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Afghanistan off the Top of My Head

Afghanistan

Currently were in the middle of what could be called the largest finger-pointing, blame game, we’ve ever seen in the United States. Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other for the dramatic pictures that we are seeing out of Afghanistan. American troops are pulling out after 20 years. President Joe Biden has decided that it is time for our troops to come home. We must understand that Donald Trump had already negotiated with the Taliban and set in stone that the American troops were coming home. Of course, it was possible for Joe Biden to reverse this decision and escalate the conflict.

We’ve been in Afghanistan for more than 20 years. We spent over $2 trillion. Thousands of Americans have died. Tens of thousands of Americans have been wounded/injured. Isn’t that enough?

What went wrong? In order to answer this question, I think is important for us to go back to the beginning. We were attacked on September 11 by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda was being shielded by the Taliban in Afghanistan. We decided to go after Osama bin Laden. In December 2001, we had Osama bin Laden cornered in the Tora Bora mountains. We had the Taliban on the run. We had additional assets in the area. For some reason, as far as I know the exact reason has never been pinpointed, we did not deploy additional assets in order to capture Osama bin Laden. Osama bin Laden slipped into Pakistan. Shortly thereafter, we turned our attention to Iraq.

Killing or capturing Osama bin Laden the Tora Bora mountains would’ve ended our military involvement in Afghanistan. Our troops would have come home. There would’ve been no discussion about nationbuilding. Instead, we would’ve discussed mission accomplished.

Overall, I think that we fell into a trap. We continued to throw good money after bad. We just “knew” that another surge would fix the problem. We didn’t want our prior blood, sweat and tears to be for nothing. We didn’t want to be labelled as a quitter. We … should have come home over a decade ago. That’s the real truth. There was no “good” time. No matter when we decided to come home there were going to be problems. There was going to be the problem of a Afghan military that simply wasn’t up to the task. We entered a lose – lose situation.  This is the truth.

By |2021-08-17T11:08:41-04:00August 17th, 2021|Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, Bush Administration|0 Comments

News Roundup – Jobs, Bin Laden, Trump, Airplane Engines

New jobs report

Although the headline number for job creation was below expectations, this was still a decent report.   Some positives include more wage growth (see below), fewer part-time workers for economic reasons, fewer long-term unemployed, and a decline in U-6 (an alternative measure of underemployment).

Earlier: April Employment Report: 160,000 Jobs, 5.0% Unemployment Rate

A few numbers:  Total employment is now 5.5 million above the pre-recession peak.  Total employment is up 14.2 million from the employment recession’s low.

Private payroll employment increased 171,000 in April, while government employment declined 11,000 in April, mostly at the Federal level.  Private employment is now 5.8 million above the pre-recession peak. Private employment is up 14.6 million from the recession low.

(more…)

By |2016-05-07T13:44:09-04:00May 7th, 2016|Bin Laden, Economy, Science|Comments Off on News Roundup – Jobs, Bin Laden, Trump, Airplane Engines

Reversing the Appeal of Extremism

Great piece by Josh Marshall at TPM:

As you likely are too, I’m watching conversations unfold among friends on Facebook and in real life about the terrorist attack in San Bernardino and what the United States should be doing in response. Depending on your point of view, the argument is framed as one between American values and bigotry or political correctness and getting tough on radical Islam. Admittedly, these are extreme formulations, in each case using one side’s caricature of the other. But all of this ignores the central conundrum we face when we think about counter-terrorism, especially ones of the lone wolf variety or even more organized ones like the recent massacre in Paris.

The kinds of surveillance and scrutiny which inevitably fall on suspect populations as part of a heightened counter-terrorism posture are exactly the kinds of strictures which over time are likely to create the kind of social isolation and alienation which seems, from the evidence we have from Europe, to create a breeding ground for radicalization. So getting the balance right is very difficult. And this is entirely apart from the very legitimate and pressing discussion about what policies are American values and our constitution will or should allow. Throw all of that out the window and you’ve still got a very complex balancing act on your hands. (read the rest here)

By |2015-12-07T21:00:45-04:00December 7th, 2015|Al Qaeda, Terrorism|Comments Off on Reversing the Appeal of Extremism
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