Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
1. ‘Stan. I wanted to wait a week for the fog of war to clear a bit on the cut and run routine from Afghanistan. Sadly, things have only gotten worse. As it is the largest story of the week (or year or decade), might as well give it a start. We’ve done this three times since 1975, all to horrific results for those who were left. What is the singular constant of those last 45 years? Joe Biden was somewhere in the decision tree. First as a US Senator from Delaware who along with his senate majority refused to fund military support to the South Vietnamese. Second came in orchestrating the withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 as O’Bama’s VP. That withdrawal gave us ISIS. Final withdrawal is from Afghanistan which is still underway. Biden has been described as a not so bright guy who jumps to snap judgment and clings to that decision like a drowning man regardless of what may come of it. While I don’t want to join the less than intelligent brigades, I will most certainly note that Biden appears to have made up his mind in 1975 and has refused to allow reality to intrude for the subsequent 46 years. Observations on last week follow:
- First for the counterpoint. As last week ended and into the weekend, Scott Adams provided an alternate viewpoint of the debacle. The crux of the matter is how long will it take the Afghan central government to fall? When the Soviets left ‘Stan, it took three years. When the US left, it took less than a month. If you assume the central government was going to fall regardless of everything, how do you want to proceed? Do an incremental withdrawal in the middle of a civil war? Or a quick bug out, equivalent to ripping a Band-Aid off a wound? As the debacle proceeded, it appeared that all the Harris – Xiden decision makers chose to do the wrong thing, or nothing at all while everyone else worldwide knew how to do it better. Did they know something huge, hidden in plain sight, that nobody else knew? Was there a secret deal in place between Harris – Xiden and the Taliban?
- As it turns out, the answer to the questions is no, not at all. They simply screwed up in one of the largest foreign policy debacles since Bush 41-era diplomat April Glaspie all but invited Saddam into Kuwait. Proof of this is the response of the Taliban itself. Had they simply stood out of the way and allowed the US to withdraw all American civilians, they would have been given the keys to the kingdom. They chose otherwise and are busily turning the entire nation into a giant hostage situation, which will be one of their (many) undoings.
- One ancillary question from the above: Why are there so many Americans in ‘Stan? Better yet, why did they not start evacuating when Trump announced his drawdown last year?
- The quick fall of the Afghan government demonstrates yet another massive failure from the intel community including the CIA. Apparently, they spent too much time and energy cooking up grist for the democrat impeachment mill to actually concentrate on doing their assigned mission. No firings in the intel community as yet. Interestingly enough, 23 State Department employees working in Afghanistan sent a warning last July that the Afghan government would quickly fall with or shortly after a US withdrawal. That warning was as usual ignored.
- And who can forget the current SECDEF and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who apparently believe their current mission is conducting a purge of Trump voters aka “white extremists” from DoD? They also are heavily pushing BLM / CRT and the LGBTQWTF world on military members. When you spend all your time (brane cells) concentrating on the wrong stuff, there is not much left over for anything else. And there wasn’t. So far, no resignations from the upper levels of DoD. I don’t expect any.
- Now there may be an explanation for military leadership hanging on and refusing to take the honorable way out. It could be that they want to retain their offices to protect as best they can, the fighting force from the maladministration of Harris – Xiden. That excuse first showed up during the O’Bama years. Given the leftist worldview of the Trump generals, I tend to believe DoD leadership and the General Officer corps are simply that leftist and either agree with the new direction or simply like their positions, their pay and authority, Perfumed Princes, indeed.
- Among really foolish decisions made was abandoning Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night. This was the crown jewel, the largest military air base in the region, completely defensible. Someone gave an order to abandon it and the US garrison left in the middle of the night. The commander of the Afghan side didn’t figure that out for a couple hours after the US was gone. Evacuations from Bagram would go a LOT better than from Kabul International.
- In their continuing effort to purge all things Trump from the US government, Harris – Xiden officials canceled a Trump-era emergency program set up to protect and evacuate American citizens stationed overseas in the event of an emergency. Given the way Trump and his people did things like this, I do expect this would have worked at least decently. But when you have no plan at all, you end up with people grabbing onto aircraft while they take off and climb out.
- A Jack Wheeler piece over the weekend noted that the Afghan air force disappeared, and nobody knows where they went. Speculation is they are dispersed in neighboring nations. Note that when Bagram AB was shut down, the Afghan military (and the US) lost the ability to conduct close air support in country, yet another reason for the quick dissolution of the Afghan army.
