Some of you Afghan Veterans out there are hurting, trying to make sense of what this all means. Including some of my peers, who are not immune to the feel bads coming out of this clusterfuck. So allow me to give you a different perspective, one that will perhaps soothe the pain a bit. I shoot straight, and this isn’t all sunshine and roses. There is going to be some Grim Dark upfront. But it does have a silver lining, hear me out.
Was this a foolish mission to start with? Yes. The only way to decisively win in Afghanistan was full-scale genocide, which we knew from about 2003 forward. We don’t have the stomach for that, and that is probably a good thing.
Did we lose? Yeah, goddamn right we lost. Let’s just get that out of the way now, like ripping off a band-aid. Do not get out the “ We were winning when I left” hats and slap a Ghan flag on them. Face the facts, and then act. If the goal 20 years ago was to remove the Taliban, and now the Taliban is back 100% in control without even requiring a name change, then the objective was not met.
Is it your fault? No. The failure here, while stunning, rests on the political class and the Generals. So like I said, the political class. Who, exactly, do you think lost this war? You, out slogging the mountains, and mowing down Taliban fighters with a machine gun, and surviving on fish sticks and MRE crackers at the firebase, and winning EVERY tactical level engagement for 20 years? Or the spineless General who didn’t hear a gunshot despite 9 tours, who was the architect of the grand strategy, and spent his time quite literally getting his dick sucked by his biographer in his office at Bagram instead of trying to win?
We can safely say at this point that the real goal in Afghanistan was a transfer of wealth from the taxpayers to the MIC ( Military Industrial Complex) and the politicians they bought with the profits. $88 billion dollars ( for the ANA alone) is a staggering figure. For that much money, you could have paid half of Afghanistan to kill the other half. You could have paid China or India or even Pakistan to do it for you. That money was wasted, and we all knew that well over a decade ago.
Afghanistan should never have been anything except a punitive expedition. We should have left in 2004, 2006, 2007, or ten minutes after Osama Bin Laden died. Any one of those would have been a leave with honor type situation. Instead, we opted to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and look like incompetent boobs to the entire planet. I should say, our Generals and Politicians opted for that. Almost like that was the goal………
The idea of spending 2.2 trillion dollars to “export our way of life” to cavemen is retarded, and anyone with an ounce of sense knows that. I often said that giving the Ghans a Jeffersonian Democracy was a fool’s errand since we could barely keep one functioning ourselves. Post Nov. 4th, 2020, we know that “barely functioning” wasn’t true either. The idea of the U.S. Government fighting corruption is laughable in our own country. So no shit we laundered 2.2 trillion into bribes and fake projects, what did you think was going to happen?
How many Company Grade Officers were relieved of command or run up on charges over 20 years? A lot. Hundreds, if not thousands. How many Generals faced the same fate, or resigned in disgrace over their incompetence? None. Stan McCrystal resigned for saying not nice things about Obumer to a Rolling Stone reporter, but that doesn’t count. In fact, perhaps it is telling that General JSOC himself was played in such a manner. If ole Stanley is too much of a fucking idiot not to effectively give his enemy kryptonite and ask him nice not to use it, what does that say about the rest of the Officer Caste? For that matter, how many children did the CEO of Ratheyon or Boeing or Lockheed Martin lose to the meat grinder?
Yeah, it hurts. I feel you. We all lost friends. Had our brothers return home mangled and broken. Was it worth it? No. But those are sunk costs, so we might as well look at what we gained from the experience. They made a generation of us very, very fucking dangerous. We, especially the Enlisted class, learned how to make war in a manner not seen for decades. Perhaps ever. And while we would all trade that to have our boys back walking this Earth, the bargain can’t be reversed. Think of the GWOT as history’s biggest training exercise. It was said in antiquity that any training that didn’t kill one out of a thousand was insufficient for training warriors. True. Now it wasn’t a deal that shed our weak. We lost some of our absolute best and brightest, which adds to the pain. But it made even the mediocre of us far better than we would have been. Even if you got fucked up yourself, you learned invaluable lessons firsthand you can teach the youth. You have value in your brain alone that is beyond price. Bill Gates, with all his fortune, couldn’t buy the experience you carry in you every day.
Is it arguable, if a little tinfoil hat, to think that perhaps the globalist factions set up the war in Afghanistan on purpose purely to break a generation of fighting men from the Vanguard of Freedom, ole Team USA herself? It doesn’t seem as fucking crazy to me as it might’ve been 10 months ago. It is at least plausible. But if that was the idea, they failed. Instead, they forged our generation into War Machines the likes of which have never been seen. Did we lose some once again to PTSD and depression? We did. But it doesn’t have to be you. The question is never how hard you can get hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and stand back up. This is a time for standing back up.
Did we learn anything else? Yes. The Taliban, much as we might hate them, just taught us a valuable lesson about will. As did the North Vietnamese and the North Koreans. No odds, no technological advantage, no amount of money, can beat an iron will. As long as you can take enough punishment, there is absolutely nothing that can’t be overcome.
We lost this war the minute Code Pink was taken seriously. The minute Bradly Manning and Bo Berghdale weren’t hung. The first time we charged one of our warfighters with murder or using excessive force. The first time we denied an element in contact air support. Our people, 49% of them at least, are weak and stupid. The great sifting has just begun, and it will get worse. That is the price you pay for allowing weakness to take root in your society.
All of us, I promise, will be needed once again. And soon. And not in some Bureaucrat, Blue Blood, Skull and Bones created debacle on the edge of the Empire. I mean needed as in needed like the Spartans at Thermopylae. The weakness on display right now by the Government of the United States will not go unnoticed by the world at large. We can expect now to be poked in the chest because we have shown that we will take it. You can do one of two things right now. You can drown your sorrows in a bottle of Jameson and think about your dead friends. Or you can honor their memory by getting the fuck up, off your ass, and getting your shit together. The best loyalty I can show my boy Mike Duskin today is to “go pick up something heavy and move it over there.” Go mentor some youth. Get back in the gym. Don’t let the sacrifice have been in vain.