August 21, 2021

MY LATEST CREATORS SYNDICATE COLUMN: Biden’s Afghanistan Disaster Didn’t Have To Happen. I wrote it Tuesday. StrategyPage had it up very early Wednesday, so I linked to it. Glenn bumped it yesterday. Powerline also linked to it (thanks guys). As time passes it becomes crystal clear the last sentences are tragically accurate: “There was time. Incompetent, arrogant and oblivious White House leadership compounded by obscenely bad interagency planning created the horror we witness and the slaughter to be.” Time for what? A systematic and coordinated (with allies) withdrawal of deserving Afghan civilians, U.S. equipment and U.S. military personnel The column also briefly discusses the planning time line for a Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO) for an area as large as Afghanistan. And it deplores the abandonment of Bagram.

RELATED: A photo from 2012 of a USAF C-17 taxiing at Bagram Airfield. Good picture. Bagram was/is an impressive facility. If we’re serious about evacuating 80,000 people we need to regain control. I visited Bagram twice, the first time in 2005 the second in 2007. During the 2005 trip I spent three or four days there, in my foreign correspondent embed role. One day during the stint I accompanied a U.S. Army MP platoon on a motor patrol. The patrol’s purpose was “presence” –check out routes for signs of suspicious activity and meet and greet the locals. In at least two small villages the platoon leader and the interpreter spoke with local leaders. Just remembered this: the medic on the patrol checked out a sick child. All told the patrol took maybe six hours. The interpreter was outstanding and unusual: an Afghan who was a naturalized U.S. citizen. He’d been living in California for 30 years and if I recall correctly, owned a chemical engineering firm. He told me he was a wealthy man and could be home in California. But the Afghan people deserved better and now (2005) they have a chance. He didn’t need to expand on a chance for what. I knew what he meant.

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