The Empire Strikes Back: China Back in Afghanistan

If you read the North American and European press, you will get the impression that the Chinese have, geopolitically, reached their westernmost geographical limit in offering themselves as the new patrons of Afghanistan.  It’s a bold strike against China’s NATO competitors, who have left, or who have been driven out of  Afghanistan by the Taliban.  And so, China is making the new government of Taliban rulers in Afghanistan its tributary, or client state.

The Taliban do not have money and look to the Chinese for aid and investment because the only shrewd and right thing the U.S. government did before its panicked retreat from Afghanistan was to ensure that the gold of Afghanistan and its currency reserves were safely in a vault in or around New York City.  From these funds, no doubt, the Biden administration is now offering its first sixty-four million dollars of “development assistance,” or perhaps ransom money, to that self-declared Islamic dictatorship.  We can be sure that the Taliban will use these funds to empower women and protect ethnic minorities.

Despite the hybrid and contorted Marxism of today’s ruling Communist Party of China, the Chinese and their leaders are a country and people with a long historical memory, at least 2,500 years of it.  It is common Chinese practice to look at the present through the lens of the past.  And so, Chinese people are well aware that they once ruled or at least lorded it over Afghanistan, for at least about one hundred years.

This was during the period of the Tang Dynasty, whose imperial rulers of the Tang Empire (618–907) controlled a landmass that began in the Pacific and reached the Hindu Kush in the west.  During that time, what is today Afghanistan, Pakistan, and much of Northern India was part of a series of sophisticated, urbane, and literate Buddhist cultures.

At the time, the area was a world center of Buddhist scholarship and teaching.  Its artisans and sculptors were the creators of the massive Buddhist rock sculptures of the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan, which were blown up by the iconoclastic Afghan Taliban on the 21st of February, 2001.

During the seventh century A.D., a traveling monk from China knew that the texts and the teaching of Buddhism were purer in the Afghan and Indian monasteries, and so Chinese Buddhist monk and pilgrim Xuan Zang (602–664) walked from China to Afghanistan, India, and back, after having spent years studying Sanskrit and collecting Buddhist manuscripts, which he then brought back to China.

The emperor of China at the time welcomed him home, subsidized his translation work, rewarded him highly, and thus triggered yet another and one of the more substantial waves of Buddhist influence on the Chinese people, an imported religion that has waxed and waned there until the present day.

All literate Chinese know about Xuan Zang, and he is still a national hero.  So, from a Chinese historical and political perspective, they are not replacing the Americans in today’s Afghanistan.  They actually feel that they are simply and justly re-asserting their manifest destiny in a land they once ruled, just before the rise of Islam destroyed every vestige of Buddhist civilization in and around the Hindu Kush.

During the sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen hundreds, the Chinese empire began to shrink.  It suffered losses against the Russians to the west and northeast and to the Western Europeans, who occupied its eastern coast, where they created independent enclaves.

Nevertheless, in the late nineteenth century, the Chinese empire reasserted itself in eastern central Asia and conquered the Uighur Turkish-speaking Muslims who have dominated the Sinkiang region for centuries.  This became China’s unruly “Muslim wild west” and is a sore spot in the national consciousness and the foreign policy establishment in China.Read More

The Uighurs of Sinkiang have witnessed the successful disengagement from the Soviet Union (since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991) of most Central Asian peoples and republics, who comprise Turkish- and Persian-speaking Muslim townspeople, farmers, and nomads.  They reasserted their Muslim identities and religious practices after the enforcement of Russian-dominated Marxist secular governments during the previous seventy years (that is, from the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990).

They are therefore sympathetic to their ethnic, linguistic, and religious Turkish-speaking cousins and co-religionists, the Uighurs of Sinkiang, who would like to break away from China and create an additional Central Asian Turkish-speaking state based on Islam.  At least four hundred thousand Uighurs have fled persecution in Sinkiang and have crossed over to neighbouring Kazakhstan so that they can live more freely.  The Chinese will have none of this.

The first thing the Chinese have done is drown the Turkish-speaking Uighur Muslims with secular, Christian, Buddhist, Confucian, or Taoist Chinese Han immigrants, which is the dominant Chinese ethnic group.  After the communist revolution in China in 1948, one year later, the Han population of Sinkiang numbered 300,000 people.  By the year 2000, of the 7.8 million people living in Sinkiang, more than 40% were Han Chinese, an increase of 2,200% over a mere half-century.

The local Uighurs have been treated to a carrot-and-stick approach by their Chinese overlords: increased investment in infrastructure, linking Sinkiang with its “Silk Road” initiative, alongside merciless persecution of any political resistance to Chinese domination.

In 2018, Human Rights Watch published a report on Chinese behavior in Sinkiang.  This paragraph distills the report:

Inside political education camps, detainees are forced to learn Mandarin Chinese, sing praises of the Chinese Communist Party, and memorize rules applicable primarily to Turkic Muslims. Those outside the camps are required to attend weekly, or even daily, Chinese flag-raising ceremonies, political indoctrination meetings, and at times Mandarin classes. Detainees are told they may not be allowed to leave the camps unless they have learned over 1,000 Chinese characters or are otherwise deemed to have become loyal Chinese subjects; Turkic Muslims living outside are subjected to movement restrictions ranging from house arrest, to being barred from leaving their locales, to being prevented from leaving the country. Inside, people are punished for peacefully practicing religion; outside, the government’s religious restrictions are so stringent that it has effectively outlawed Islam. Inside, people are closely watched by guards and are barred from contacting their families and friends. Those living in their homes are watched by their neighbors, officials, and tech-enabled mass surveillance systems, and are not allowed to contact those in foreign countries.

At the same time, the Chinese have established working groups such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which comprise China and most of the newly independent states of Central Asia.  The SCO has become one vehicle for aid, investment, diplomacy, and security, linking China’s stand against radical Islam in central Asia with its anti-terror metaphor for its suppression of the Uighurs.  This has, for example, included the Chinese National Petroleum company gaining ownership of  60% of gas-producing companies like Aktobemunaygaz in Kazakhstan.

