K.T. McFarland has been around national security since Vietnam. She is one of the best we have. That’s why she, along with this publication, has understood the essential truth about the Afghanistan mission: There was no mission. 

McFarland: President Biden has just sent combat forces back into Afghanistan to evacuate American civilians at the embassy and Afghans who have assisted us in the war effort. The 3,000 American forces will then presumably shoot their way out as they depart.

Inexplicably, we will leave a “core” diplomatic staff and U.S. combat forces to protect them. The Biden administration believes the Taliban will leave these Americans alone, because they want world approval. The Biden administration is living in a fantasyland if they think this is going to end well. But when it comes to Afghanistan our political and military leaders have been living in fantasyland for years.

Just a week or so ago, senior U.S. officials were talking about diplomacy and negotiated solutions. A day or so later they said Afghanistan could fall within a matter of months. Fantasyland again. The Taliban will take over all of Afghanistan in a matter of weeks, if not days.  As more and more provincial and tribal leaders switch sides to the Taliban, the pressure on the others to do the same will only intensify.

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They will be quick to lay down their arms in exchange for amnesty. No tribal leader or province head wants to be the last man standing in support of the Afghan government because Taliban reprisals will be vicious. The mujahadeen fathers and grandfathers of the current generation of Taliban leaders seized control of Kabul in 1992. They captured then-Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah, tortured him, dragged his body behind a truck through the streets of Kabul and hung it from a lamppost for all to see.

The example isn’t lost on the current Afghan government leaders, who I predict will flee Kabul in the next few weeks rather than suffer the same fate. The tragedy of Afghanistan is that the Taliban were always going to prevail. They knew it was only a matter of time before we got fed up and left and they would have the country to themselves. All they had to do was wait us out.

When I was in Afghanistan 15 years ago, a tribal leader tapped on his bare wrist and told me, “You Americans, you have the watches, but we have the time.” I was a junior aide to Dr. Henry Kissinger in the White House Situation Room when the Communist Vietnamese forces surrounded Saigon and were closing in on the American embassy.

The only way we could get our remaining forces and personnel out was with helicopters that were forced to touch down on a makeshift landing zone on the Embassy grounds. I remember swearing to myself that never again should Americans fight a war that could not be won, with unclear purpose and ever-expanding objectives, propping up corrupt leaders who had no loyalty to us or to democratic governance. That’s why, in the Reagan administration, I took those lessons of our failure in Vietnam to draft Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger’s Principles of War speech, which President Reagan endorsed. America should only go to war to defend our vital nation interests and with a clear path to victory. Yet, here we are again.

This piece was written by David Kamioner on August 14, 2021. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

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