Showing posts with label Biden's Performance & Trump's BS Role In Afghanistan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Biden's Performance & Trump's BS Role In Afghanistan. Show all posts

Sunday, August 22, 2021

More On Afghanistan: a Few Updates and Realistic Evaluations of Joe Biden's Performance - Trump's Role In Afghanistan : How He Left Biden With Little Or No Options (Or, tied his hands) - And, Would He Have Accepted Thousands and Thousands Of Afghan Refugees? No Way.

It seems just about everyone is pissed off at Joe Biden, so I'm going to do a few updates (No Afghan Updates this morning from CNN as last week) then give you what I thought were critical  and realistic evaluations of Biden's performance on the Afghan situation. I might skip Tony Blair because he is a dork and ultimately tied to the Military Industrial Complex, he is an anachronism.

Like most of you, my heart is practically wrenched out by the scenes and stories coming out of Kabul as well as reports from Americans who fought there and Americans who lost loved ones there. So, once again here is the link you can go to to help the Afghan people. Just keep in mind  as a rule of thumb that corruption starts at the top and works its way down  (just about always) and maybe this time around, the US has finally learned a lesson. Who knows, maybe some good will come from all of this; potentially the end of interventionist wars, the hopeful coordination of the Western powers to provide shelter and sustenance to the Afghan refugees....which will be good grooming grounds for them to work collectively on climate change. Because if they don't, we have had it.

The Links & Updates: 


 ~ From CNN:


Internally displaced Afghan families, who fled from Kunduz, Takhar and Baghlan province due to battles between Taliban and Afghan security forces, sit in front of their temporary tents at Sara-e-Shamali in Kabul on August 11, 2021.


How To Help Afghan Refugees 


Updated 10:22 AM ET, Thu August 19, 2021



 ~ From AP:

- 9 minutes ago


Includes worldwide updates


The Latest: Biden Warns of IS threat to Kabal Evacuations 



 ~ From BBC: 

5 hours ago

Afghanistan: US Orders Civilian Jets To Join Evacuation



Evaluations of Joe Biden's Performance


Of course, check the other links from "About Afghanistan", however here a few of my faves:


 ~ From Informed Comment:   


Contains link to 08/17/21 report...take notes: 


Video on link:


Biden after Trump-Taliban Treaty, Draw-down, Staying In Afghanistan would Have Required a New War 

"Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – President Joe Biden on Friday gave some further insight into his decision to leave Afghanistan, and refuted some of his critics’ talking points concisely and convincingly.

Let me back up and explain that the Military-Industrial Complex spokespersons, like Gen. (ret’d) David Petraeus, criticized Biden for being unwilling to stay in Afghanistan with a small footprint. Going back to the late Sen. John McCain, observers have pointed out the long term troop presence in South Korea, and wondered why Afghanistan couldn’t be like that. Petraeus took up this theme. He also pointed out that no US troops had been attacked in Afghanistan for 18 months. This latter point is disingenuous for reasons Biden explained on Friday.

For myself, I would say that the reason is that South Koreans are afraid of North Korea and China, so most approve of having US bases in their country. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs points out that “Majorities in Korea say the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific increases regional stability (74%) and 83 percent think that presence should either be increased (15%) or maintained (68%).”

Afghans aren’t afraid of any foreign power or neighbor, and large numbers of them didn’t want the U.S. there. A 2020 Asia Foundation opinion poll in Afghanistan found that 53 percent of respondents, a majority, were confident that their own army and police could provide security without foreign assistance. They were wrong, but the desire to go it alone was strong. And that didn’t likely count all the people who were virulently against the US troop presence.

That’s one. Second, the US military was not actively fighting in South Korea. It was in Afghanistan.

President Biden addressed these sorts of arguments in a different way.

First, he pointed out that the U.S. has no national interests in Afghanistan:

    “Look, let’s put this thing in perspective here. What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point with Al Qaeda gone? We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, as well as getting Osama Bin Laden. And we did. Imagine, just imagine if that attack, if Bin Laden had decided with Al Qaeda to launch an attack from Yemen, would we ever gone to Afghanistan?”