Simply put, China is building roads, creating air links, flooding the central Asian markets with Chinese manufactured goods, and creating a security and intelligence network that ensures that its Central Asian neighbors will not challenge it in Sinkiang.  This is close to the kind of thinking of the Tang emperors who through trade (gifts/bribes), luxury goods, and military domination ensured Han dominance of Central Asia for a period.

The Chinese have done and continue to do all they can to offset the influence that NATO has created with the central Asian republics, slowly bringing them within the NATO umbrella, a policy until recently pushed most aggressively by the U.S., while also keeping Russia at bay, which conquered Central Asia during the 19th century until driven out in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union.

And so, we must conclude that despite the new Afghanistan’s radical Islamic agenda, it is unlikely that the Taliban will engage in a jihad to free their “Muslim brothers in Sinkiang.”  Like the rest of their “brothers” in the Islamic world, they will gladly ignore the destruction of the Uyghur people and nation so that they may feather their own nests and increase their share in the China-driven Silk Road initiative.

The Chinese, who have been the off-and-on imperialists of Central Asia for centuries, will know how to insulate themselves from the Taliban through their Central Asian quid pro quo.

The Chinese Communist Party cadres are laughing all the way to the mineral riches of Afghanistan, which they will exploit mercilessly while sticking it to Russia and the West.  The empire strikes back.

Geoffrey Clarfield, American Thinker

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The Afghanistan Debacle: A Huge Opportunity for Freedom

Opportunities to make a big advances toward liberty don’t come very often. The Afghanistan debacle provides a huge opportunity to do that. 

One option, of course, is to make the case that the Afghanistan invasion and occupation were mismanaged. In other words, the case for reforming America’s system of foreign interventionism.

That’s the wrong approach. That’s not going to get us moving toward the free society. That approach maintains America’s system of foreign interventionism and purports to make it better, wiser, and more prudent. 

Under the reform-oriented approach, the interventions will continue. So will the enormous and ever-growing tax-funded largess for the military-industrial complex. The assaults on our civil liberties will continue apace, to keep us safe from the terrorist retaliation that interventionism brings about.

How can we know whether people are advocating this wrong-headed approach? Check their articles and their speeches. If they say that the original invasion of Afghanistan was correct notwithstanding the ultimate debacle, that puts them squarely in the reform camp. They are saying that the original invasion was the right course of action and that the only problem is that the invasion, along with the occupation, were mismanaged. If only public officials had followed their plan, they say, everything today would be hunky dory.

But they are wrong. What interventionists, including libertarian interventionists (often called liberventionists in the libertarian movement), fail to realize is that it is interventionism itself that is the problem. No matter whose plan is adopted, it will not only fail, it will also produce severe adverse consequences in terms of death, destruction, and loss of liberty.

The other option is to make the case for non-interventionism. That’s the right approach. We would be restoring America’s original, founding foreign policy. It would be much like Switzerland — where the government focuses on how to defend the country in the event of any invasion but engages in no foreign interventions — and, at the same time, liberates the American people to interact with the people of the world. 

The Afghanistan debacle is causing people to stop, think, and reflect. The intellectual environment is totally different from what it was immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when most everyone (including, unfortunately, some libertarians) were supporting President Bush’s and the Pentagon’s invasion of Afghanistan (as well as the invasion of Iraq). Today, people are trying to figure out what went wrong and where we go from here. 

We libertarians should be leading the way toward non-interventionism. Neither conservatives nor progressives are capable of doing that, given their strong allegiance to interventionism. 

In order for people to consider a new paradigm, they have to hear it or read about it. They have to consider the arguments in favor of that paradigm. If enough people become non-interventionists, we can reach a critical mass of people who want to restore America’s system of non-interventionism rather than simply reforming the current paradigm of interventionism.

To reach that critical mass, we libertarians need to raise people’s vision to a higher level — to the level of non-interventionism. If all we do is make the case for a better interventionism, we will have passed up one of the greatest opportunities in our lifetime for moving our nation toward the free, prosperous, harmonious society for which we libertarians yearn.

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at and from Full Context. Send him email.

Biden’s Turned Back: A Symbol of Non-Accountability

Democrats/Communists are the party of non-accountability. Look at Joe Biden. No accountability, despite the considerable blood on his hands. Nothing is going to happen to him, to his Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense or the other corrupt people who allowed this to happen.

In law, there’s something called criminal negligence. You or I could be convicted and jailed for hitting and killing a pedestrian, by accident. The law would acknowledge we didn’t mean it; but we’d still be held criminally responsible, in certain cases. So even if you don’t believe (as I do) that what happened in Afghanistan was too spectacular in its stupidity to be an accident, you have to believe that Biden, and all who work with him, are criminally negligent in their actions. Yet we all know they will never, ever be held accountable for anything — not legally, not morally, not in the media. Zero. Even if Biden got impeached for this (how, with a Democratic Congress and no election integrity in most states?), the next fool in power would be worse still.

The deeper issue is that this whole leftist, woke movement is about non-accountability. Biden is supported by millions of people who don’t want to be held accountable for their actions, either. They quietly (or not so quietly) cheer him on. They cheer him on not because he’s a rock star (he’s clearly a demented, sociopathic goofball); they cheer him on because the fact that HE gets away with it all means THEY get away with it all, too.

Biden’s constituents are the violent criminals his party lets out of jail under the excuse of a pandemic. Biden’s constituents are the terrorists let go by Obama who now torture, rape and behead innocent people in Afghanistan, thanks to Biden’s negligence. Biden’s constituents are the people still drawing “unemployment” at $30K a year or more, at least through 2022 and well beyond that if the unaccountable party in power has its way. Biden’s constituents are the people getting the free health care, the free college, the free everything — not because they worked for it and deserve it, but precisely because they did NOT work for it, and do NOT deserve it.

