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Skull-Stomping Sacred Cows: Afghanistan

August 17, 2021

Over the last two days, I’ve watched the news a little bit, after receiving numerous phone calls and emails from friends, acquaintances, and family members, about the debacle in Kabul. For those that have somehow managed to avoid hearing the news, the US-backed Afghan “government” collapsed, as the Taliban entered Kabul, having already taken most major cities in the country (they already owned the countryside). We got to see the American Embassy evacuated, in a blow-by-blow replay of Saigon, 1975, despite POTUS’ earlier assurances that there was no way that was going to happen.

A lot of people are—figuratively, if not literally—suffering a great deal of angst over that. I know where they are coming from. I’ve seen some social media posts from really smart dudes, with really solid, meat-eater, bad motherfucker credentials in the SOF world, bemoaning this turn of events, as if it were somehow not completely fucking predictable, to anyone with an IQ high enough that they manage to breathe under their own power.

One of my great friends called me last night. While most who called seemed to want to project their own thoughts and prejudices on the subject, so that I could validate them because of my (long ago) experience in that country, this friend just said, “Tell me what you’re thinking.

So, I did. I told him, I think a whole lot of people had a whole lot of ego and identity invested in the crackpipe dream that Afghanistan was somehow going to end in some way other than it has. Some of that was professional ego. It’s hard to spend the major part of your career—or all of your career—embroiled in an effort, only to find out that your retirement “party” is the final admission of failure. Some of that was the patriotic fervor of “But, we’re ‘Murica! We can’t lose, because God loves us!” Of course, that ignores the fact that the Taliban are firmly convinced, just as vociferously, that “We can’t lose, because Allah loves us!”

I told him that, obviously, there’s a little bit of the gut punch feeling to the whole thing. I mean, I’d seen the video footage from Saigon in ‘75, but I wasn’t aware of that until at least a decade after it occurred. Watching it live is a little surreal, and the utter, absolute waste is disgusting. The waste of life, and the waste of resources and the waste of opportunity that those previous wastes created.

Finally, I went on to point out that I have three major thoughts on it:

(1) I lost friends in Afghanistan, while there myself, and many more after I left. It’s human to take a moment to grieve the waste of the lives of our friends and comrades. It’s human to think of tour friends and comrades who have lost limbs, literally leaving a piece of themselves on the battlefield.

Here’s the thing though…Officially, almost 2500 US troops lost their lives in Afghanistan. Of course, many more died, after leaving the battlefield, from PTSD-related suicide. Nor does that figure include contractors who were killed in theater. But, here’s the thing….that has been over the course of 20 years. In July of 1863, there were 3,155 killed, in three days, at a little Pennsylvania village called Gettysburg. At Antietam, Union losses were 2,108 killed, while the Confederacy lost 3,281…in a single day, 17SEP1862.

What people are overlooking is that we all volunteered. Nobody who went to Afghanistan was drafted and sent there against their will. When we signed on that dotted line, and accepted the paycheck from the government, we knew that serving in the military could result in death or dismemberment. Do recruiters lie? Fuck yes, they do. Do the recruiting commercials gloss over the realities of the potential for death or dismemberment, and focus on cool guy action sequences and offers of “free” jobs training and college money? Of course they do. That’s what they do. If you enlisted, and didn’t understand the potential risks, the only people you can blame for that is your own parents and mentors. It’s not been any sort of secret, for decades, that American popular culture and the political class, looks down on the military as cannon fodder, and little more.

I get the “patriotism” angle. I’m from a military family. Every single generation of my paternal family has served in the uniforms of this country’s military, since the Revolutionary War onward. My younger brother and I both wore the uniform (me for 10 years, him until he retired at 22 years). Despite a father and grandfather, and a family legacy, that all encouraged our enlistments, as opportunities for service; despite being innocent, naive, rube, farm kids from a small, conservative, patriotic community in the rural South, we still knew the potential risks of enlistment. We got it, and we still volunteered for the job.

Honestly? If I didn’t know them personally, and consider them a friend and comrade, it’s hard for me to muster up much give-a-shit for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who lost their lives, if I didn’t know them in life. I certainly don’t give a shit about the Afghans.