I would just point out that most Americans think we do have a national interest in South Korea, which is the tenth largest economy in the world, and with which we do nearly $170 billion annually in trade.

Second, Biden explained the dishonesty of the allegation that U.S. troops were not being attacked and so it would have been all right to leave them there:

    “One of the things that is a reality as people now say to me and to others, and many of you say it on air, that why did we have to move? Because no Americans are being attacked. Why did we withdraw those… Why’d we agree to withdraw 2,500 troops? No Americans are being attacked. As I said before, the reason they weren’t being attacked was part of an agreement that Trump had made a year earlier. We will leave by May 1st, he said, as long as there’s no attack on Americans in that year period.”

That is, Biden is saying that the Taliban only agreed with Trump to a moratorium on attacking U.S. troops until the withdrawal deadline. If Biden had abruptly reneged on the deal reached by Trump with the Taliban in February, 2020, and had tried to stay indefinitely, then the Taliban would have been angered and would have again targeted US military personnel.

Biden continued,

    . . . number two, the Taliban was taking large swaths of the countryside, north and south, none of the major areas, none of the major points of the capitols of each of these provinces, but they were all over the country. And the idea that if I had said on May the 2nd or 3rd, “We are not leaving, we are staying.” Does anybody truly believe that I would not have had to put in significantly more American forces, send your sons, your daughters, like my son was sent to Iraq to maybe die? And for what? For what?”

So President Biden is saying that not only would the moratorium on attacks on U.S. troops have been over with if he had tried to stay but the Taliban were taking increasingly large portions of the countryside during the past year. The 2,500 US troops left in the country by Trump would have been sitting ducks if Biden had tried to keep them there.

The only way to have stayed, Biden is saying, would have been to do a big troop escalation and fight the Afghanistan War all over again.

Biden had seen the Pentagon and people like Petraeus snooker Barack Obama into doing just that, and Biden had been against it in 2010-2011, as I pointed out on Tuesday. So he was certainly not going to fall for that one again.

So trying to stay in Afghanistan and breaching the treaty Trump signed with the Taliban would not have been like keeping U.S. bases in South Korea at all. It would have required, Mr. Biden argues, another war. And this president wants to know exactly why he should send American young men and women to fight that further war.

Biden is clearly distressed at the incredibly rapid fall of the Afghan government, but does not find it a sufficient reason to fight Afghanistan War 2.0 (or maybe 3.0 if you count Petraeus’s counter-insurgency campaign a decade ago as the Second U.S.-Afghan War).

Moreover, the meme that the U.S. was being kind to Afghans in staying in that country is selective. Al Jazeera reported that The U.S. “dropped 7,423 bombs on targets in Afghanistan in 2019, marking a rise from the 7,362 munitions dropped in 2018, US Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) said . . .” It added, “In the first half of 2019, 717 civilians were killed by government forces, including US, representing a dramatic increase of 31 percent from a year earlier, the UN reported last year.” Very kind.

I have been a critic of U.S. Afghanistan policy through several administrations, but I have to say I found Biden’s reasoning here to be iron tight."



 ~ From Informed via Otherwords:


Added Video on the link:


Why Biden Is Right To End The War In Afghanistan 



"( – The scenes from Afghanistan are heartrending.

I can’t imagine the desperation of someone who clings to a military airplane as it takes off, as Afghan refugees attempted to in Kabul. Nor is it possible to dismiss the fears of Afghan women, as a faction that once executed them for seeking jobs or education comes back to power.

But in light of the precipitous collapse of the country’s 300,000-man army and political leadership, it’s also impossible to dismiss President Biden’s conclusion that the war was never going to be winnable.

“If Afghanistan is unable to mount any real resistance to the Taliban now,” Biden said, “there is no chance that one more year, five more years, or 20 more years of U.S. military boots on the ground would have made any difference.”

Biden is right. And many of the military and political leaders who’ve prosecuted the war agree. In 2019, the Washington Post reported on interviews with over 400 who said the war was doomed even then — including many who said the opposite publicly.

Biden put a finer point on it. Of “those who argue that we should stay,” he asked: “How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not?”