The Democrats — America’s Marxists, Nazis and fascists, all rolled up into one — are the unaccountable party. They count on something, however. They count on the silence, the complicity and the willingness of the rest of us — the good guys — to think rationally (so we can make the money they will steal from us), to take responsibility, to sacrifice for THEIR sake, and to keep working despite the abuse we encounter daily from the parasites of the world.

How long can it all go on?

Everything we know about human nature and all of human history shows this is not sustainable. Their day of reckoning will come. We know that, not by some futuristic prediction, but through the nature of reality. Before long, the good guys will stop taking it.

Afghanistan, and the enormously angry and justified rage being expressed over the whole morbid fiasco, has brought it all to the surface.

I look forward to the days of accountability that will inevitably come for these twisted, nasty, horrific and unaccountable sociopaths holding power as they do today. I don’t know how it will all play out. I won’t deny that these bad guys will continue to inflict a lot of suffering. But when the rest of us have had enough — watch out..

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason

Afghanistan: Tanks for Nothing

Joe Biden’s scripted or no-questions press conferences, and the clean-up afterward by Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and Jen Psaki, have been some of the most misleading episodes in modern presidential history—mostly in what was not said rather than was exaggerated, warped, and misrepresented. 

Biden as Commander-in-Chief

The more Joe Biden mutters “The buck stops here” or “I take full responsibility,” the more we know he will not—and not just because of his now reduced mental state, but because 1) he repeats the same opportunist messaging that he has for the last 50 years of his political career, and 2) the only true thing he could say was “I ordered a withdrawal in the most reckless manner in U.S. military history.”

When Biden then blames Donald Trump, it raises the immediate questions: 

1) If the Afghanistan deal was so flawed, why did Biden stick with it, given his other radical departures from what he inherited on the border, on fossil fuels, on the Middle East—on just about everything before January 20, 2021? 

2) So, was it good or bad to withdraw all U.S. troops? Was Trump wrong to have bequeathed him a policy of graduated withdrawal, but Biden was right to have continued it for a while—only to have accelerated it into surrender and flight?

3) Why did the violence erupt on Biden’s rather than on Trump’s watch? And was his order for a hasty flight in the dead of night from Bagram Air Base also the inherited Trump departure plan?

When Joe Biden now threatens al-Qaeda, ISIS-K, and others with revenge, he sounds, unfortunately, more like the ridiculous Joe of “Corn Pop” braggadocio with his weaponized chain, or Joe taking Trump behind the gym to womp on him, or young Joe Biden slamming the mouthy kid’s head on the lunch counter. Speaking softly with a club is preferable to being loud with a twig.

We have all heard, ad nauseam, too many of Biden’s He-Man stories. The latest rhetoric does not hide the fact that Biden had opposed the Osama bin Laden raid, criticized the termination of Qasem Soleimani, left Afghanistan in the most shameful retreat in U.S. history, and is now begging the Saudis to pump more oil after cutting back on our ample supplies and trashing Riyadh as part of his return to the Obama pivot to Iran. 

Biden loves appeasement lists. He provided the Taliban with a list of whom we wished to evacuate. (When the Taliban soon knock on the door of an American in Kabul who thinks their message will be, “We’re here to escort you to your flight”?) In the same manner, Biden provided Putin with a helpful list of institutions he wanted Putin’s satellite cyber-criminals to exempt from hacking. 

The blame for this sordid mess is threefold: 

1) The media that knew Biden was debilitated and so covered up that fact to carry the candidate across the finish line in November. 

2) The Democratic apparat that envisioned Biden lasting just long enough (the country be damned) to provide the needed cover of a sharply left-wing agenda. 

3) The Pentagon’s top brass, active and retired, who for years leaked about and obstructed Trump, sought to toady up to the press in its “wokeness,” and posed as speaking truth to power, but have now gone strangely silent when we need public voices to oppose the present Afghanistan nihilism of the administration.

Partnering With the Taliban

The Taliban are to al-Qaeda and ISIS as the Nazis in World War II were to fellow fascists of the Spanish Blue Division, the Hungarian Arrow Cross, and the Romanian Iron Guard—ethnic and ideological variants of the same radical nihilist cause. No act of terror goes on in Afghanistan without someone in the Taliban ordering or allowing it. Their “ring” around the airport is only an obstruction for whom they choose: Americans and their allies. 

The Taliban may for a moment seek plausible deniability of suicide bombings to hasten the U.S. departure in shame, temporarily disavowing credit for slaughtering Americans as they leave. But as soon as U.S. soldiers are gone, the Taliban will give free rein to its hounds al-Qaeda and ISIS, brag that they drove out the United States, and then resume their accustomed murdering and raping of civilians. We should expect lots of silent, under-the-table Bowe Bergdahl-type swaps, trades, and humiliations for the next year or so. We will likely sell out our former friends in the Northern Alliance, pay cash under the table per hostage head, and lie about a “new” Taliban. 

So, should we laugh or cry when General Kenneth McKenzie assures us that the Taliban and the U.S. military have the same agenda: Americans exiting Afghanistan as soon as possible? 

Yes, their agenda is the Pentagon exiting Afghanistan as soon as possible—but with the greatest global humiliation, loss of life, and general sense of defeat. In contrast, our agenda is to leave Afghanistan soberly and methodically, even if that means regaining Bagram for as long as necessary to achieve our own strategic goals.

The Abandoned Arsenal

The administration never mentions the vast horde of U.S. weaponry that was simply abandoned to the Taliban. Why? Is it to be “$80 billion here, thousands of machine guns there—no big deal”?

