Let’s Be Honest About Afghanistan - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Let’s Be Honest About Afghanistan
President Trump with troops at Bagram Air Base on Thanksgiving Day in 2019. (Wikimedia Commons/ Executive Office of the President of the United States)

If we are honest, Afghanistan never was going to end well. That does not mean it had to end as an American Tire Fire the way Biden cataclysmically has perpetrated on our national standing. But this had “MESS” written all over it from day one.

On one hand, we had no choice but to obliterate the place. They had given Bin Laden a free hand to organize and operate al-Qaida and perpetrate 9/11. If we had been able to walk in, pick him up at a mutually arranged drop-off point, and leave with him in custody, that would have been more elegant. But we were dealing with the Taliban, themselves a Maniacal Medieval Muslim Mafia of Megalomaniac Madmen. So we had to bomb Bin Laden’s mountain fortress into smithereens even though no one in America really knew why we were flattening a favored honeymoon spot in Tahiti. The reason was that Bin Laden’s madmen were ensconced in Tora Bora, not Bora Bora.

In an America where barely one in a hundred — if that many — knows who his or her Congressional representative is, not one in a thousand has a clue about the difference between Tora Bora, Bora Bora, and Indeed, that should have been the first clue this was going to end badly.

No army and no person can go into a fight without an exit plan. This is true in civil litigation, and it is true in war. We fought the British in 1776 for our liberty, and the exit plan then was death. Those who signed the Declaration of Independence knew they were going to hang if we lost. The South fought the Civil War, knowing it was all on the line. Same with the North. In the war against Hitler and the Japanese emperor, Harry Truman ultimately was persuaded to drop those bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because there was no other way out. That was the eventual exit plan. We had determined that the alternative, a ground invasion to take Japan, would cost too many American lives. So we nuked them instead.

America’s wars since then — wars like Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq — have been different. We were and are so much more powerful than our adversaries that we need to understand that, if we do not intend to nuke them off the planet, we have to think long and hard about how else we will get out after we go in. The planning complexity is identical to my first marriage, when I had to visit certain in-laws. Before I left the house, I had to have a plan to leave. Indeed, that is what a pre-nup is: before going in, there must be a considered plan to get out without losing home and helicopter.

We Americans were able to extricate from Germany and Japan after World War II for three reasons:

  1. First, we obliterated them. We leveled Dresden and Berlin and other Hitlerian cities, and we leveled Japan.
  2. Second, because we so utterly wiped out their governments, we created a vacuum that empowered us to turn them into freedom-identifying pro-West democracies.
  3. The third reason we so effectively left is that — guess what? — we never did. Sonovogun, we still are there, 76 years later. We still have more than 40,000 American soldiers stationed in Germany in twenty military bases. We aren’t there for the beer and strudel. Let that sink in. The size of that presence is comparable to the populations of whole American cities like Burlington, Vermont; Salem, Massachusetts; Binghamton, New York; and Olympia, Washington. Likewise, we have approximately 50,000 military personnel based all over Japan. They aren’t there for the sushi. Just between us girls, we are there because we still don’t trust the Germans.

That is the price of being a world superpower trying to protect freedom at home. It’s like what happened to Kate Steinle in San Francisco: if we do not keep illegal immigrants out and under control, then one of them will murder her at Pier 14 in the Embarcadero. Similarly, we still pay for 100,000 Americans in uniform to remain behind in Germany and Japan 76 years after V-R and V-J Days because we are not taking any more chances with two cultures that have had too many eruptions these past thousand years of seeking world domination. If you ever have played “Risk,” the Parker Brothers board game, you know that is why you leave armies behind on those territories and on Kamchatka.

Yes, the enduring American military presence there is more multi-purposed than just deterring Germany and Japan from starting another round of conquering the globe. Our soldiers in Germany are part of a NATO component, and their presence helps keep the Soviet Union from expanding Stalinist communism westward into Europe. Only there is no more USSR. Heck, the Berlin Wall has been torn down. But we still are there. Why? To protect Germany from Putin? Even as Germany decides of its own volition to pay Putin for access to his oil?

Likewise, we are in Japan to be an on-site presence that deters the Chinese Communists from attacking Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. That is why we have 50,000 military personnel there along with 40,000 of their family. That’s the population of cities like Danbury, Connecticut; and Gary, Indiana.

