Every morning, it seems that we learn about another fresh defeat in Afghanistan. The most infamous unplanned withdrawal from a country successfully conquered by the United States in the War on Terror — and then returned to the terrorists! — was going so badly that it seemed more like a comedy skit wrapped in a nightmare. Each day, the Biden Administration seemed to ask itself: what’s the dumbest thing we can possibly do over there? And then they did it. We abandoned the airport first, and then called an evacuation! We left behind $84 billion worth of military-grade weapons for the Taliban! We flew home 100,000 bacha bazi enthusiasts but abandoned our own citizens there! This week’s debacle was so absurd that it was almost diabolical: our very own State Department was busy blocking Americans from evacuating that hell-hole on private flights they had chartered themselves.
How could anyone keep up with all the defeats and debacles and dark jokes that were on us? It was only last week that we discovered that half the population of Afghanistan was pretending to be enlisted in the Afghan Army to be on the CIA payroll. (That particular joke lasted twenty years.) Our military leaders had been reassuring the Biden Administration that Afghanistan’s security forces would hold off the Taliban for awhile if we finally left the country and then —poof! — they all quit over the weekend once the Taliban called. A day or two later, they all showed up together at the Kabul airport pretending to be interpreters in order to get airlifted to America.
If this account of the war seems too glib, you will have to forgive me. I’m not a military strategist or ex-veteran so I have no particular insight into the fall of Afghanistan. But then neither does the Pentagon apparently. My thoughts on the subject are not particularly better than the Joint Chiefs of Staff but neither are they necessarily worse. I’m just an amateur — but these days aren’t we all?