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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

Iraq War – (more than) 10 years later

With Jeb Bush fumbling an easy question from Meghan Kelly and Marco Rubio doing his Jeb Bush impersonation in front of Fox New’s Chris Wallace… I thought that I would repost this. It is a basic summary of why we went to war and how each one of those assumptions was wrong. 

I will not say anything new in this post. I will not say anything that is outrageous or over the top. The Iraq War was one of the many reasons that caused me to start writing a book and to start a blog.

I think that the Bush Administration had four main reasons for going to war in Iraq. Yellowcake from Nigeraluminum tubes to concentrate uranium, mobile biological labs and the Al Qaeda (Mohamed Atta) – Saddam Hussein connection.  It is now clear that none of these lines of argument were based in fact. I will not go into any of the details of why the above claims were lies. It should be clear to everyone by now. I will point you to Hubris and 500 Days as two very good books that go into detail about what happened and why. Also check out James Risen’s book State of War.

Cost of the War in Iraq

I guess the big question concerns what we gained from the Iraq War. Some will say nothing. Others will argue that we got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was worth it. I would argue that we squandered international good will. We fanned the flames of Muslim extremism. We played into the hands of Bin Laden by invading a country that was no threat to us or our allies. I would say that we turned a very backward nation into a battleground where there seems to always be war.

By |2015-05-17T21:33:26-04:00May 17th, 2015|Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, Iraq|Comments Off on Iraq War – (more than) 10 years later
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