Estimates of the trove’s value range from $70 billion to $90 billion. The stockpile likely includes 80,000 vehicles, including 4,700 late-model Humvees, 600,000 weapons of various sorts, 162,643 pieces of communications equipment, more than 200 aircraft, and 16,000 pieces of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, including late-model drones. Especially worrisome are the loss of night-vision equipment, 20,000-plus grenades, and 1,400 grenade launchers, as well as more than 7,000 machine guns—the perfect equipment for jihadist terror operations and asymmetrical street fighting. 

We can look at this disaster in a number of depressing ways. One would be to compare this giveaway to military aid given to Israel over the last 70 years, which more or less has amounted to about an aggregate $100 billion. In other words, in one fell swoop, the Pentagon deposited into Taliban hands about 80 percent of all the military aid that we’ve ever given to Israel since the founding of the Jewish state. In terms of tactical and operational capability, the Taliban may now be the best-equipped terrorist force in Asia and the Middle East.

Assume that for the next quarter-century, Afghanistan will become not just the world’s training haven for Islamic terrorists, but an international, no-questions-asked, cash-on-the-barrel arms market for anti-Western terrorist cliques. 

Or we can assess the damage psychologically. For the immediate future (possibly over the next few days or weeks), American soldiers could face the prospect of being attacked or killed by those who are outfitted in their own mirror image, and they might be blown up by their own former weapons. 

Yet the media never asked for, nor did the Pentagon volunteer, any explanation of why such stocks were simply abandoned, or at least not destroyed before fleeing, or not later bombed. Since nothing makes sense, we must strain the imagination: was the $80 billion in arms given as de facto bribe money to get our own out? 

In addition, the beefed-up U.S. embassy in Kabul reportedly cost nearly $1 billion, comparable to America’s most expensive embassy in London. It will now become a Taliban stronghold. Bagram Air Base—originally built with U.S. help and money during the Eisenhower Administration—has been updated with hundreds of millions of dollars of American investment in the last 20 years, in buildings, a new runway, personnel accommodations, detention facilities, and infrastructure. 

Although it had been the target of several Taliban attacks, Bagram was largely considered defensible. It allowed coalition and Afghan forces to enjoy 100 percent air superiority over the entire country. Biden talks endlessly of the “over the horizon” capability of distant bases and ships, while omitting that he destroyed “right over the target” current capability. Why these vital American investments were simply surrendered in the dead of night to looters first, and Taliban second, will be an object of controversy and investigation for decades to come. To think of anything similar, imagine the British surrender of Singapore in 1942 or a combination of Fort Sumter, the burning of Washington in 1814, and Wake Island, December 1941.about:blank

The End of American Stature

Regional countries will no longer wish to join the United States in any war on terror because they know they are always just one election from a radical flip-flop in American foreign policy. There is no such thing anymore as bipartisan foreign affairs, since policy is seen as an extension of the revolutionary agendas here at home. Our allies are concluding that the United States is not a bastion of sobriety and careful deliberation that takes its leadership of the free world seriously, but a mercurial, radical leftist country that in a second may self-immolate, as we did in the woke summer of 2020.

Donald Trump reportedly offended NATO members and weakened the alliance by his bombast. Perhaps, but the record shows a funny type of allied enervation, because his jawboning resulted in a much larger NATO budget, marked gains in military expenditures on the part of NATO members, and a dramatic increase in those nations finally meeting or nearly meeting their two percent of GDP military investment promises. 

And during the Trump Administration, NATO nations could claim that they destroyed ISIS in Syria under U.S. leadership, kept Afghanistan safe while reducing troops, frightened Iran, and taught Russians in Syria not to assault U.S. garrisons. For all the graduated withdrawals of the United States from Afghanistan in 2010-2020, not a single U.S. soldier had died in the 12 months prior to the inauguration of Joe Biden.  

But now? Most of the major NATO nations have condemned the U.S. skedaddle from Afghanistan. They are angry that they were not consulted, and not synchronized in the complex airlift and withdrawal. And they resent the “every man for himself” unilateralism on the part of the United States.  

We cannot expect the European NATO members to stand with the United States in trying to check Chinese aggression. The alliance will no longer badger Germany to cease its new de facto economic alliance with Russia or to stand firm against Russian bullying of frontline NATO states, or to present a unified skeptical front about reentering the flawed Iran deal. Differing views about assistance to Israel will only acerbate. NATO members, rightly or wrongly, feel they were bullied into Afghanistan by the United States, and 20 years later outnumbered the U.S. contingent by nearly fourfold—only to be left stunned as their supposed spiritual and military leader fled first for the exits, after itself surrendering the country to NATO enemies. 

The Future

In an ideal world, Biden would order a nocturnal retaking of Bagram, shift all U.S. evacuation efforts there, and provide air cover for incoming and outcoming flights as well as retaliatory strikes on terrorist enclaves as necessary. He would tell the Taliban that $80 billion of free military stuff was enough of bribes and that any more obstructive efforts will be met with bombs, not more cash and weapons.  

Joe Biden thinks August 31, 2021, is the “end” of Afghanistan. In fact, it is a new beginning of yet another chapter in the much despised “war on terror.” But this time around, the Taliban are victorious. They have been reinvented as the best-equipped jihadist nation in the world, basking in the prestige of humiliating the world’s superpower, and will take ownership of hundreds of billions of dollars of Western investment in infrastructure in Afghanistan’s major cities. 

This disaster can be attributed to Biden’s apparent desire for a 9/11 “no more Afghanistan” anniversary parade—itself to be staged to hide his multifaceted border, economy, energy, and foreign policy failures.

The Chinese are debating now whether to ramp up the assault rhetoric against Taiwan, as more Chinese voices conclude that Biden would support the Taiwanese in meager fashion, as he did U.S. contractors and Afghan interpreters. The Russians are pondering which exposed NATO country or which former Soviet republic might be probed and dissected—in expectation of a tough-guy Biden Corn-Pop lecture but not much else. Kim Jong-un is considering replaying his old role of rocket man, as he calibrates the Biden responses to more missiles launched in Japanese air or water space.  