So, after 9/11, we had to grasp from the outset that, if we are going into Afghanistan to extricate Bin Laden from Tora Bora, and if that will require us to drive the whole Taliban into Schmora Schmora, we need on the drawing table a clear idea of what happens next after he is gone. Anyone sensible would have realized that we just are not going to see fruits of joy if, while there, we stay 20 years thinking we can turn those anachronistically antediluvian Islamists’ country into Bora Bora.

Believe it or not, many societies in the world hate our Western model. They don’t want our freedoms; they prefer dictatorship. They don’t like free enterprise; they prefer government control in the form of socialism or religious fundamentalism. They see our excesses — pornography, lewdness and immorality in our movies and television platforms, freely elected idiots holding high office, politicians gunning for each other and not working towards a common national purpose — and they prefer what they have: a cruel and severe strongman keeping the place quiet, a strict religious order, ostracizing any who express homosexual or non-binary sexual feelings, and a government guaranteed one-bedroom apartment for their family of 12. As Bernie Sanders, a communist, once said very sincerely: breadlines are a good thing. They like it that way. They don’t want a choice among whole wheat bread, low-gluten bread, 21-grain bread, Ezekiel bread, Jeremiah bread, Isaiah bread, ten types of bagels, bialys, matzo, shmurah matzo, rolls, pumpernickel, sourdough bread, tortillas, and lavash. They just want a piece of pita, a plate of hummus — and not avocado hummus, red pepper hummus, spinach-artichoke hummus, pine nut hummus, or chocolate hummus. They just want to pray and genuflect to Allah five times daily, keep women in their places cooking their husbands’ burekas while themselves dressing behind thick burqas — a look that Boris Johnson described as dressing like a mail box — and to keep away from dhimmis like Christians and Jews.

They like it that way. As I have written, the Jews are society’s “canary in the coal mine.” See where Jews stand, and you see what comes next for everyone else. Do you know how many Jews there were in Afghanistan when we entered twenty years ago to instigate regime change? No? OK, I’ll tell you: the whole country of 35-40 million had a grand total of two Jews. All the others had fled. And the only two Jews left in that entire dirt hole hated each other. Finally, one died. There is now one Jew, Zebulon Simentov, left in Afghanistan. When a country of 40 million has two Jews, anyone entering the place needs to come in with an exit plan.

So, if this thing never was going to end well, why blame Biden? Would it not have been just as bad if we had exited under Trump?

Of course not. First, we had only 2,500 soldiers left there, and they were holding the fort. None had been killed there in over a year. For comparison, we still have 5,000 in Bahrain and 13,000 in Kuwait. Not to mention Germany and Japan. Yes, Trump had announced a pull-out date, and Trump always seemed to be out of control and impulsive. But it was an interesting thing about President Trump: whether he did it on purpose as a contemplated strategy or what, four years of him in the White House revealed a fascinating type of guy who would blurt out stuff with bombast, make impulsive half-baked comments and announcements — but never acted impulsively without consulting and deferring to experts. He said he was pulling out of Syria, but his advisors slowed that down. He was going to push for full funding for The Wall in his first budget reconciliation bill, and he let Paul Ryan talk him out of it. He rode down the escalator and said he would throw out all the Illegals, but actually he did not. He threatened NATO, but he stayed loyal within NATO and, along the way, got the European cheapskate penny-pinchers to start paying their bills. He threatened the Korean Dough Boy that his bombs are stronger, but he never pushed the button.

In the end, Trump built The Wall methodically, finding money creatively and legally. He imposed tariffs very cogently and thoughtfully, angering the classic free-trade capitalists who warned he would set off an international trade war as did the 1930 Hawley-Smoot (aka Smoot-Hawley) Tariff, but time has proven his brilliance. Whether Trump was “crazy like a fox” (my opinion) or just stumbled and bumbled into one great result after another, he continually got it right because, after bombast and bellow, he almost always took advice on policy. Where he did not — as with unscripted telephone calls — he got in trouble, but never on policy. Ultimately, he destroyed Qassem Soleimani, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and ISIS. He moved America’s Israel embassy to Jerusalem, recognized united Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, recognized Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and in Judea and Samaria — and the region was quiet. No sooner had he left than Hamas started a war. The record now demonstrates that Trump knew what he was doing, despite often sounding like he was bloviating from the top of his head. Thus it would have been with Afghanistan.

