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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

Jeb Bush fumbles and stumbles his way through the week

Someone please explain this to me… Jeb Bush? What the hell?

Jeb Bush is a career politician. He has been planning on running for president for years, if not decades. He has been studying. He has advisers. He knew he was going to get the question about Iraq. This was a no-brainer. This was an easy softball down the middle of the plate from someone who throws nothing but softballs to conservatives – Megan Kelly.

I don’t believe for one minute that he misheard the question. But let’s go with that. Let’s assume that Jeb Bush misheard Megan Kelly’s question. Remember, the question was whether he would have gone into Iraq knowing what we know now. So, Jeb Bush calls into Sean Hannity’s radio show the next day. This is another friendly environment. No reason to be nervous. There’s no reason for the misspeak. As a matter fact, because this is radio show, you could have a script in front of you and read from it. Sean Hannity gives him the benefit of the doubt and asks him the exact same question again. Jeb Bush’s brain dead answer, “I don’t know what that decision would’ve been. That’s a hypothetical.”

This has little or nothing to do with the legacy of George W. Bush. Instead, this was a hypothetical question which anyone running for president should’ve anticipated. What Jeb Bush did was worse than fumble the ball. He basically got nervous and messed in his pants – multiple times. The only answer to the Iraq question has to be no. I would not have ordered the invasion. Then you can put whatever spin you want on that answer. Why? We now know every single premise that was put forth to go into Iraq was wrong. We know they were all wrong. Iraq was not developing nuclear weapons. We know that the aluminum tubes were not to be used for centrifuges, but instead were going to be used for missiles. Iraq had but was not currently developing chemical weapons. We also know that Iraq was not working with Al Qaeda. The three premises for the war were wrong. We know that now in 2015. We have the clarity of 20/20 hindsight.

I don’t blame Jeb Bush or any politician for an on the spot error. When you’re in these television or radio interviews, some of the questions can come out of left field. Yet, this was not a question from left field. This was a question that he should have planned for and he should have had a pat answer ready. Even if you give him the benefit of doubt that he screwed up on Fox News with Megan Kelly, what’s the excuse for calling in to Sean Hannity’s show only to do the equivalent of Roberto Durrant’s, “No Mas” (in the title fight versus Sugar Ray Leonard) and then cop out and say it was hypothetical? Of course it’s a hypothetical question.

Here’s how many thoughtful conservative should’ve answered that question – Megan, of course, this is a hypothetical question in which we can use our perfect 20/20 hindsight. We now know there were no weapons of mass destruction. We know there was no meeting in Prague. We know that the aluminum tubes were going to be used for missiles and not centrifuges. We know that there were no mobile chemical weapon stations. Therefore, there was no reason to invade Iraq. Using our perfect vision, we should have continued the UN inspections and expanded the no-fly zones in both northern and southern Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a wildcard. We needed to keep him boxed in.

The good news for Jeb Bush is that he fumbled the ball very early in this campaign. The bad news is no one is going to let him forget it.

By |2015-05-15T19:26:22-04:00May 15th, 2015|Bush Administration, Iraq, Party Politics|Comments Off on Jeb Bush fumbles and stumbles his way through the week

Obama Derangement Syndrome: Iranian Episode

uranium nuclear

If you haven’t noticed, our country has split up into two separate tribesIdiots and Morons. Each tribe has approximately 30-40% of the population. (There’s a separate group that doesn’t belong either tribe that seems to always keep its head stuck firmly in the sand. I really won’t cover or discuss the Independents.) The great thing about this tribal system is that you can take any subject, any subject, and within a few seconds you know where another American stands on every issue because we all root for our tribe. If an American is against abortion, that must mean they don’t believe in climate change… Because that’s the way our tribes work. This tribalism is so sad and so stupid. This brings us to Iran.

One of the stupidest and craziest things about our tribalism is that we are against things without even thinking about it. The best example is an Iranian nuclear deal. Let’s review – during the Bush Administration, for multiple different reasons, we decided that we were not going to directly negotiate with Iran. During the Bush Administration, Iran had somewhere around 200-300 centrifuges. During nuclear negotiations in which we never specifically took part, because at the time we didn’t talk to our enemies, we took the stance that Iran could not have one centrifuge. To us, at the time, this was a nonnegotiable position. So, Iran took the position that we were being unreasonable and continued to acquire centrifuges and nuclear materia. Now, it is widely believed that Iran has over 18,000 centrifuges. (Read more about uranium enrichment.) So, what to do?

Really, and practically, there are three options. First, we can continue on the path set out by George W. Bush. We can continue to try not to negotiate with Iran. We could let the other members of the UN Security Council try to hammer out a deal that we are not part of. (Read the Iranian nuclear timeline.)

The other thing we can do is to take the posture that this is a national security issue. Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is a direct national threat to the United States and our allies under the Bush doctrine. We could and should launch a preemptive military strike to degrade or destroy Iran’s capabilities to develop a nuclear weapon.

The final option is to try to figure out a way to negotiate a settlement in which Iran gives up the ability to make a nuclear weapon in some verifiable manner. On one hand, we get unfettered access to inspect Iran to make sure that it is meeting whatever criteria we agree upon. On the other hand, if Iran complies with these inspections, we began to ease sanctions and we began to invite Iran back into the international community.

If you’re not from one of the tribes, when you sit back and look at your three options, you really only have one option. The first option has been tried and has failed. So I think we can all agree that doing nothing and not negotiating with our “enemies” is clearly the wrong way to go about things. In my opinion, the second option needs to stay on the table, but is not something I think we need to implement now. Instead, we should wait. We should wait until the third option doesn’t work. To me this is the only course of action to make sense. Also, I might add that inspections worked in Iraq. We have irrefutable evidence that inspections did work.

What are your thoughts?

By |2015-03-30T22:28:32-04:00March 30th, 2015|Bush Administration, Iran, Obama administration|Comments Off on Obama Derangement Syndrome: Iranian Episode
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