I get the “patriotism” angle. I’m from a military family. Every single generation of my paternal grandfather’s family has served in the uniforms of this country’s military, dating back to the Revolution. Despite that; despite a father and grandfather who encouraged our enlistments; despite being innocent, naive, rube, farm kids from the sticks, we still were informed, and knew the potential risks of enlistment. We got it, and we still volunteered for the job.

I get the “patriotism” angle. The first lullaby I have sung to each of my children, the first time I’ve held them, minutes after birth, was “The Star-Spangled Banner.” I make my children—even the three- and six-year old, stand at attention when the colors are presented. I get it.

Realistically, the only Americans (because, let’s be honest, I don’t give a fuck about the Afghans. I can respect them as mountain folk and a warrior culture, without giving a fuck about what happens to them…) who suffered the losses of the last twenty years, and can honestly say, “Wait a minute! I didn’t volunteer for this shit!” are the children of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and contractors (see below) who died, or were permanently scarred by their experiences. They didn’t get a voice in Daddy’s (or Mommy’s) career choice. So, sure; take a minute and grieve for your buddies who died. But, if you need to grieve for strangers that you didn’t personally know, even though they wore the same colors you did? Save that for the children who were fucked by fate. They didn’t have a choice. They didn’t have a voice.

(2) Lots of people are blaming all of this on Biden. Hell, even CNN, as I type this, is very vocally blaming Biden. To be sure, he’s a tool, and the dude was dumbfuck enough to want the job. To be sure, as even he admitted (to his credit, as much as it pains me to acknowledge), he’s POTUS, and “the buck stops here.” (Of course, he immediately started flailing, trying to pawn the responsibility off on the military, but of course he did…).

To be sure, he’s the one responsible for ignoring the guidance of the military advisors, and insisting on a total withdrawal, instead of leaving a small footprint on the ground, with a QRF and advisory force (which, to be fair, would present its own, even greater margin for debacle…). To be sure, he’s the one that is responsible, as the CinC, of calling for—or just allowing—a rushed, unannounced, middle of the night evacuation of Bagram Air Base.

To be sure, he’s the one responsible for having intelligence advisors that allowed themselves to be “shocked” by the speed with which the Afghan National Army folded, and allowed the Taliban to roll across the country so rapidly.

But…here’s the thing…We all KNEW this was going to happen. From a complete lack of a coherent strategic vision from the beginning, to the piss-poor job we have done at managing unit rotations over the last eighty years ( remember when servicemen were enlisted “for the duration, plus X months?” Pepperidge Farms remembers. Remember when units deployed to a combat theater and remained there until the task was complete? Pepperidge Fucking Farm remembers!); from the complete lack of will in the American populace and the political machine, to the whole “Graveyard of Empires” thing…we all KNEW this was going to happen. Period.

Whether we left now, or ten years ago, or ten years from now. Whether we poured a few billion more dollars, or a few thousand more American GI lives into the meat grinder, we knew, as soon as we left, that the Afghan government was going to fold like a wet suit, and the Taliban was going to overrun the country. Any reasonably intelligent and observant American knew that. I guarantee you that the political class knew it. The military command structure knew it. The Taliban knew it. The Afghan people sure as shit knew it.

I’ve pointed out, in my first book, and in any number of articles on the blog, that the Taliban, like any insurgency, didn’t have to win. They didn’t even have to “not lose.” All they had to do was make sure the populace remembered that, when the invaders (that would be us…) left, they would still be around. They did that. Through the initial invasion, through the surge, through it all, the people of Afghanistan—and it didn’t matter if they are Hazari, Pashtun, Tajik, or whatever tribe, KNEW the Taliban was still there, waiting in the shadows. If they forgot, overawed by the technological might of the Imperial War Machine, the Taliban would wait a few days, and then they’d show up, and chop off a few heads, as a reminder, before going back to sit in the shadows and wait.

The simple fact is, anyone with an IQ above about 68 KNEW this was going to be the result when we pulled out, and it didn’t matter if it was Joe Biden or someone else. Anyone who claims they sincerely believed that there would be a different outcome quite probably also believes that their favorite hooker actually loves them…or they’re lying through their teeth.