Biden, by contrast, has always gotten it wrong for 50 years. He just has. He has a public record of fifty years of voting wrong, predicting wrong, and acting wrong. They can teach a historically falsified 1619 Project curriculum and Critical Race Theory to our little kids in America’s schools and brainwash them all by rewriting history and convincing our future generation that our truly race-blind society is steeped in systemic racism, but facts can be suppressed only for so long. Fifty years of facts reveal that Biden is not qualified to lead, never was qualified to lead, and never will be qualified to lead, even if a medication is discovered that can restore his cognition.

It would not have unfolded this way under Trump even if Trump had made blustering pronouncements that we will evacuate in 24 hours. After blustering, he would have sat quietly with the advisors whom he told us publicly he never consults, and he would have measured carefully and acted prudently. The Left and the RINO Never-Trumpers all predicted he would drop nuclear bombs; he never did. We would not now be watching this unbelievable travesty unfolding even more horribly than the “Miss Saigon” extrication from Vietnam. People are falling from the sky after holding onto the outer parts of departing evacuation airplanes like hobos hitching on cargo trains. We cannot evacuate rapidly enough. We had no plan. Biden was in over his head. Alongside him, as vice president, Kamala Harris brings absolutely nothing to the table. She is no Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Walter Mondale, VP George Bush, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, or even VP Biden. She is as unprepared and unqualified a vice president as our country ever has had, a virtual nonentity whose rise to the top from underneath has been chronicled enough times. So it is not merely that the country’s leaders are asleep at the wheel. Rather, no one is at the wheel. It is a Warner Brothers cartoon.

Our military leaders are more concerned about whether we provide our servicemen with government-funded sex-change surgeries to cut off their male organs at taxpayers’ expenses, and whether we imbue our men and women in the armed forces with sensitivity training, than with such mundane things as to how best to extricate from an Afghan quagmire that never was going to end well.

Did many of our heroic soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan die in vain? This is a very hard question to answer fully truthfully. If we can be brutally honest, many did die in vain. But their lives still can become sacrifices of value if, from these quagmires, we Americans internalize, for once and for all, that we have no business trying to turn Arab Muslim societies into freedom-loving Judeo-Christian polities, and we cannot hope to achieve fundamental military mission goals unless we go in with a determined agenda to win, to fight with all our tools and without mercy, and to get out even though we may be leaving behind a mess as we did in Germany and Japan. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. The Taliban enabled al-Qaida to take down the Twin Towers. They drew first blood. We owe no apologies for any response we choose. That still does not mean we should nuke. But it does mean that we have to understand that, if nukes and napalm and other terrible weapons of mass destruction and anti-human horror are off the table, we need to plan accordingly, to be severe, and to get out fast. Let them find the cleaning services.

Trump would have blustered and bloviated, the way he did for psychological impact, but then would have extricated methodically as far as his generals would have advised. Biden has left behind a mess, and he is at that stage in his life where he blissfully is unaware of what he has wrought.

Finally, how should we Americans personally feel about the situation we are leaving behind? The realization that our departure means that women who finally tasted some freedom and equality soon will be back in burqas, walking with food baskets on their heads 10 paces behind their turbaned men?

Honestly, for those who missed Sensitivity Class, we should care about them with all the same passion that they care about us. We should care about them the same way that every American, including Ocasio and Omar and Tlaib, cares about such women and others in North Korea and Somalia and Yemen. We would should rather see 50,000 American soldiers stationed in Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis, and Detroit while Schumer and Pelosi set aside their kente Kenya scarves and wrap themselves in Afghans.

Dov Fischer
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Rabbi Dov Fischer, Esq., is Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values (comprising over 2,000 Orthodox rabbis), was adjunct professor of law at two prominent Southern California law schools for nearly 20 years, and is Rabbi of Young Israel of Orange County, California. He was Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and clerked for the Hon. Danny J. Boggs in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before practicing complex civil litigation for a decade at three of America’s most prominent law firms: Jones Day, Akin Gump, and Baker & Hostetler. He likewise has held leadership roles in several national Jewish organizations, including Zionist Organization of America, Rabbinical Council of America, and regional boards of the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation. His writings have appeared in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Federalist, National Review, the Jerusalem Post, and Israel Hayom. A winner of an American Jurisprudence Award in Professional Legal Ethics, Rabbi Fischer also is the author of two books, including General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine, which covered the Israeli General’s 1980s landmark libel suit. Other writings are collected at www.rabbidov.com.
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