After years of sacrifice, the only correct answer is none. But Biden is wrong to pin all the blame on Afghans.

The U.S. has been at war in Afghanistan not just for the last 20 years, but for the better part of the last 40. Throughout the 1980s, we armed and trained the rudiments of what would become al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

We wanted them to fight off the Soviets. They did. Then 9/11 happened.

We went back, deposed the Taliban, and cobbled together a hopelessly corrupt alliance of warlords, exiles, and opportunists to serve as a new government. To back it, we created the Afghan National Army.

We also carpet bombed the country and dispatched shadowy CIA death squads, contributing more than our fair share of the war’s nearly 50,000 civilian casualties.

Over 60,000 Afghan troops gave their lives fighting the Taliban. But between the violence, corruption, and poor governance, the U.S.-backed government simply didn’t command the support of the Afghan people. When the president took off with a helicopter full of cash, many Afghan soldiers sensibly concluded it wasn’t worth dying for any longer.

Biden is right to end the war. But he’s wrong to call it just “a civil war in a foreign country.” In truth, it’s a disaster we spent 40 years creating. That project wasn’t just unwinnable — it was wrong.

So now our obligation is to the Afghans living with the consequences.

Groups like Afghans for a Better Tomorrow are calling on the administration to lift refugee caps so more Afghans can come here, invest heavily in humanitarian aid inside the country, and not to relaunch the conflict under the guise of “counter-terrorism.”

We should also, my Institute for Policy Studies colleague Phyllis Bennis adds, work with the United Nations and international community to ensure safe passage for aid workers and help the country respond to the pandemic.

Those are fair demands — and a bargain relative to the costs of war. The IPS National Priorities Project found we could resettle over 1 million Afghan refugees for less than the cost of one year of war.

That’s the least we could do — that, and learn our lesson. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” President Biden said.

Next time, we should be wise enough not to send them at all.





Most recently from this morning: Trump's Role In Afghanistan From Juan Cole !


 ~ From Informed Comment: 

With enclosed video on the link:


Top 6 Ways Trump Forced Abrupt US Departure From Afghanistan, and That Time Trump Said Taliban Would Take Over War on Terror 



 "Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) –

1. In December, 2018, Trump ordered that half of the then 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan be brought out. The decision so angered then Secretary of Defense James Mattis that he abruptly resigned his position. Then Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Joseph Dunford said he had not recommended the halving of troop strength and that he thought it was a bad idea, both because it would cause instability in South Asia and raise the risk of terrorism against the U.S.

2. Through 2019, Trump and his officials negotiate with the Taliban. In September, Trump calls off the talks after a Taliban attack on U.S. troops, but by December his informal envoy Zalmay Khalilzad announces that negotiations have resumed. Khalilzad, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq, had no official position and no particular authority. He is said to have been angling to become secretary of state in a second Trump term. The US-Taliban talks were criticized for being bilateral and for excluding the official government of Afghanistan, headed by Ashraf Ghani.

3. On February 29, 2020, Trump announces peace in our time, with the signing of a peace treaty with the Taliban. The BBC wrote, “President Trump said it had been a ‘long and hard journey’ in Afghanistan. ‘It’s time after all these years to bring our people back home.'”

The BBC quoted Trump further about the US combat mission against terrorists in Afghanistan; he said, “it was ‘time for someone else to do that work and it will be the Taliban and it could be surrounding countries. I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show we’re not all wasting time.'” Trump did say, “If bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no-one’s ever seen.”

Please note that Trump said he believed that the Taliban would take up the slack in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, and that he really believed the Taliban wanted peace. As for his threat to go back in, he did not seem to realize that it would not be that easy once the U.S. was out.

In all the press pillorying of President Biden, which has barely mentioned Trump, I have seen no one mention that Trump once claimed that upon the US withdrawal the Taliban would take up the war on terror. Even while he was talking with them, the Taliban occasionally brought old al-Qaeda commandos to the parts of Afghanistan they controlled.

