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Old 03-09-2023, 01:57 PM
 
28,665 posts, read 18,775,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
I guess I'm in the minority because I don't think the withdrawal itself was such a botch. The botch was the decision that were made leading up to it. The Trump administration's US–Taliban deal, and then the Biden administration’s decision in April 2021 to pull out all US troops by September 2021 without leaving a residual force were the main issues, along with out lack of intelligence that the Afghan army would collapse so quickly. Trump wanted to make a political statement, and Biden thought we should've been out of Afghanistan a decade earlier.

Considering the U.S. only had 650 troops in Afghanistan in early August 2021, it is amazing the withdrawal went as smoothly as it did.
Certain events were going to happen no matter what.

The Afghan army was always going to collapse at first contact with the Taliban. Any American soldier who dealt with them could tell you that.

Americans were still going to get caught there after the withdrawal, regardless of when it occurred, because Americans are silly jackasses who won't heed warnings.

There would still have been the same amount of equipment left in the hands of Afghan forces, regardless of when the withdrawal occurred.

Attempting to keep a residual force in Afghanistan indefinitely would have resulted in an increase in the rate of American casualties...the force that was there was the force necessary to keep American casualties light.

Trump's April timing for withdrawal was based on getting Americans out while the Taliban was still in rear positions at the end of the winter. That would have allowed for an orderly withdrawal before the Taliban could advance.

Biden, somehow, didn't understand the point of the timing.

Jeez, now that I think of it, it reminds me of the attempt in the 90s to kill Osama bin Laden with a Tomahawk. We had excellent intelligence of exactly where and when that morning he would be in an Afghanistan training camp...even the tent he'd be in.

Clinton okayed the strike, but then, to avoid it looking like an assassination, ordered that some other target be struck at the same moment.

After a lot of back-and-forth between CIA and DIA, the other target selected was a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that the CIA believed was producing chemical weapons (the DIA disagreed). But then, to reduce civilian casualties at the plant, Clinton ordered the timing of the strike moved back to midnight...the night shift.

On the intel side of planning where I sat, we knew nothing about the change in timing. We heard about it after the strike...which was literally the next day in Afghanistan from the time we told them bin Laden would be in that tent. But, of course, intel got blamed anyway.

 
Old 03-09-2023, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
23,652 posts, read 13,978,128 times
Reputation: 18856
Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
I guess I'm in the minority because I don't think the withdrawal itself was such a botch. The botch was the decision that were made leading up to it. The Trump administration's US–Taliban deal, and then the Biden administration’s decision in April 2021 to pull out all US troops by September 2021 without leaving a residual force were the main issues, along with out lack of intelligence that the Afghan army would collapse so quickly. Trump wanted to make a political statement, and Biden thought we should've been out of Afghanistan a decade earlier.

Considering the U.S. only had 650 troops in Afghanistan in early August 2021, it is amazing the withdrawal went as smoothly as it did.
Well, I rather see it as something else or, at least, an example of something I often saw in the service.

That is, there will be a plan for something, all worked out, and someone will come along and change it in a way to make them look good......even if the work done won't stand up for long. It doesn't matter to them for they will get their glory, "See, Captain! I could do it faster!" but when it falls apart, they will be long gone. On the "lighter" side, I saw it done at least twice with improper towing hawser procedure. In one case, they used synthetic line and in the snap back, that went whizzing by my legs bur fortunately, without injury. In another case, they hooked the different thickness lines together with a brass key ring. It parted under the stress.........and the towing ship had to limp into Mayport to get divers to cut away the hawser snagged around one screw. The Navy Technical Manuals say the proper way to do things and any deviation from them, because someone thinks they have an easier and faster way, is asking for disaster.

In another case of one of these irresponsible disasters, the Captain responded by putting a capable officer under him with the orders of "Put this man out of a job. Get things done before he can get his hands on it." (don't ask me why the Captain did that, I only know what the Captain did).

Now, in relation to our topic, first of all, such is historically classical, it's what German General Kurt von Hammerstin-Equord said: "I divide my officers into four classes as follows: the clever, the industrious, the lazy, and the stupid. Each officer always possesses two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can under certain circumstances be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy qualifies for the highest leadership posts. He has the requisite and the mental clarity for difficult decisions. But whoever is stupid and industrious must be got rid of, for he is too dangerous.".......and so very often, one meets the stupid and industrious (or ambitious). In the service, in civilian life.

The good news is that maybe one can do what my Captain did, put them out of a job before they get their hands on it.........if........

