The U.S. exits Afghanistan like a Flash(-bang grenade)
Two decades and countless lives lost to a war which went no where. The United States evacuation of Afghanistan ended with a whimper instead of a roar. Like Iraq, Viet Nam, and arguably Korea, we continue to thrust ourselves across different parts of the world stage only to demonstrate how misguided, ineffective and impotent our original vision really was.
Afghanistan has proved itself in the past to be unconquerable time and time again. We need only look to the Soviet Union’s attempt two decades earlier in 1979. Hubris-be-damned, though, American inserts itself where it pleases and assumes everything will work out in the end. Let’s look, though, at how the very end played out.
Ample time existed for President Biden coordinate a smoother wind-down. It never would’ve gone 100% according to plan, of course, but at least in retrospect we’d all feel like a plan had been conceived of… this felt more like the Chiefs of Staffs defined their strategy using Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey.
Listing any real or long-lasting accomplishments after being embroiled in the Middle East for 20 years would be a daunting and dismal task, indeed. This is a war which lasted so long, we’d been deploying soldiers for years who hadn’t even been born when the war began. Think about that…
In the end, the “most powerful nation in the world” crept out of the country with its tail between its legs, begging the Taliban not to take more advantage of the chaos and confusion being created in its wake. It was only by the grace of the Taliban that so many Americans were eventually evacuated. Much could have gone very wrong, very quickly. Everything nonetheless managed to escalate all on its own…
Between a rock and a hard place and with no clear understanding of “what comes next,” inhabitants justifiably freaked out. A bumbled policy and fumbled roll-out left everyone unsure what to do.
This is a war which lasted so long, we’d been deploying soldiers for years who hadn’t even been born when the war began.
Afghans trampled fencing, broke through military barriers, and poured into the Kabul airport in a desperate attempt to board any plane they could.
This led to some of the most heart-breaking scenes I’ve watched in recent years, demonstrated by the following two, short clips:
The world was watching. We were watching. This collective memory and the associated footage will live indefinitely, memorialized on the Internet for future generations to study with disgust.