(3) I’m certainly no apologist for Stumblin’ Joe, but trying to put all the blame solely on his shoulders, is the kind of stupid fucking propaganda horseshit that keeps us lashing out at our fellow citizens, instead of paying attention to the motherfuckers that are really to blame.

Biden has been in the White House for what? Seven months? The first US SOF officially hit the ground in Afghanistan in early October of 2001. That’s like 238 months…Yes, Joe Biden was a senior senator at that time, and as a member of that “august body” (gag. I just threw up in my mouth), certainly shares some of the blame, but the ineptitude and lack of conviction—even the outright malfeasance—that ended up in the shit show that we’re watching now? That rides on more than just Joe Biden’s shoulders.

If we’re going to blame someone for unnecessary loss of US life in Afghanistan? Let’s go back to January 2002, and blame the GWB administration for not having a coherent end-state goal, and a lack of willingness to simply say, “Hey, fuckheads. We came to knock the Taliban out of power. Our SOF did that in 90 days. Here’s your country back. Y’all go do your thing. We’re out, motherfuckers!” It wouldn’t have changed the final outcome, but it would have reduced American loss of life dramatically. Instead, between the Joint Chiefs insisting that Big Green needed boots on the ground, to justify defense spending, and Cheney wanting to get Halliburton on the ground making bank, it was decided we needed to try some of that there Clinton-style “nation building!” Gots to get paid, yo!

If we’re going to place blame, let’s go back and blame the BHO administration for not living up to his campaign promises to “end the war,” and pull US troops out. We’d still have lost those who were already dead, but it would have stopped the loss of further US lives. But, no, we gotta keep pouring more effort into failure, because sunk cost fallacy is fucking real. “We can’t let those guys die in vain! Instead, let’s go get a bunch more of our own killed instead!”

If we’re going to place blame, let’s blame the DJT administration for the exact same thing. Let’s blame the DJT administration for making deals with the Taliban, bypassing our “allies” the Afghan government, thus ensuring the Taliban that we weren’t actually that concerned about the success of the Afghan government.

If we’re going to place blame, let’s blame every motherfucker that insisted we needed to wait longer to withdraw, because a few more dead will surely stabilize things, and get us out “with honor.” Newsflash: there’s no honor in losing, no matter how you try to gild it.

If we’re going to place blame, let’s blame all the fucking defense contract companies of Ike’s “military-industrial complex” who kept lobbying for more time and money to be spent, because fucking fortunes were being made there! (To be fair, I’m not talking about individual private military contractors. At the end of the day, every single dude I’ve know who went the contractor route, did it because it was a way to stay in the fight, “serving” their country, while actually making a decent living to support their families. I don’t even begrudge that, even if I despise the owners of the contract companies who were cashing in.)

If we’re going to place blame, let’s look at all the congressmen (yes, including Joe Biden) who continued to vote to support the budget requests needed to keep up the charade that we would “eventually” prevail in Afghanistan, “someday,” if we just kept pouring bodies and money into it. Hell, let’s look at the voters who bought into the false dialectic of R v. D, and voted for the warmongering profiteer “representatives’ to get into, or stay in, office, to keep getting bribed by lobbyist money and junkets.

To be sure, Biden is a tool, and certainly carries his share of the “blame,” but if we’re going to play the blame game, let’s at least make sure that everybody is getting their share of the prize. He just happened to be the dumb motherfucker who was stupid enough to want the job, when it finally ended.

————————————————-

At the end of the day? Sure, I’m upset, probably. Hell, I may even be sad. But honestly? I don’t really feel either of those emotions at the visceral level. I was long ago resigned to this ending. My only “hope” is that we’re not sending troops back in six months or a year, and dumping more lives into it. They want to kill each other? Let them kill each other. It’s not our fucking problem.

Given the state of affairs in the world at large, and the US specifically, I’d say that right now, we’ve got way bigger problems to deal with here, and they will be even worse in six months, and worse still in a year. Fuck Afghanistan.

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15 Comments
  1. Mario permalink

    The graveyard of empires. History taught us that fact, but we don’t read history books.