Last edited by TamaraSavannah; 03-09-2023 at 02:24 PM..
 
Old 03-09-2023, 02:13 PM
 
Location: A coal patch in Pennsyltucky
10,379 posts, read 10,657,056 times
Reputation: 12705
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Certain events were going to happen no matter what.

The Afghan army was always going to collapse at first contact with the Taliban. Any American soldier who dealt with them could tell you that.

Americans were still going to get caught there after the withdrawal, regardless of when it occurred, because Americans are silly jackasses who won't heed warnings.

There would still have been the same amount of equipment left in the hands of Afghan forces, regardless of when the withdrawal occurred.

Attempting to keep a residual force in Afghanistan indefinitely would have resulted in an increase in the rate of American casualties...the force that was there was the force necessary to keep American casualties light.

Trump's April timing for withdrawal was based on getting Americans out while the Taliban was still in rear positions at the end of the winter. That would have allowed for an orderly withdrawal before the Taliban could advance.

Biden, somehow, didn't understand the point of the timing.

Jeez, now that I think of it, it reminds me of the attempt in the 90s to kill Osama bin Laden with a Tomahawk. We had excellent intelligence of exactly where and when that morning he would be in an Afghanistan training camp...even the tent he'd be in.

Clinton okayed the strike, but then, to avoid it looking like an assassination, ordered that some other target be struck at the same moment.

After a lot of back-and-forth between CIA and DIA, the other target selected was a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that the CIA believed was producing chemical weapons (the DIA disagreed). But then, to reduce civilian casualties at the plant, Clinton ordered the timing of the strike moved back to midnight...the night shift.

On the intel side of planning where I sat, we knew nothing about the change in timing. We heard about it after the strike...which was literally the next day in Afghanistan from the time we told them bin Laden would be in that tent. But, of course, intel got blamed anyway.
I've heard the military recommended a residual force of around 2500 troops at Bagram Air Base. Is there a chance that their presence would have slowed the Taliban advance?
 
Old 03-09-2023, 04:24 PM
 
28,665 posts, read 18,775,862 times
Reputation: 30944
Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
I've heard the military recommended a residual force of around 2500 troops at Bagram Air Base. Is there a chance that their presence would have slowed the Taliban advance?
That number would be only a security contingent for the base.
 
Old 03-09-2023, 05:10 PM
 
Location: A coal patch in Pennsyltucky
10,379 posts, read 10,657,056 times
Reputation: 12705
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
That number would be only a security contingent for the base.
But isn't that enough? Doesn't the U.S. have around 900 troops in Syria at three bases? They work with Kurdish fighters to make sure there is no resurgence of the Islamic State by providing intelligence and calling air strikes.
 
Old 03-09-2023, 09:11 PM
 
28,665 posts, read 18,775,862 times
Reputation: 30944
Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
I've heard the military recommended a residual force of around 2500 troops at Bagram Air Base. Is there a chance that their presence would have slowed the Taliban advance?
Quote:
Originally Posted by villageidiot1 View Post
But isn't that enough? Doesn't the U.S. have around 900 troops in Syria at three bases? They work with Kurdish fighters to make sure there is no resurgence of the Islamic State by providing intelligence and calling air strikes.
If the US kept the base open, most of those 2500 would be airmen just running the air base. Otherwise, the rest would just be protecting the base. That's called a "giant, self-licking ice cream cone." It would do almost nothing to keep the Taliban from advancing on the ground. Air power can't do that, especially the limited forces from a small base.

The difference between the Afghan military and Kurdish fighters is that the Kurds will fight.
 
Old 03-10-2023, 03:01 AM
 
6,095 posts, read 3,336,497 times
Reputation: 10942
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
If the US kept the base open, most of those 2500 would be airmen just running the air base. Otherwise, the rest would just be protecting the base. That's called a "giant, self-licking ice cream cone." It would do almost nothing to keep the Taliban from advancing on the ground. Air power can't do that, especially the limited forces from a small base.

The difference between the Afghan military and Kurdish fighters is that the Kurds will fight.
It’s possible that with Bagram being kept open, that could’ve kept the Taliban at bay, in hiding for the most part in the border areas. It wouldn’t have been just 2500, there could’ve been rotational forces, and there definitely would’ve been thousands upon thousands of contractors bringing the drone fight to the Taliban. This would’ve been the “over the horizon” base that Pakistan refused to let the US have.