Watch Iran especially. The theocracy believes this is the most opportune time in 20 years to announce that it is or will soon be nuclear, to unleash Hezbollah, and to step up global terrorist operations on the assumption that Biden will bow his head and declare “We do not forgive; we do not forget” and then retire for an early nap.Share on

About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is an American military historian, columnist, a former classics professor, and scholar of ancient warfare. He has been a visiting professor at Hillsdale College since 2004. Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 by President George W. Bush. Hanson is also a farmer (growing raisin grapes on a family farm in Selma, California) and a critic of social trends related to farming and agrarianism. He is the author most recently of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won and The Case for Trump.

A Tragically Stupid War Comes to a Tragic End

Sunday’s news reports that the Biden Administration mistakenly killed nine members of one Afghan family, including six children, in “retaliation” for last week’s suicide attack which killed 13 US servicemembers, is a sad and sick epitaph on the 20 year Afghanistan war.

Promising to “get tough” on ISIS, which suddenly re-emerged to take responsibility for the suicide attack, the most expensive military and intelligence apparatus on earth appears to have gotten it wrong. Again.

Interventionists love to pretend they care about girls and women in Afghanistan, but it is in reality a desperate attempt to continue the 20-year US occupation. If we leave, they say, girls and women will be discriminated against by the Taliban.

It’s hard to imagine a discrimination worse than being incinerated by a drone strike, but these “collateral damage” attacks over the past 20 years have killed scores of civilians. Just like on Sunday.

That’s the worst part of this whole terrible war: day-after-day for twenty years civilians were killed because of the “noble” effort to re-make Afghanistan in the image of the United States. But the media and the warmongers who call the shots in government – and the “private” military-industrial sector – could not have cared less. Who recalls a single report on how many civilians were just “collateral damage” in the futile US war?

Sadly these children killed on Sunday, two of them reportedly just two years old, have been the ones forced to pay the price for a failed and bloody US foreign policy.

Yes, the whole exit from Afghanistan has been a debacle. Biden, but especially his military planners and incompetent advisors, deserves much of what has been piled onto him this past week or so about this incompetence.

Maybe if Biden’s Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs’ Chairman had spent a bit more time planning the Afghan exit and a lot less time obsessing on how to turn the US military into a laboratory for cultural Marxism, we might have actually had a workable plan.

We know that actual experts like Col. Douglas Macgregor did have a plan to get out that would have spared innocent lives. But because this decorated US Army veteran was “tainted” by his service in the previous administration – service that was solely focused on how to get out of Afghanistan safely – he would not be consulted by the Pentagon’s “woke” top military brass.

Trump also should share some of the blame currently being showered on Biden. He wanted to get out years ago, but never had the courage to stand up to the also incompetent generals and “experts” he foolishly hired to advise him.

Similarly, many conservatives (especially neoconservatives) are desperate to attack Biden not for how he got out of Afghanistan, but for the fact that he is getting us out of Afghanistan.

That tells you all you need to know about how profitable war is to the warmongers.

I’ve always said, “we just marched in, we can just march out,” and I stand by that view. Yes, you can “just march out” of these idiotic interventions…but you do need a map!

Ron Paul

Celebrate the Heroes Who Warned Us that Afghanistan would be a Disaster

Thousands of dead Americans, tens of thousands of dead Afghans, $2 trillion down the toilet, a Taliban victory that leaves America’s international reputation in shambles. This disaster didn’t happen by itself. Political and military leaders, aided and abetted by the news media, are responsible and should be held accountable. Voters let themselves be led by the nose, and they should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror because what they did and didn’t do caused many people to die.

Antiwar heroes deserve recognition and respect for telling us not to go into Afghanistan, and after we did, telling us to get out despite being marginalized and ridiculed. They were lonely. Despite widespread reports of casualties among Afghan civilians and the glaring fact that the Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11, 88% of Americans — Democrats and Republicans alike — supported former President George W. Bush’s war three weeks after U.S. bombs began raining down on Kabul, Afghanistan.

Let’s celebrate the good guys.

During the fall of 2001, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched against the war in Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and other U.S. cities. The marchers were too few and too peaceful to move the needle. But the judgment of history is now final: the tiny minority who opposed invading Afghanistan were morally upright and correctly skeptical about the outcome. If you know any of these true American heroes, thank them for their service and buy them a drink.

While nationalist nimrods drove around with their cars idiotically festooned by American flags, intelligent ethical individuals spoke out for what was right. “Under the (U.N.) charter, a country can use armed force against another country only in self-defense or when the (U.N.) Security Council approves,” said Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild. “Neither of those conditions was met before the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban did not attack us on 9/11. Nineteen men —15 from Saudi Arabia — did, and there was no imminent threat that Afghanistan would attack the U.S. or another U.N. member country. The council did not authorize the United States or any other country to use military force against Afghanistan. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is illegal.”

All 98 senators present, including Bernie Sanders, voted to bomb the hell out of Afghanistan and install the puppet regime whose corruption led to the Taliban takeover. In the House of Representatives, the vote was 420 to 1. There was only one sane, only one correct voice in opposition in the entire Congress: Rep. Barbara Lee of California. “As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, as we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore,” she implored.

“For her lone stance,” Glenn Greenwald wrote in 2016, “Lee was deluged with rancid insults and death threats to the point where she needed around-the-clock bodyguards. She was vilified as ‘anti-American’ by numerous outlets including the Wall Street Journal. The Washington Times editorialized on September 18 that ‘Ms. Lee is a long-practicing supporter of America’s enemies — from Fidel Castro on down’ and that ‘while most of the left-wing Democrats spent the week praising President Bush and trying to sound as moderate as possible, Barbara Lee continued to sail under her true colors.’ Since then, she has been repeatedly rejected in her bids to join the House Democratic leadership, typically losing to candidates close to Wall Street and in support of militarism.” Two years later, pro-war Democrats denied her yet another post, as chairperson of their House caucus, to punish her for voting against the Afghan war.