  2. nobarcode permalink

    this is a setup imo. the goal of the setup is unknown to me, exactly. But now is not the time to…go “awol” and on the offensive so to say. Is it time to use “nation building skills”? Yes -past tense. Thank you Mosby, you’re a great guy. I appreciate you bro. -signed TN.

  3. Thumper permalink

    While EVERY pundit chastises the downfall of Afghanistan I see (read) that not a single soul has anything to say about the INVASION of this nation at our Mexican border ! While every piece of .gov scum are crying about Afghanistan (and sending military assets there…..AGAIN) not one of them has called for the DEFENSE of fUSA against the foreign attack/invasion at our southern border.

    Screw Afghanistan !

    It is almost too late to close our borders (using deadly force) to the enemy invaders. Enemy invaders encouraged to attack our nation by Biden, his cabal of traitors and a host of Biden’s seditious predecessors are gleefully acknowledging our undefended, open Mexican border ! But hey ! Afghanistan is important. The former great nation’s borders under enemy attack, is of no consequence to the treasonous and sedition scum, ensconced in the depths of the District of Criminals.

    The “unending’ war is on our Mexican border. And barely one “patriot” feels it is of little importance as they write about the shithole of Afghanistan !

    Close and seal the borders. Use deadly force to do so. And arrest for sedition EVERY flag officer, every politician, every .gov bureaucrat and every print and electronic media spokesweasel ignoring the physical attack on Tom Ridge’s “homeland”. Time to take back our country.

    Fuck Afghanistan !

  4. 509er permalink

    Remember the whole reason we went there was 9-11. If I remember correctly it was Saudis who flew mission and supposedly planned it, not Taliban rock apes. It was just an excuse to unleash Ike’s Military Industrial Complex’s live fire mission. There’s a lot more than meets the eye as well. You’re right we all signed on the dotted line, however, most thought we were doing it for God and country. Naive thinking but ramped up after 9-11. There’s a lot more to know about that too.

  5. BadgerKlaws permalink

    Yes, we have great tactics and ZERO long term strategy. Taliban wanted the poppy fields back as much as anything. Heard it guesstimated we lost 60K Afghan Vet troops to PTS suicides in the last 20 years, those are our true losses. Back to GWB forward, they all stayed in it for what? POTUS Burden immediately went to blaming Trump the other day, and went back to looking for his marbles, again….

  6. Sher Singh permalink

    Fk cow slaughter.

  7. Diz permalink

    Harsh words, but can’t say you’re wrong or I disagree. In other words, classic Mosby.

  8. Afuckingmen.
    We never should have gone there in the first place, in my opinion.
    We sent good people there to die for a lie.

  9. Randy permalink

    Gorbachev was cited by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying that NATO and the Americans had no chance of success and had badly mishandled their own Afghan campaign.

    “They (NATO and the United States) should have admitted failure earlier. The important thing now is to draw the lessons from what happened and make sure that similar mistakes are not repeated,” Gorbachev told RIA.

  10. jcinpa permalink

    Simply brilliant, as usual.

    Cheers,

    John Collins

    ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐

  11. sonofnunn24 permalink

    There is no love in the Koran, not even the word. Fear of not tipping the scales is what motivates Islam. When the afghans here and those coming get blackmailed into acts to save family is when the Afghanistan war starts here.

  12. Rod permalink

    Thanks for skillfully putting into words the way most of us feel but have a hard time expressing without getting into trouble.. Salute , Respect ..

  13. Beardly permalink

    I blame the permanent bureaucracy more than anyone. We need term limits in congress but we ALSO need term limits in the Federal Bureaucracy. People like John Bolton shouldn’t be able to work for the federal government for their whole lives. The government should simply not be a lifetime job–for anyone.

    P.S. Fuck Afghanistan.

  14. BadgerKlaws permalink

    Well, finally got the reluctant partisan Part deux. At being 7 years old now (Copyright 2014) it’s amazing how this has all come to fruition; currencies, commodities, politics, identity politics, and WROL taking over local governments in Antifa / BLM / NFAC groups. That pile of re-loading components you’ve been stock-piling….? Learn how to put them together….GG3? Oh my…Reagan’s U.S. Army; just say No, God Bless the shooters.

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