Monday, August 16, 2021

An Epic Fail for America

It's over. The Taliban take over Kabul (NBC)
I have to admit that even I am shocked. Even though I predicted it, the speed with which the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan is breathtaking. It doesn’t surprise me that it happened. Just that it happened so fast.  I am not only shocked,  I am angry. Angry that we spent 20 years, lost thousands of US lives, spent trillions of dollars, and accomplished practically nothing.

Anyone that believes that reason is stronger than faith, doesn’t know what they are talking about. It is faith that determines outcomes. Not reason.  This is why what happened in Afghanistan in the span of about a week… happened. 

I have already explained why the faithful of Afghanistan are so successful. But that there was no resistance at all from the more sane and rational population whose 300,000 Afghani troops were trained and equipped with  US military equipment adds to my shock!. The Taliban are about a quarter of that number. And yet they seemed to just walk in and take over. 

The only thing that stopped them till now were US troops. They were the ones doing most of the fighting. Yes, the Afghan army was trained and had ‘pitched in’. But now that we are pulling out, it seems like those 300,000 troops are completely surrendering. There is no resistance at all! 

20 years of blood and treasure have been invested in this effort. We freed a country allowing it to enter the 21st century. Democracy began to set in. Elections were held. Woman were finally allowed to get out of the kitchen;  attend schools; and dream of becoming doctors, dentists lawyers, and accountants.

That is now gone. Now it’s back to living in the dark ages. Unable to get an education and forced to wear burkas with strict penalties for violations. 

Afghanistan is about to revert to a version of Islam that is savage and primitive. Where blood flows freely from the rebellious. For the Taliban, the democracy that the US had fostered is anti Islam. Their fundamentalist version of Islam is the only legitimate version . Everything they do flows from that. They could not care less what the world thinks of them. All they care about is what they believe God thinks of them.

That they lied to us when negotiating our exit from their country is seen as a ‘mitzvah’ – a legitimate tactic to restore Islamic rule to the country. 

One might argue that we had no choice. We had to leave or stay there forever. 20 years of our presence there could not completely rid that country of the Taliban.  They were not going to be defeated. They were not going to disappear. Perhaps. But let us look at the consequences.

They are now much stronger than they were when we first came in 20 years ago. And have the  advantage of having commandeered all the military equipment we left to the regular Afghan army. The blood bath has begun.  Any Afghan that helped the US over the last 20 years is as good as dead. They will be executed. As the Taliban’s religious tenets must demand. 

It’s easy to blame the previous administration for this. Former President Trump wanted to pull out our troops and negotiated an agreement with the Taliban. An agreement  that included ridding the country of Al Qaida. That did not happen. How could they rid themselves of religious Muslims that shared their beliefs?!

Whether the Trump administration would have allowed things to go this far is something we will never know. What we do know is that President Biden has allowed it. He owns this debacle. As recently as one month ago he told the American people that the Taliban would never be able to take over Afghanistan. That the 300,000 strong Afghani military was trained and equipped to take over the fighting. No way could the Taliban take over under those conditions. Surely not without a long protracted fight. 

That shows just how incompetent our intelligence people are! 

I get that we should not be fighting other peoples wars. I don’t really want to place one more US soldier in harm’s way in what has become a lost cause. I get that it’s up to the Afghani people to do their own fighting. And that we should not be in the business of nation building. That we should focus on what our own people need. Not on what some foreign country 7000 miles away needs. 

But once we have embarked on that course and after 20 years of relative success  - to see it fall apart so quickly is devastating. It is the very definition of an ‘epic fail’. 

Afghani women born 20 years ago have experienced only the freedom that democracy has given them. They had hopes and dreams of achieving great things by virtue of the education they were able to get. It is not that these women are secular. They are devout Muslims. They are just not fundamentalist. Which is what the Taliban are. Their fundamentalist version of Islam is a throwback to the dark ages.

Quite suddenly, these women are about to experience what it means to be a woman under those conditions. I cannot imagine how they will be able to withstand this new ‘primitive’ way of life.  It’s one thig to be brought up that way. It is another to be brought up in relative freedom and then have it suddenly taken completely away. 

The question is, what do we do now? Can the US afford to just let this happen? Does what is happening in Afghanistan have any impact at all what happens here?  Only the most naïve among us would say no. Adding that it’s their country. And why should we worry about it - much less spend more money and loose more lives over it?!’ 

Those that think this way forget why we there in the first place.  It was to find and execute Al Qaida leader Osama bin Ladin who masterminded 9/11. And to prevent anything like that from happening again.  They forget that it was the Taliban that harbored Al Qaida.  

Does anyone really that believe that now that Bin Ladin is gone that Al Qaida will disappear? Not if the Taliban can help it. Bin Ladin is surely not the only terrorist capable of such an attack. Afghanistan was a safe haven for Al Qaida 20 years ago. They will be a safe haven for them now. Only now they are  better equipped to do so with the American military equipment they captured. 

The question is what do we do now? I have no idea. But one thing I do know is that with the US leaving Afghanistan, the world will be a more dangerous place now than it was when we first went in.