Pentagon leadership certainly believed that Bagram would’ve made the difference in holding the country. They thought the country could be held by the Afghans, unless they were lying publicly to us all.

Which brings me back to my point as to why nobody has ever been held accountable for this disaster. They either lied, or were incompetent, take your pick. I don’t believe they were incompetent. I believe both administrations went against their military advisors, and we ended up with what we got. Bottom line, the end came during Biden’s administration, and it’s his fault, solely. Ridiculous to blame previous administrations for the evacuation/surrender.

But getting back on topic, all you have to do is watch Sgt Tyler Vargas Andrews testimony before Congress to understand the affect that Afghanistan and current policy has had on recruiting.

I hope we can somehow get past this, that somehow the young men of today will feel as proud as I did when I joined. But we all have to admit that we just aren’t through this thing yet.

Last edited by WK91; 03-10-2023 at 03:16 AM..
 
Old 03-10-2023, 04:56 AM
 
Location: South of Cakalaki
5,717 posts, read 4,686,741 times
Reputation: 5163
Air power can never control land. Period. The Taliban were smart enough to mix with the civilian population. You don’t drone strike civilians.

The Afghan military and police were always going to fail. We spent 20 years training and equipping their forces only to have them quit. The old saying that you can never buy an Afghan, but you can rent them for the day holds true. People who choose to believe the political pablum, regardless of which side it comes from, always err in the misunderstanding of how we actually fight.

Bush screwed up by taking his eyes off the ball with his horrendously myopic invasion of Iraq. Had we committed the troops to Afghanistan that we did to Iraq, we might have “won” some semblance of control. But they were always going to be more fighters coming out of Pakistan. Because, until we are willing to invade the actual belligerent parties, nothing will ever change.

It amazes me that thousands can die in Iraq and Afghanistan, but 13 Marines are suddenly the primary focus of the Republicans. Damn shame my friends who died in Iraq don’t get the same treatment.

Finally, the Kurds in Syria are terrorists in neighboring Turkey. You remember Turkey don’t you? Our NATO ally?
 
Old 03-10-2023, 07:16 AM
 
6,095 posts, read 3,336,497 times
Reputation: 10942
Quote:
Originally Posted by m1a1mg View Post
Air power can never control land. Period. The Taliban were smart enough to mix with the civilian population. You don’t drone strike civilians.

The Afghan military and police were always going to fail. We spent 20 years training and equipping their forces only to have them quit. The old saying that you can never buy an Afghan, but you can rent them for the day holds true. People who choose to believe the political pablum, regardless of which side it comes from, always err in the misunderstanding of how we actually fight.

Bush screwed up by taking his eyes off the ball with his horrendously myopic invasion of Iraq. Had we committed the troops to Afghanistan that we did to Iraq, we might have “won” some semblance of control. But they were always going to be more fighters coming out of Pakistan. Because, until we are willing to invade the actual belligerent parties, nothing will ever change.

It amazes me that thousands can die in Iraq and Afghanistan, but 13 Marines are suddenly the primary focus of the Republicans. Damn shame my friends who died in Iraq don’t get the same treatment.

Finally, the Kurds in Syria are terrorists in neighboring Turkey. You remember Turkey don’t you? Our NATO ally?
You are so transparent, just carrying water for your preferred party. It’s all Bush and Trump’s fault, while Biden and Obama shouldn’t take any blame at all, right?

I’m sure you think the 13 dead Marines are nothing more than a nuisance. How dare they have the audacity to die and mess up Biden’s evacuation/surrender, right?

I find both sides culpable, and since the evacuation/surrender was ordered by Biden, it’s on him most of all.
 
Old 03-10-2023, 07:26 AM
 
28,665 posts, read 18,775,862 times
Reputation: 30944
Quote:
Originally Posted by m1a1mg View Post
Air power can never control land. Period.
I'm going to re-iterate that. We've learned that lesson war after war after war.

The ground cannot be controlled by air. You are not in control of the ground until you can stand a 19-year-old with a rifle on that ground unopposed.

Even to try with drones, we would have to blast darned near every truck or car we saw going through the countryside.

Quote:
The Afghan military and police were always going to fail. We spent 20 years training and equipping their forces only to have them quit. The old saying that you can never buy an Afghan, but you can rent them for the day holds true. People who choose to believe the political pablum, regardless of which side it comes from, always err in the misunderstanding of how we actually fight.
And this is also true.

Being holed up in a single air base concentrating on defending itself, worrying about green-on-blue as much as red-on-blue...that would be a recipe for disaster.
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