Every congressman and senator who voted for this stupid Afghanistan war is a fool who should resign at once.

Americans who supported this stupid Afghanistan war should refrain from voting ever again.

Media outlets that editorialized in favor of this stupid Afghanistan war deserve to go out of business.

American history has been defined by war, mostly illegally and unjustified on the part of the United States government. That history will continue unless we recognize, elevate and employ the voices of people who speak out against stupid wars before they start.

Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of a new graphic novel about a journalist gone bad, “The Stringer,” now available to order. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.

America In Afghanistan: From The Greatest Generation To The Softest In Just 80 Years

Thursday’s horrific bombings in Kabul, Afghanistan were many things. They were shocking and they were infuriating. They were preventable and they were embarrassing. And make no mistake, they were entirely the fault of our pathetic Commander-in-Chief: President Joseph R. Biden. But Thursday’s bloodbath was also illustrative. As we approach two significant anniversaries in the coming months, the carnage we saw this week exemplifies the ongoing erosion of America’s resolve, credibility, and collective courage. In just 80 years, the United States, which was once a fearsome foe, is now a complete laughingstock.

Two weeks from today we will commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in which approximately 3,000 Americans were murdered by a cowardly group of religious fanatics. Less than three months later will be the 80th Anniversary of the equally cowardly attack at Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941, in which approximately 2,400 Americans were slaughtered. In both cases, America’s initial reaction was swift and monumentally forceful. But in less than twenty years since 9/11, and less than 80 years since Pearl Harbor, we’ve gone from what Tom Brokaw dubbed “The Greatest Generation” to what can only be described as “The Softest Generation.”null

In the immediate aftermath of Pearl Harbor and FDR’s “a day that will live in infamy” speech, America dug in its heels and hunkered down. America was pissed off. That generation sent millions of men to fight the imperialist Japanese and the socialist/fascist Nazis and Italians. During the course of World War II, over 50 million young men registered for Selective Service, aka The Draft. Basic food staples such as meat and cheese were rationed, as was gasoline and other commodities. Women who had previously made up a small portion of our workforce, put on work boots and gloves by the millions, reporting to factories to build ships, planes, and tanks, giving birth to the image of “Rosie the Riveter.”

Over 400,000 Americans were killed during WW2, including the thousands who died on D-Day in one of the most breathtaking examples of valor and determination in human history. And very few Americans from the Greatest Generation complained – about the rationing, or the inconveniences, or the draft, or the massive amounts of casualties we endured. As a result, in less than four years after Pearl Harbor, the tyrannical regimes of Hideki Tojo, Adolph Hitler, and Benito Mussolini weren’t just defeated, they were obliterated.

Fast-forward sixty years to September 2001. Usama Bin Laden and his psychopaths in Al Qaeda were successful in terrorizing us, due in large part to the assistance and enabling by the Taliban and other combatants who torment us once again. Thousands died that day, and images of the World Trade Center and Pentagon shook us to our cores. But we reacted with fortitude. President George W. Bush promised that “the people who knocked down these buildings will hear all of us soon.” And hear us they did.

Americans rallied around our troops as we cheered them on. The American flag flew from countless cars and pickup trucks and hung from highway overpasses across the country. President Bush ordered the invasion of Afghanistan, and by the end of 2002, the Taliban and Al Qaeda were largely defeated. A decade later, Usama Bin Laden himself was finally held accountable for his crimes as heroic Navy Seals took him down in a remarkable nighttime raid at the direction of President Barack Obama, and all of us -left, right, and center – cheered the decision and its result.

Now, look where we find ourselves. Prior to Thursday, America hadn’t had a combat death in Afghanistan since February 2020. For over eighteen months, and since prior to the word “COVID” becoming a household name, we hadn’t lost a single American servicemember. We were spending approximately $40 billion annually to fund operations there, which is chump change for our freewheeling friends on the left, and only 1% of total federal spending.

But President Biden decided to pull out all our troops anyway and did so with a majority of Americans fundamentally supporting the idea. Yes, Biden royally screwed up the implementation of the withdrawal, leading to the most glaring problem of dead civilians and American service members, but the worst aspects of Biden’s decision are undoubtedly still to come. Withdrawing our troops was a disastrous decision from the get-go. Biden’s debacle has created a power vacuum in a region that has previously proven capable of killing Americans in our homeland, and that void is already being filled by China, Russia, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and terrorist newcomers.

Those who had initially applauded Joe Biden’s decision to pull our troops frequently cited the need to get our sons and daughters out of an “Endless War.” But was it really an endless war if no one was being harmed? Was it even a war at all? And if we call a situation with no blood having been shed for over a year and a half a “war,” what in the hell do we call what happens in Chicago every weekend?

America has gone weak. Polling data shows that not only did a majority of Americans support the idea of withdrawing from Afghanistan, but they also support the initiative even it means a resurgence of Al Qaeda. We are not the same country that crushed the Axis powers in World War II. We are not even the same country that blew the roof off football stadiums twenty years ago as we sang the national anthem. We can’t even stomach the idea of having troops stationed unmolested in a country that was used as an operation’s base to kill 3,000 fellow Americans not even twenty years ago.

We’re now a country that’s more concerned with not offending people by using incorrect pronouns than we are with protecting our own way of life.

We’re a country that shrugs our shoulders over the idea of people pouring illegally over our borders, preferring instead to seek being perceived as enlightened and compassionate by morons in Europe and elsewhere.

We’re a country that nods along with millionaire entertainers and athletes badmouthing our country’s founding and its ‘unfair’ economic system as they sport thousands of dollars of jewelry and designer clothes.

We’re a country that embraces man-buns, idiotic gender ideology, and government authoritarianism in the name of public health, and we’re happy to admit it. In a word: we’re pathetic.

