The Idiocy of the 'Stay in Afghanistan' Crowd Gets Illustrated Perfectly

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

As RedState reported yesterday, things in Afghanistan are deteriorating rapidly. In what the Biden administration has described as stunning, the Taliban have launched a major offensive, reclaiming nearly a dozen provisional governments in just a few weeks’ time.

Afghan government soldiers are inexplicably surrendering in large numbers, American materials (including drones) are being captured, and people are being slaughtered.

So who screwed up here? While you can certainly and rightly point to the political leadership of the last two decades, there’s one group that constantly avoids scrutiny, yet they shoulder as much blame as anyone — our military leadership.

Let’s take some of the arguments from the “stay in Afghanistan” crowd as an example of this obfuscation.

Notice that the blame is being placed on the withdrawal without even a hint of scrutiny of why the withdrawal is going badly. This is why these people are no longer taken seriously by the vast majority of Americans and support for the war has cratered. Instead of making a salient argument and speaking out when there was still time to fix this (as in over the last 10 years), they chose to mumble “fight them over there” over and over, never offering even the slightest criticism of the military leadership that was clearly failing.

It is asinine to blame the withdrawal in a singular context without asking why the Afghan military was not ready, after 20 years and $88 billion of investment, to fight off 75,000 goat herders with rusty AK47s. If the Afghan military wasn’t ready by now, they were never going to be ready. That is the failure that should be shouted from the rooftops, not the withdrawal itself.

And there needs to be accountability for that. Instead, we have Gen. Mark Milley, who has long been involved in this failure, worrying more about pushing CRT and LGBTQ recruiting campaigns than actually winning wars and planning a successful pull-out.

While the Taliban were amassing their forces and getting ready to retake the country the last year, we were fighting over transgender surgeries for soldiers. And I’m supposed to be surprised that this disaster is now happening in Afghanistan?

This has always been my issue with the Liz Cheneys of the world. I am not an isolationist. I’m perfectly supportive of using the American military to bust heads in the pursuit of our interests. But when our military leadership is not held accountable for anything and those most supportive of these foreign conflicts make excuses like “well, we just needed to stay another 10 years,” I lose all faith in continued operations.

Think about how much more persuasive Cheney and others would have been over the last decade in rallying support had they spoken out directly against the failures of our military general class, demanded changes, and had a better argument than calling people unpatriotic for not wanting the war to last forever. What if they had chided and fought against the rampant corruption that was occurring instead of writing blank check after blank check? Further, and most importantly, doing those things might have actually led to some semblance of victory.

The default position of the Pentagon and our military leadership at large should not be perpetuating endless war. Rather, it should be winning wars. There is no excuse for the intelligence and operational failure that we are now seeing play out, and the idea that these generals just needed more time doesn’t even begin to pass muster.

Enough with the foolhardy notion that those in military leadership are above reproach. After Vietnam, there was a real reckoning within the ranks for what transpired. That needs to happen again, but instead of pushing for it to occur, those in the “stay in Afghanistan” crowd are simply playing their greatest hits. No one is buying it.