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Lies, Incompetence, and Betrayal

Americans are genuinely surprised that the Taliban conquered Afghanistan in six weeks. Perhaps that is because they believed the stream of evasion emanating from the government for an entire generation that the war against the Taliban had been won (or close to it) and the U.S. was simply taking its time leaving the country.

It would be easy to blame Joe Biden for condemning thirty-eight million Afghanis to a tyrannical future under Sharia law enforced by genocidal maniacs, but Biden simply played the last move that remained on the board. The game was started four presidents ago and each of them played moves toward the disastrous endgame for which Biden will take the blame.

Biden did not rise above his circumstances, but what more could be expected from a career back-bench politician who won his first Congressional election while Richard Nixon was breaking in to the Watergate Hotel? And if you think things would have been different for Trump, recall he started the withdrawal and that he was trying to make peace with the Taliban! That is like trying to make peace with Nazis.

The war against the Taliban was lost during the Bush administration. Barack Obama campaigned on ending the war in Afghanistan, but nine months into his administration he sent an additional 30,000 troopers– obviously, the war was not even close to being won.

Prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the justification for which remains a point of debate, the Taliban virtually eliminated the opium trade. However, two years into the war, the Taliban became poppy farmers to fund their operations against the United States.

By 2017, the Taliban had recovered as much as 70% of their pre-war territory and Afghanistan was shipping more than 9,000 metric tons of opium per year – it is the number one line item on their GDP!

This is not just a failure of the current president; it is a failure of America’s disastrous nearly century-old intervention policies where we promise to make things better and then make them worse.

We promised the Afghanis that we would vanquish the Taliban. After twenty years of failure, we took our ball and went home and then blamed the locals for not defending themselves.

The outcome for Afghanistan is not different than if we had not intervened (except for the thousands of Afghans who will be tortured and murdered for aiding the U.S.), but it is different for the 3,577 service members who died, the tens of thousands of wounded, maimed, and psychologically damaged, and the thousands who have taken their own lives after believing the government’s spin that their sacrifice would make a difference.