For those who died at the hands of the America-hating terrorists on Thursday, may you Rest in Peace; please pray for us. For those American service members who continue to put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, Godspeed to you all, and may God protect and watch over you. And for those of you who are part of the problem here at home, for those suffering from white guilt, and the anthem-kneelers, and the Antifa soy boys… snap out of it! You’re living in the greatest country the world has ever seen. Grow a pair and start acting like it.

God Bless America.

PF Whalen

P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at  His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on Parler @PFWhalen.

Senile or not, Biden has Betrayed America

President Biden’s dementia no longer explains the destructive policies his administration has implemented since taking office.  The horror that took thirteen American lives in Kabul on Wednesday is intentional; there is no other explanation.  This is purposeful.

Biden may be out to lunch, but those around him are not.  They are calling the shots; it is Klain, Blinken, Austin, Milley, McKenzie, Sullivan, et al. who have brought us to the lowest the nation has ever found itself: voluntarily defeated, at home and abroad.

Susan Rice, Eric Holder, and Obama are likely part of the left’s destroy-America crowd.  Pelosi and Schumer are their second string, their tools.

The brilliant Lara Logan, who spent a year in Afghanistan, has no doubt that what has happened is intentional, that none of it would have occurred if it were not part of a plan.  That is the only explanation that makes sense.  Logan divides those responsible into three groups: the dimwits, the half-wits, and the full-wits.  The dimwits are those who do the left’s bidding.  The half-wits want to be part of the agenda but are almost as clueless.  The full-wits are those pulling the strings, making things happen for their own traitorous reasons, the ones who use and abuse the dimwits and half-wits.

As anyone can see, the Biden team is incompetent, blinded by its own feckless ideology — but these people think they know best, that they are in charge of America’s managed decline.  And they’re pleased with their role.  They are enemies of America.  The blood of those thirteen soldiers who died in Kabul is on their hands.  They orchestrated it, invited it, let it happen.

To this crowd, the loss of American lives is a small price to pay for what they think will be the glory of ending the war in Afghanistan.  They are clueless that they’ve begun WWIII in earnest.

Does anyone doubt that Biden is doing China’s bidding?  He closed Bagram, the most important air base in the world, near China and Iran.  China wanted the U.S. out of Afghanistan for a host of economic and its own national security reasons…so Biden made it happen.

His pathetic speech on Thursday was too little, too late.  It was muddled, confused, and wholly lacking in seriousness.

YouTube screen grab.

He blamed Trump’s deal with the Taliban, which was holding; no American had died in that country in eighteen months.  Biden, determined to undo everything Trump did, no matter how productive, upended it in hopes of orchestrating a victory speech on 9/11.  He ignored, apparently, all the advice of people with actual knowledge of the facts on the ground and went ahead with his mind-numbed get-out-now-no-matter-the-cost plan he thought would cement his legacy.  Well, that it did; his legacy will be as the most blundering, demented, and destructive president in U.S. history. 

As Steve Bannon often states, “Elections have consequences.  Stolen elections have catastrophic consequences.”  The blood of those soldiers is on the hands of all those big tech wannabe oligarchs, co-opted faux journalists, and the news readers of the media who willingly sold their souls to defeat the best president since Reagan.  It is on the hands of the Democrats who knew of and were on board with the massive cheating that they were all privy to; remember that it was Pelosi who said that “whatever the end count is,” Joe Biden will be “inaugurated on January 20.”

Talk about saying the quiet part out loud!  They, the Democrats, were all in on the steal.  And because of their pathological hatred of Trump, because of their foolish installation of Joe Biden as president, a mediocrity if there ever were one, thirteen soldiers were sacrificed on one day, murdered on Thursday by the terrorists who move freely among the Taliban, ISIS, and al-Qaeda.  In the end, they are all the same: 10th-century barbarians with cell phones and U.S.-made weapons. 

There will likely be thousands more killed in the coming months — with the massive supply of weapons for which Americans paid.  Hostage Americans and U.S.-friendly Afghanis will be sought out and murdered.

The Biden team’s trust of the Taliban is as criminally stupid as Chamberlain’s trust that Hitler would honor his promise not to invade Czechoslovakia.  Bizarrely, Biden calls himself a student of history!  He did so in his speech on Thursday.  He is a student of exactly nothing but criminally enriching himself and his family.

There can no longer be any doubt that Biden, a man obviously suffering from dementia, sold his soul to any buyer long before he became Obama’s V.P.  Now he is the “imbecilic,” as Tony Blair put it, instrument of a group of radical anti-American quislings bent on transforming America into a Soviet/Maoist/Venezuelan-style totalitarian country of serfs ruled by a thoroughly amoral elite.  That’s their plan, and they are sticking to it.  They must be defeated.  The deaths of those thirteen soldiers must be a wake-up moment.  Biden must be impeached, and his Cabinet should be fired.  This is a group of people, aligned with the Democrat party, who truly do mean to transform the U.S. into everything the Founders hoped to prevent with our Declaration, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights.

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In Afghanistan, the Worst is yet to Come

Say what you will about President Joe Biden, he has stuck to his guns on ending America’s 20-year involvement in Afghanistan’s forever war.

His decision not to delay our departure after Aug. 31 was fortified by hard intel that the terrorist ISIS-K was preparing attacks at Kabul airport.

Thursday evening, the two bomb attacks occurred.

It now seems inevitable that the withdrawal will be completed by Aug. 31, with all U.S. military forces following the last civilians out.

Before yesterday’s attacks, the airlift had been going far better than in its chaotic first days. Some 100,000 Americans and Afghans had gotten out of the country since Aug. 14.

Biden held his ground, refusing to be stampeded by Democratic critics, NATO allies, Republican hawks or media demanding he extend the deadline for departure until all Americans were out.

