The Math

The Biden administration did its unearned victory lap yesterday, in of the most catastrophically bad speeches I’ve ever seen – a formidable bar indeed for our senescent president.

But the worst part?

The Administration brags about getting around 120,000 people out in the “biggest airlift in history” (not even close to the Berlin Airlift 73 years ago, but whatever).

Ed Morrissey notes:

We know the evacuation carried out perhaps 6,000 Americans. Add in 8,500 SIVs, to whom we owe some degree of safety, and who will likely make better Americans than 30% of our current electorate.

Let’s further assume that some of them brought out family; let’s say it’s 25,000 as a generous guesstimate.

That means about 35% of the evacuees are the people who actually needed to get out.

That’s like the Dunkirk evacuation bringing back 50,000 British solders, 25,000 French troops, and 250,000 Belgian farmers who happened to make it to the beaches.

This, as the military left Americans behind in droves:

Text message between Michael Yon and a US Army colonel in the 82nd Airborne Division, writing from the Kabul Airport.

Saigon, Jimmy Carter, and the CIA people who botched the US Embassy in Teheran in 1979 can breathe easy; they are no longer the greatest humiliations in US history.

Hey – at least no mean tweets.

The First Domino

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

So the US got tossed out of Afghanistan, so what? How does our retreat-in-disgrace affect the rest of the world?

Maybe not so good. If the US isn’t willing or able to exercise competent military actions, the nations which have been relying on us for defense, begin to look vulnerable. They might need to arm themselves to defend themselves, or risk be conquered by rivals.

Domino theory is back and I’m wondering how many weapons and how much ammunition will be required to survive the fall of the final domino.

Joe Doakes

Japan has got to be seriously rethinking its post World War II agreements on military posture.

The Drones Of August

One of my favorite rhetorical easy hits – one I use a lot, but then it’s apposite so very very often – is “I don’t believe so and so intended to (implement some current fiasco that so and so is involved with) – but if he did intended it, what would he have done differently?”

It’s snarky, but it’s appropriate so very often.

Especially this past couple of weeks.

I’m an armchair…well, not “general”. I’m an armchair corporal. But in reading a metric poo-ton of military history, a few things seem fairly elementary:

  1. Abandoning Bagram – a highly defensible base with multiple runways and enough residual capacity to support tens of thousands of troops, to say nothing of housing thousands of refugees – in preference to running a combat evacuation out of a single runway on the edge of a hostile city? It’s a little like Churchill evacuating the Royal Navy before the Army at Dunkirk. Stupid.
  2. Purging generals and admirals (starting under Obama) that were focused on fighting, and promoting the ones who were onboard with Big Left’s social agenda? Stupid.
  3. Making the withdrawal contingent on zero conditions to be obeyed by the enemy? Stupid.
  4. Taking a pass on maybe defusing the whole thing long enough to make the evacuation at least nominally orderly, to say nothing of less of a humiliation?

Wait – what?

OK, I’ll say it – if Joe Biden and/or “his” administration were trying to humiliate the United State, isolate us from our allies, make us look completely impotent and untrustworthy, what would he be doing different?

Too conspiracy-minded? Just an accident, fomented by a senile man?

had an interesting, and ultimately intensely sobering about Afghanistan with Michael Yon on Satursay. It’s the first half of this hour.

It’s his theory that it’s actual, deliberate sabotage from within the Administration.

And if you ask yourself “Even in a Democrat administration “led” by a senescent fool and a cackling lawyer-turned-petty-authoritarian, who would be this stupid, accidentally?”, and come up with no good answers, it’s worth a thought.

Dear Hollywood

To: Hollywood
From: Mitch Berg, Irascible Peasant and Lapsed Movie-Goer
Re: Planning

Dear Moguls,

Get an option in on this story. Stat.

And don’t put some moron who cut his/her teeth writing comic book movies on the job of writing the screenplay; the story calls for someone of David Mamet’s stature and talent. Nothing less.

Don’t f*** this one up.

(NARRATOR: “Hollywood will f*** this one up”)

UPDATE: And in case anyone tries to morph some credit over to the civilian and/or military chains of command?

“This Herculean effort couldn’t have been done without the unofficial heroes inside the airfield who defied their orders to not help beyond the airport perimeter by wading into sewage canals and pulling in these targeted people who were flashing pineapples on their phones,” Mann said.

Which brings up a troubling question: if one must defy orders to do the right thing, what does that do for unit cohesion and morale? The authority of the chain of command?

Hidden in this one bit of scarce good new is a lot of really awful stuff for the future of this nation’s institutions.

Our New, New Normal

Over the past few days, there’s been an undercurrent on social media of people saying the implosion of Afghanistan, culminating [1] in yesterday’s suicide-bomb attack killing (so far) 10 Marines and close to 100 people all told was “the angriest/saddest they’ve felt since 9/11”.

For me? In some ways, it’s worse.

9/11 wasn’t a “surprise”, per se – if you’d been paying attention through the ’90s, with the USS Cole, the Khobar Towers and the first WTC Bombing, it was a natural progression. But it was enemies doing what enemies do. We were attacked – like Pearl Harbor, like the Norks crossing the 38th Parallel, it was people who hated us, doing what people who hate us say they’re going to do.

This past two weeks? That same motivation was – let’s not delve into conspiracy-land here – colossal incompetence on every level of our own government, humiliating this country. It’s basketball team doesn’t just shoot a three-pointer into their own basket, but every member of the team slamming a dunk into their own bucket, as the coach says “yep, that’s the plan – score 100 points for the other guys; then we’ll have ’em where we want ’em”, and the other team does casual free-throws when there isn’t one of our guys hanging from the rim.

They say “never chalk up to malice what can be better explained by stupidity”. But if the Biden Administration had planned from the very beginning to humiliate this nation, what would they have done differently? Make Robin DiAngelo the chair of the Joint Chiefs, and put Steven Colbert in charge of Special Operations Command?

Seeing our nation blind-sided twenty years ago was bad enough.

Seeing our nation humiliate itself? Over and over?

This is a new one for me.

This is not the nation I wanted to leave for my kids, my grandkids.

And as far as I can help it, I won’t.

[1] And when I say “culminating”, I mean “so far”. This seems to be a barrel with no bottom.

They Say…

…to never ascribe to malice what can just as easily be chalked up to stupidity.

I try to live by that advice.

But with God as my witness, sometimes it’s so, so very very hard:

U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport, a choice that’s prompted outrage behind the scenes from lawmakers and military officials… the decision to provide specific names to the Taliban, which has a history of brutally murdering Afghans who collaborated with the U.S. and other coalition forces during the conflict, has angered lawmakers and military officials.

“Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,” said one defense official, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. “It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”

If they had a plan do make not only the wrong choice at every single turn of this debacle, but surgically home in on the worst possible choices in every possible circumstance, what would our Houseplant in Chief be doing different?