“Time Is Of The Essence” /spit

This one is simple: people are (with good justification and for good reason) upset that the US is abandoning its Afghan allies, and (with good justification and for good reason) expect them to be torture-slaughtered as soon as the US military is no longer there to protect them.

It’s not as though that particular scenario hasn’t played itself out in Vietnam, Iraq, etc., before. I do not say this approvingly, but, “what exactly else the fuck did you expect?” When someone decides to align themselves with an occupying power, whether it’s the US, or Rome (see what happened to Camulodunum) or Nazi-occupied France, pay-backs are on the menu once the occupier leaves. I’m not blaming the victim, but anyone who decided to align with the US puppet government ought to have expected this: “The last helicopter out of Saigon scenario.”

But, when there’s a bunch of people leaving someplace, one of the helicopters (or whatever) has to be the last one. There is always a “last one” and it makes me wonder why those people standing in line didn’t see the US failure in Vietnam about 2 years before that evacuation, and quietly leave when it was more convenient. It doesn’t require a gift of prescience to see that the US was going to lose – it loses every insurgency it gets into except the ones where the Native Americans, trapped within its continental boundaries, had no logistical life-line – it was foolish to expect anything else. The war in Afghanistan was over when Bin Laden (who was only there as a not-exactly-invited guest) escaped into Pakistan during the fumbled attempt to nab him in Tora Bora – he literally walked out right past America’s finest special forces; Afghanistan’s terrain is like that. [Remember when Rumsfeld was talking about Secret Mountain Cave Fortresses like something out of Marvel Comic Books? What a visionary. What a jackass.]

It is exceptional foolishness that the jackasses in Washington are pretending that they have only just now realized that their followers are going to be slaughtered. Around about the time when everyone realized that the US was losing (around 2005?) the US should have been making plans for how to wind down their efforts, and how to protect their followers – or, failing that, to warn them “now would be a good time for you to start leaving” 15 years ago. And now the jackasses in Washington expect us non-jackasses to imagine that we’ve only just now realized it’s a problem? I get pissed off at the realization that that’s how stupid they think I am.

Washington’s failure to plan effectively does not an emergency make. It just reveals not incompetence, but the fact that they never gave a shit and never will.


  1. Allison says

    why those people standing in line didn’t see the US failure in Vietnam about 2 years before that evacuation, and quietly leave when it was more convenient.

    The question — in Viet Nam and in Afghanistan — is: leave to where? And how? The USA is not known for encouraging non-European people to move to the USA. Emigrating is hard and expensive, and would probably require connections with people in the destination country. And as long as the USA is saying they’re going to stay and win, they are not going to make arrangements to make it easier, due to the optics. And when they finally pull out, there will only be room for a few refugees, mostly the rich and prominent ones.

    As for the USA side of things, the only reason they ever talked about the fate of the people who worked for them was as an excuse to keep the war going. They’re not Americans, they’re not even white, so who cares?

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    I get pissed off at the realization that that’s how stupid they think I am.

    They do not intend those statements for you.

    They aim those statements at network news anchors, whose intelligence lies beyond the reach of insult.

    Allison @ # 1: They’re not Americans, they’re not even white, so who cares?

    Any intelligently-run empire includes a batch of collaborators in its exit plans, not least to keep up the morale of those in the other colonies: thus, the British imported a set of Indians and Pakistanis, the French some Algerians, etc. The US did the same (vide Cuba, Vietnam), up until the Busheviks preferred to defer to Islamophobes & other bigots.

  3. JM says

    The fundamental problem with this sort of situation is that it’s too easy to kick the can down the road and let somebody else deal with it. Trump was so disinterested and uncaring about international affairs that he was willing to just order a pull out and just ignore how many people it hurt or how much it messed up the reputation of the US.
    I think you underestimate the people working with the US. At the start anyways a lot took a once in a lifetime chance to throw the Taliban out of power. Occupations don’t always fail. The occupation of Japan and Germany both created friendly states from actively hostile ones.
    What the people in Afghanistan didn’t understand, and you can’t really blame them, is that the occupation was never intended to work. The plan was to smash the hostile Taliban, declare victory and then fine a good moment to leave. Nation building was never really on the menu.

  4. says

    ^I have met several Iraqi immigrants who got here by way of collaborating with the US military, so even with that islamophobia shit going on, some people got in under the wire.

  5. lorn says

    By definition if you don’t plan to staying permanently, as in annexation, you will be leaving. Sooner or later. I suppose there might be cultures that simply can’t or won’t hold a grudge over being invaded indefinitely. None come immediately to mind but I suppose. Unfortunately, while there may be forgetful and forgiving cultures neither Vietnam nor Afghanistan, with histories of resisting invaders for almost a thousand years, qualify.

    As the man noted ‘Westerners have all the watches and we have all the time’. Knowing that we will, eventually, leave all the Taliban needs to do is survive well enough to remain viable.

    The Romans were pretty good at this sort of thing. They simply killed any who showed any signs of resistance. Punitive action were so effective that non-Romans would guard Roman properties and troops because they knew any Roman casualties would result in mass executions of the uninvolved population. Combined with annexation and colonization, and the profoundly positive benefits of being under Roman rule, infant mortality and disease rates plummeted, organized resistance tended to fold in a century or two. There were exceptions.

    Beware nostalgia. Genocide and mass murder of civilians have, justifiably, become less popular. That, and we seem to offer little in up-side. Although I’m willing to try. If the Taliban will agree to play nice I’ll give them Trump. For a few dollars more I won’t give him a parachute when we kick him off the airplane.

    Perhaps Alexander The Great came closest to a solution. His army interbred with locals and set up long-term housekeeping. No, Greeks didn’t conquer Afghanistan. At least not for long. That said they had a large influence and the changes inflicted survive in the form of independent tribes to this day.

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