In the treaty, Trump promised to pull 8,500 troops out of the country in about 4 1/2 months. He pledged that the Afghanistan government of Ashraf Ghani would release 5,000 captured Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. Ashraf Ghani at first resisted this provision, saying he was not party to the talks and thought it a horrible idea. But under strong Trump pressure, Ghani let the fighters go by the following October.

In return for these steps and for a promise that the U.S. would withdraw completely from Afghanistan, the Taliban pledged not to attack the remaining U.S. troops in the country by May 1, 2021. When you hear advocates of staying in Afghanistan forever say that US troops had not been attacked in the past 18 months, that is why. They stopped the attacks because Trump promised to leave. If Biden had reneged and stayed, then US troops would have been in the cross-hairs again.

The February, 2020, peace treaty was clearly rushed through by Trump in hopes it would add to his popularity and help him win the November, 2020 presidential election.

4. On October 8, 2020, Trump tweeted out that all US troops would be out of Afghanistan by Christmas of that year. His Tweet took Mark Esper, the Secretary of Defense, Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and Ashraf Ghani, the president of Afghanistan by surprise, or, more likely, by shock. Julian Borger at The Guardian quoted Ashley Jackson, “the director of the ODI’s Centre for the Study of Armed Groups” as saying at the time, “This is the last leverage the US had left in talks with the Taliban, and Trump is proposing to give it away for free.” Not only did Trump telegraph the endgame and give up all leverage but what he said did not even make any sense. There was no way logistically to get the then 4,500 troops out of the country. Nor was it just a one-time Trump mindfart. The administration confirmed the Christmas deadline the next day.

Again, this announcement was clearly meant to appeal to the Trump base, many of them white working class who resented their tax dollars paying for a 20-year foreign misadventure.

5. While Trump was deeply drawing down the US troop presence in Afghanistan, he was doing nothing to get Afghan interpreters and allies out of harm’s way. It was worse. His melanin-despising aide Stephen Miller knee-capped the SIV special visa program for such Afghans and threw a long-term wrench into its works that hobbled the Biden administration when it came in. So reports an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Olivia Troye. Business Insider quotes her as saying, “Trump had FOUR years-while putting this plan in place-to evacuate these Afghan allies who were the lifelines for many of us who spent time in Afghanistan. The process slowed to a trickle for reviews/other “priorities”-then came to a halt.” She accused Miller of “racist hysteria” about Afghans and Iraqis.

6. On January 15, AP reported that Trump’s Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller announced that there were only 2,500 US troops left in Afghanistan after a deep draw-down by the outgoing Trump administration.

Miller said that the move brought the United States “closer than ever to ending nearly two decades of war.”

He insisted, with no visible evidence it was true, that the US could still “ensure that Afghanistan is never again used to harbor those who seek to bring harm to the United States of America.”

Miller and the Trump team refused to brief the incoming Biden administration on the Afghanistan situation throughout November, December and January, so Biden and his officials came into office flying blind.

Trump and Miller had also pledged that the U.S. would be out of Afghanistan completely by May 1.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been deeply involved in the negotiations with the Taliban. In early January, 2021, VOA reported, “No U.S. servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan in almost a year, and Afghans are finally discussing peace and reconciliation among themselves. Such incredible progress,” Pompeo said in a series of tweets that came one day after several social media posts boasting of American “swagger” during his diplomatic tenure.”




Iraq War veteran Peter Farley (center), with his former interpreter Wisam al-Baidhani (left) and another Iraqi interpreter in Baghdad in 2009.

Courtesy of Peter Farley



 Absolutely on target and correct again as usual.  A most important  point was Trump slamming the immigration door not only on the Afghan population, but specifically on the Translators...remember y'all ? So, if we were to believe or speculate that Trump really was going to completely withdraw and end the war, what would he have done with the  Afghan refugees? Oh I get it, he would have created a "Stay In Afghanistan" policy cousin to his "Stay In Mexico" policy. What a rat. WhyTF is the MSM or Corporate Media not reporting any of these true and valid historic points? Why are they whitewashing this?

My knee is killing me.



 Meanwhile, don't get caught up in the anti-Biden mob-herd mentality ... over & out for now....