His adamancy testifies to the convictions Biden came by during decades at the apex of the U.S. government during our longest war.

Those convictions:

Even if the end result of a withdrawal is that Afghanistan falls to the Taliban, the cause is not worth a continuance of the U.S. commitment or the blood and treasure that four presidents have invested.

Better to accept a U.S. defeat and humiliation than re-commit to a war that is inevitably going to be lost.

Biden’s decision and the botched early days of the withdrawal have not been without political cost. Polls show the president’s approval rating sliding underwater. A Suffolk poll has him down to 41%.

Yet, on his basic decision to get out now and accept the costs and consequences, his country appears to be with him. After all, former President Donald Trump was prepared to depart earlier than Aug. 31, and a majority of Americans still support the decision to write off Afghanistan and get out.

Still, we need to realize what this means and what is coming.

According to the secretary of state, 6,000 Americans were still in Afghanistan when the Afghan army collapsed and Kabul fell. Some 4,500 of these have now been evacuated.

The State Department is in touch with 500 other U.S. citizens to effect their departure. As for the remaining 1,000, we do not know where they are.

What does this mean?

Hundreds of Americans are going to be left behind, along with scores of thousands of Afghan allies who worked with our military or contributed to the cause of crushing the Taliban. And many of those Afghans are going to pay the price of having cast their lot with the Americans.

After Aug. 31, the fate of those left behind will be determined by the Taliban, and we will be made witness to the fate the Taliban imposes.

This generation is about to learn what it means to lose a war.

When the war for Algerian independence ended in 1962, and the French pulled their troops out, scores of thousands of “Harkis,” Arab and Muslim Algerians who fought alongside the French, were left behind.

The atrocities against the Harkis ran into the tens of thousands. Such may be the fate of scores of thousands of Afghans who fought beside us.

Biden’s diplomats may be negotiating with the Taliban to prevent the war crime of using U.S. citizens left behind as hostages. But we are not going to be able to save all of our friends and allies who cast their lot with us and fought alongside us.

Yet, while the promises of the Taliban are not credible and ought not to be believed, we are not without leverage.

As The New York Times writes, the Afghan economy is “in free fall.”

“Cash is growing scarce, and food prices are rising. Fuel is becoming harder to find. Government services have stalled as civil servants avoid work, fearing retribution.”

The Taliban’s desperate need is for people to run the economy and for money from the international community to pay for imports of food and vital necessities of life.

What will also be needed from us, soon after the fall of Afghanistan, is a reappraisal of America’s commitments across the Middle East.

We have 900 U.S. troops in Syria who control the oil reserves of that country and serve as a shield for the Syrian Kurds.

How long should we keep them there?

We retain several thousand troops in Iraq. Why?

These are questions for which new answers are going to be needed.

Indeed, there will be a temptation to counter our defeat and humiliation with defiant gestures or precipitate action to restore our lost credibility. Henry Kissinger’s advice on any such action today seems wise:

“No dramatic strategic move is available in the immediate future to offset this self-inflicted setback, such as by making new formal commitments in other regions. American rashness would compound disappointment among allies, encourage adversaries, and sow confusion among observers.”

As for Afghanistan and the Kabul airport, there comes a time when even a great nation needs to accept the reality that Corregidor is lost.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

The United States is an Occupied Country

For over six months now, all we’ve heard is: “If you don’t support Joe Biden’s regime, you are an insurrectionist. You are a domestic terrorist. If you are one of these things, you deserve arrest, prosecution, or worse.” Interestingly, the same far leftists who now say all this are the same people who did NOT want terrorists responsible for 9/11 arrested, detained or treated as anything other than “freedom fighters”. To these people, opposing Biden or any other Communist Democrat makes you a terrorist, while forcing people to live under a totalitarian religious dictatorship (as the Taliban and the resurgent ISIS do) makes you an ally. It’s no wonder Biden wants to negotiate and “do business” with the Taliban. Totalitarians, like criminals, understand each other.

One of my favorite Ayn Rand lines is “mistakes of that kind are not made innocently”. That applies to Afghanistan. The military knows better than to leave weapons behind, and to deliberately abandon civilian Americans and their allies while the military pulls out. These mistakes are too staggering and incomprehensible to be labeled “incompetence.” These are acts of deliberate negligence and unspeakable evil. Why these events happened, or who is responsible for them, you can guess for yourself. But there’s no question these mistakes are not innocent. The same goes for the policies of inflationary spending and debt expansion that will be enough, by themselves, to wreck our economy and our civilization if repeated lockdowns, medical procedure mandates and choking children with masks and totalitarian, racist ideology do not bring us down first.

It’s time to face the truth: America is an occupied country. If Russians or Chinese had invaded our country, they would be doing the same things as the Biden regime now does routinely. They would seek to weaken the American people by turning them against each other, and by instilling fear to coerce them into at least pretending allegiance toward the new rulers. Elections would, at best, be a sham; free speech would no longer be practiced and “private” companies like Twitter and Facebook would be enlisted to comply with the whims and preferences of the regime. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, it’s because you read it in this morning’s news.

It’s all happening now. It’s not a theory; and it’s not an imaginary conspiracy. It’s happening right before our eyes. It’s getting worse, every day. That’s why decent, freedom-loving people cannot stand looking at the news any longer. It’s more grotesque than the scene of a horrible car accident. Just yesterday, Kamala Harris, the second-in-command of the regime, all but stated openly that Americans should expect supply chain shortages before Christmas. These kinds of threats and words of intimidation are the very things done in all dictatorships. They view the means and the results of production as their own property, and theirs to control. If you don’t think we’re living in a dictatorship already, then these inept, toxic freaks have done their job well: They have fooled you into thinking you’re still free, when you’re self-evidently not.

The challenge in the United States — and by extension, most of the world — is no longer to preserve freedom. It’s to restore freedom.

Michael J. Hurd, Daily Dose of Reason