, as AP asked, many question if it was “worth it.”


Some apologists say it was, but America is not convinced,

As President Joe Biden ends the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan this month, Americans and Afghans are questioning whether the war was worth the cost: more than 3,000 American and other NATO lives lost, tens of thousands of Afghans dead, trillions of dollars of U.S. debt that generations of Americans will pay for, and an Afghanistan that in a stunning week of fighting appears at imminent threat of falling back under Taliban rule, just as Americans found it nearly 20 years ago.


For Biden, for Bee and for some of the American principals in the U.S. and NATO war in Afghanistan, the answer to whether it was worth the cost often comes down to parsing.

There were the first years of the war, when Americans broke up Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida in Afghanistan and routed the Taliban government that had hosted the terrorist network.

That succeeded.

The proof is clear, says Douglas Lute, White House czar for the war during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, and a retired lieutenant general: Al-Qaida hasn’t been able to mount a major attack on the West since 2005.

“We have decimated al-Qaida in that region, in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Lute says.

Ellen Knickmeyer, “Longest war: We America’s decades in Afghanistan

worth it?” Associated Press, August 15, 2021


How a “lucky” Marine changed his mind

The AP story pointed out the story of a young marine who went into the country seeking vengeance to change his mind a few years later,


Here’s what 19-year-old Lance Cpl. William Bee felt flying into southern Afghanistan on Christmas Day 2001: purely lucky. The U.S. was hitting back at the al-Qaida plotters who had brought down the World Trade Center, and Bee found himself among the first Marines on the ground.

“Excitement,” Bee says these days, of the teenage Bee’s thoughts then. “To be the dudes that got to open it up first.”

In the decade that followed, three more deployments in America’s longest war scoured away that lucky feeling.

For Bee, it came down to a night in 2008 in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. By then a sergeant, Bee held the hand of an American sniper who had just been shot in the head, as a medic sliced open the man’s throat for an airway.

“After that it was like, you know what — ‘F—k these people,’” Bee recounted, of what drove him by his fourth and final Afghan deployment. “I just want to bring my guys back. That’s all I care about. I want to bring them home.”


Ellen Knickmeyer, AP, August 15, 2021


20 years of misjudgments


In the tweet above, David Rothkopf said that people should not be surprised by what is happening right now as the Taliban take over the government of the country. He is right,

If the lesson you take away from Afghanistan is that the endgame was misplayed you are missing the point. The point is almost the entire business has been misplayed from shortly after the very beginning until now. It is not a few weeks of misjudgments. It is 20 yrs of them.


Twitter


Biden was right to leave, and while he may be historically linked to its downfall, the truth is that the fall occurred in the early years of the war when we did not declare victory and come home.

Instead, we had to wait ten years to capture and kill the guy who was responsible for all of this.

And, that is very sad.

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