Brilliant and heartbreaking. We are again at the mercy of a reality created by the hubris of old white male leadership.

That hubris was founded in our limitless faith in firepower and military capabilities as realized in wargames, games being the operative word.

I am as frustrated with the decision-making of our institutional leaders as any white insurrectionist.

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"In essence, Khalilzad is asking the Taliban not to win the war."

'Could you fellows hang about a bit, you're going to upset our cricket game.'

"Nothing is inevitable. But it’s important to be clear about what an outright Taliban victory will mean:"

Given that the US was effectively funding the Taliban's silent takeover/rotting out of the occupation forces, I'd imagine their forces are in excellent shape at this point. Better funded and better equipped than they ever were before the war or even during it. Inevitable seems a fairly accurate description.

"It’s easier to wish-cast about glorious wars that might have been than to cope with the fact that America’s works were an avoidable disaster that built nothing enduring except human suffering."

I don't think it was an avoidable disaster - if you're about as far away from the US as you can get, fighting in a area surrounded by powers that are stern opponents of the US, fighting in an area that nobody has ever really controlled except via truly brutal methods, fighting in an area that nobody wants and where literally everywhere else in the world is more strategically important to the US, you're going to lose. That's just how that's going to go. (I mean, we could've tried fighting in Kazakhstan. That might have gone worse.)

"The thing is that the United States didn’t build any of that for the Afghan people. It built it for itself, so as to have a reliable client in Southwest Asia between Iran and Pakistan. "

I don't we built that much of that - I heard someone wondering where that 3.3 trillion for the war went, and I'd say two/thirds were extracted for America military contractors and the other 1/3 went to corrupt official Afghanis and the Taliban. We upgraded the old Soviet military bases, so there's that.

I'm still trying to figure out how 'building a reliable client state in Southwest Asia' differs from trying to figure skate on the surface of the sun.

"There is simply no substitute for ending a war and paying the debts that American policymakers did not understand themselves to be accruing. They were accrued regardless."

Yes. That said, if we didn't take the folks from Hong Kong, dunno why we'd take the folks from Afghanistan.

20 years of talking about this, Spencer, and I've had no reason whatsoever to change what I thought (and said) about this escapade. I mean, they have had to work really hard to sustain this level of lunacy in the discourse.


hilarious it's the reagan they're using for offshore airstrikes

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