Yesterday, as RedState reported, the US Military executed a drone strike that reportedly blew up an ISIS “planner” in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan.
This was touted as a retaliation strike for the dual suicide bombings that occurred in Kabul, which tragically took the lives of at least 13 US servicemembers with over a dozen others still hospitalized. The terrorist attack also killed at least 170 Afghans with countless others wounded.
CENTCOM (last nite): “U.S. military forces conducted an over-the-horizon counterterror op today against an ISIS-K planner. The unmanned airstrike occurred in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. Initial indications are we killed the target. We know of no civilian casualties.”
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) August 28, 2021
I know this is the point where I’m supposed to give a fist-pump and praise Joe Biden for greenlighting a response that never should have been necessary in the first place, but color me extremely skeptical of how this is being framed. If Jen Psaki herself had written that press release, what would be different about it?
No, I’m not suggesting a strike didn’t take place. I’m sure some terrorist-supporting goat herder in a hut was blown to bits. But what I am suggesting is that there’s some serious gaslighting going on about what the strike actually means and amounts to.
Take the use of the phrase “over the horizon” in the press release. That’s been a constant refrain from Biden and his handlers over the last several weeks, and it just so happens to make an appearance here. For giggles, I went and googled the phrase to get an idea of how common its use was prior to the Biden administration’s rhetorical flooding of the zone. Not surprisingly, it was essentially unheard of prior, with every mention coming in the last two months following Biden’s July mention of the capability. That’s not to say “over the horizon” has never been used in the military lexicon, but the push to make it part of an overwhelming public narrative is very recent, and very politically motivated.
So what’s the impression you are supposed to get from that press release? Allow me to translate: Biden’s promise of over the horizon capability has been realized. He kept his word and we can strike anywhere at any time. He was right all along and pulling out hasn’t changed our ability to fight terror!
What that ignores is that you need intelligence to know where to strike, and that’s going to become almost impossible to come by in Afghanistan. Further, notice where the strike happened. Nangarhar Province is an eastern area of Afghanistan along the Pakistani border, far away from where the Taliban are primarily amassed. While we know there are thousands of ISIS fighters in and around Kabul, we chose to hit a single person in the middle of nowhere who is only described as a “planner.” Given this administration’s constant lies about the situation, I’m going to require more than that before I believe they actually did anything of consequence here.
Lastly, the throw-in that we didn’t kill any civilians also strikes me as odd and unlikely. Are we to believe this ISIS planner lived alone, in an area with no surrounding population? That would be extremely unusual given Afghan culture. In other words, it seems like a throw-in to once again give the impression of how amazingly successful the Biden administration is at conducting over the horizon strikes.
I don’t buy any of this, and neither should you. This feels like a classic CYA moment akin to Bill Clinton’s bombing of a chemical factory after Al Qaeda blew up our embassy. I don’t believe this attack did anything at all to punish ISIS or hurt their operational capabilities. Rather, I suspect this was a Taliban-provided target that gave Biden the out he needed.