But you cannot argue that the U.S. presence and hard work in that country has not made us safer. You cannot argue that the sacrifices and lives lost by our military members were in vain. Those service members did their job well. They, and their families, deserve our praise, respect, and support.
What they do not deserve is the lack of leadership, direction, and incompetence that led to poor, unanchored execution of the withdrawal and evacuation from that country. Our civilian leaders left our military and contractors in the lurch. Not to mention the terror our Afghan partners are now facing.
We know that diplomatic and military planners had put together many plans, contigency plans, and more plans about how to leave that country in an orderly and safe manner. We know that our intelligence experts provided accessments to the administration conveying it was very possible that the Afghan military and political apparatus could fall very quickly to the Taliban without U.S. support. Apparently those accessments and plans were downplayed and ignored, with the administration taking a more relaxed, ‘wait and see’ approach. That miscalculation has lead to chaos and disaster, as we now see in the news 24 hours a day.
You don’t need advanced degrees in political science or military planning to know that this entire process has been bungled. At it’s core, it is not that complicated. If you have some common sense and have read a little history and consumed some solid news reporting you could have seen this coming. We deserve better. Our Afghan partners deserve better.
Experience shows we cannot trust the Taliban to adhere to any negotiated agreements to which they give lip service. Independent reports coming from that country are terrifying. Having botched this up, our leaders must now do everything… EVERYTHING…they can to expidite getting our citizens and the Afghans who trusted us and helped us, safely out of the country. Now is not the time for our country’s leaders to disappear from our media. Now is the time for our leaders to be up front and center with information and transparency for the American people and the world.
There will be plenty of time for criticism and blame from a review of this ineptitude and embarrassment. Right now our leaders need to make sure the job at hand gets done.
Now is also the time for all of us who have family and friends who haved served in Afghanistan, or have lost someone in that faraway land, to reach out to them. As terrible as this situation is to all Americans, it is too close to home for those with direct ties to that war. Take the time to check on them. Be with them to help them deal with the hollowness they are undoubtedly feeling.