- Who was behind the Taliban? Who is funding them? Supporting them? Providing logistics for them? And why? Looks like the CCP is the big backer of the Taliban, working through their mini-me’s in the Pakistani ISI and directly with the Taliban. If you think of the Taliban as the functional equivalent of Mexican drug cartels, you are close to who and what they are. Taliban make a lot of money from the heroin trade. Who is in position to put the Taliban out of business instantly? The CCP with their fentanyl production. Flood the marketplace with fentanyl and the heroin marketplace is destroyed. The why is more interesting, and it has to do with rare earth metals available in Afghanistan. The CCP continues along the road of locking up as much production as possible, giving them a monopoly position, while here in the US, Harris – Xiden are busily obstructing as much mining as possible via environmental laws.
- Final observation is more of a hindsight exercise than anything else. Would Trump have done a better job? Could he? I think the answer is an emphatic Yes! He had evacuation plan in place. He already had an arrangement with the Taliban in place, one that promised real consequences if the Taliban did anything ugly. Trump would have made a hard decision and simply told us. And if the Taliban had decided to do anything to grab and hold Americans, Trump would have treated them just like he treated ISIS, killed as many of them as he could find, and keep it up until they were all gone. Even those in Pakistan. Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda. As usual, hindsight is the only Exact Science.
2. Extremist. Fresh off their stunning success controlling the Mexican border (/sarc), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is busily redefining political opposition as a Domestic Violent Extremist or terrorist. A National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin active thru Nov 11, 2021, defines domestic terror threats as:
“… exacerbated by impacts of the ongoing global pandemic, including grievances over public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions.”
The actual DHS bulletin can be found at this link. Sundance at the Conservative Treehouse discussed it at this link. Othering continues apace. Don’t expect it to slow down any time soon.
3. Cruz. Senator Ted Cruz committed an act of unvarnished patriotism a couple weeks ago when Majority Leader Chuckie Schumer trotted out the Senate’s version of HR 1, Pelosi’s For the People Act, congressional democrats’ attempt to nationalize all state and local election laws, at 4 AM, asking for unanimous consent to pass it. Cruz was the only Senator who spoke up in opposition. This took place following 15 solid hours of amendment votes on Schumer’s hogzilla $3.5 trillion budget resolution. Chuckie knows there is no way he can get 60 votes for this monstrosity and tried to sneak it through in the dead of night, yet another reminder that nothing good happens at 3 AM (or later).
4. Taiwan. It didn’t take the CCP long after the fall of Kabul to start running their collective mouths at Taiwan, claiming that their military will quickly collapse and the US military will not come to help. They need to be very careful what they are asking for, as should they hit Taiwan with anything, the resulting response may very well be much larger and more different than they anticipate. China is surrounded by nations, most of whom hate them to varying degrees. The only difference is how much or how little that hatred goes. Miramar, Russia Pakistan and the North Koreans (a Chinese client that Trump tried to peel off) are the only ones I can think of. OTOH, they have managed to irritate everyone else, four of whom are either nuclear nations (India) or could be within weeks (Taiwan, Japan, South Korea). Taiwan also is one of the world’s most productive chip manufacturers, something the CCP tried to do and failed miserably at. Attack Taiwan, and that ability disappears completely, which will hurt the rest of the world a lot, but chip-dependent CCP military more. Finally, I suspect that the Taiwanese have most if not all of the 3,000+ families running the CCP located and targeted. Wouldn’t want to invite a decapitation strike or encourage your neighbors to arm up with nukes by letting your alligator mouth overload your hummingbird @$$. Pure speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Trump and his foreign policy team didn’t pull the same sort of anti-CCP coalition together along the Pacific Rim that they did with the Middle East via the Abraham Accords.
5. Space. Multiple space-related stories this week. As it is late, descriptions will be somewhat sparse.
- SpaceX is less than a month away from launching the first private Crew Dragon mission. This will send four private citizens into orbit for three days. This is a very big, very exciting deal.
- While they are doing this, Boeing’s Starliner is pad-bound for the foreseeable future with stuck valves. So far, 9 of 13 problematic valves have been repaired. I am prompted to echo Vince Lombardi’s question: “Can’t anybody here play this game?” For some reason, Boeing which used to, can’t, at least today.
- Not to be left behind, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is pursuing a lawsuit against NASA for picking SpaceX version of a lunar lander. This lawsuit will continue to delay the NASA attempt to put Americans back on the moon in 2024. It’s one thing to talk a good game. It’s entirely something else to play one. And in Bezos’ world, when you can’t play, apparently you take your opponent to court.
- Final story took place last month when the Russian space agency delivered a new module to the International Space Station (ISS). Upon docking, the module thrusters fired and kept firing, rotating the entire station at least one and a half turns before they could figure out how to turn them off. Well done (/sarc) on the module. Well done (for real) in recovering from the problem.
More later –