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Finally done in Afghanistan?


FourFans130

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1 hour ago, FLEA said:

Posting this because there was a misconception that the majority of people that we evacuated were military age males. That wasn't my experience and certainly isn't what the DoD is reporting. There is a disproportionate amount of adult men, but certainly not majority, and not an army. 

 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/pentagon-almost-half-afghan-evacuees-211802805.html

The number of military age males that we evacuated was more than sufficient to defend Kabul, but they never tried.  They should have fought, but they ran like cowards.  We owe them nothing, and shouldn’t have evacuated anyone.  I cannot understand any US military member who thinks we “owe” them safety.  They should always have known that fighting for their own country and winning was the only option. 
 

 

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21 minutes ago, tac airlifter said:

I cannot understand any US military member who thinks we “owe” them safety. 

Have you seen what has been happening to our military over the last 10-20 years?  I definitely can understand, unfortunately.  

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11 minutes ago, HeloDude said:

Have you seen what has been happening to our military over the last 10-20 years?  I definitely can understand, unfortunately.  

Is it even worth it for patriotic young people to join the military anymore given its track record and admitted goals for the future (hint: not the security of our nation's people)? What's your take?

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1 hour ago, dogfish78 said:

Is it even worth it for patriotic young people to join the military anymore given its track record and admitted goals for the future (hint: not the security of our nation's people)? What's your take?

Simple—I would tell someone to join if they believe it’s in their best interest to do so, and not if it isn’t. 

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8 hours ago, HeloDude said:

Have you seen what has been happening to our military over the last 10-20 years?  I definitely can understand, unfortunately.  

To be clear, I was talking about US mil who think we owe safety to former AFG mil and are advocating for their evacuation and resettlement in the US.

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3 hours ago, tac airlifter said:

To be clear, I was talking about US mil who think we owe safety to former AFG mil and are advocating for their evacuation and resettlement in the US.

Yep—I understood your original comment.

Our culture has become one where the majority of Americans want to not hold people responsible for their bad decisions, their lack of effort and willing to fight for what they believe in, etc.  This culture shift has also affected the military, hence why so many members don’t blame Afghans for their country’s failures and likewise believe it’s the job of the USA to make their lives better.

Not surprised at all.

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13 hours ago, tac airlifter said:

The number of military age males that we evacuated was more than sufficient to defend Kabul, but they never tried.  They should have fought, but they ran like cowards.  We owe them nothing, and shouldn’t have evacuated anyone.  I cannot understand any US military member who thinks we “owe” them safety.  They should always have known that fighting for their own country and winning was the only option. 
 

 

There is a critical mass to such things.  When you are one of the only dudes willing to fight and all your "leadership" flees and most of your logistical support disappears, you face a losing battle.  Is it worth it to "die like a man" and get your family killed for a government that just fled the country or flipped sides?  

Should the Afghans, writ large, have fought?  Yeah.  If they had enough mass to have a reasonable chance, I'd take a harder line with you.

Should a few individuals die on the hill to show support for people who don't care?  That's less clear cut.

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1 hour ago, raimius said:

There is a critical mass to such things.  When you are one of the only dudes willing to fight and all your "leadership" flees and most of your logistical support disappears, you face a losing battle.  Is it worth it to "die like a man" and get your family killed for a government that just fled the country or flipped sides?  

Should the Afghans, writ large, have fought?  Yeah.  If they had enough mass to have a reasonable chance, I'd take a harder line with you.

Should a few individuals die on the hill to show support for people who don't care?  That's less clear cut.

This. It's easy to judge but when the President flees who issues the orders? Furthermore, there was a lack of US inteligence on ANA readiness, we believed their army was two to three times larger than it actually was. Lastly, they had no means to protect their families from retaliation making many unable to leave their homes to fight. It's easy to judge but putting myself in their shoes it's hard to fully comprehend their decision.

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44 minutes ago, FLEA said:

This. It's easy to judge but when the President flees who issues the orders? Furthermore, there was a lack of US inteligence on ANA readiness, we believed their army was two to three times larger than it actually was. Lastly, they had no means to protect their families from retaliation making many unable to leave their homes to fight. It's easy to judge but putting myself in their shoes it's hard to fully comprehend their decision.

no no no our prestigious generals knew EXACTLY what the ANA was capable of. but instead of "integrity first" they pushed bull shit rosy assessments for decades and touted "breakthrough" progress.

the goal was always just over the next hill and almost within reach. No one had the backbone or balls at the flag level to call the spade a spade.

Edited by BashiChuni
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3 hours ago, FLEA said:

This. It's easy to judge but when the President flees who issues the orders? Furthermore, there was a lack of US inteligence on ANA readiness, we believed their army was two to three times larger than it actually was. Lastly, they had no means to protect their families from retaliation making many unable to leave their homes to fight. It's easy to judge but putting myself in their shoes it's hard to fully comprehend their decision.

I'm baffled.  How, after 20 years of doing the training, organizing, and equipping for them, did we not know their capabilities? 

The cynic in me believes we knew their capabilities, and each level of leadership painted an unrealistic picture to show "progress" while they were in charge. 

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15 minutes ago, pawnman said:

I'm baffled.  How, after 20 years of doing the training, organizing, and equipping for them, did we not know their capabilities? 

The cynic in me believes we knew their capabilities, and each level of leadership painted an unrealistic picture to show "progress" while they were in charge. 

In short we taught them our good habbits but we taught them our bad ones too.They were "making the slide green" on their readiness numbers to ensure following fiscal year funding etc... The Brits and French suspected this but never got deep into researching it. 

We, in all of our awesomeness to make the slide green, loved seeing the ANA slide's green. So we reported the good news up to our senior leaders and now our slides were green too! Noone ever questioned it. Why would they, the slide was green! 

Edited by FLEA
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33 minutes ago, pawnman said:

I'm baffled.  How, after 20 years of doing the training, organizing, and equipping for them, did we not know their capabilities? 

The cynic in me believes we knew their capabilities, and each level of leadership painted an unrealistic picture to show "progress" while they were in charge. 

More like each level of leadership wanted to show how successful they were by increasing something by X% on their next performance report. Gotta make rank you know. 

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6 hours ago, raimius said:

There is a critical mass to such things.  When you are one of the only dudes willing to fight and all your "leadership" flees and most of your logistical support disappears, you face a losing battle.  Is it worth it to "die like a man" and get your family killed for a government that just fled the country or flipped sides?  

Should the Afghans, writ large, have fought?  Yeah.  If they had enough mass to have a reasonable chance, I'd take a harder line with you.

Should a few individuals die on the hill to show support for people who don't care?  That's less clear cut.

Fair.  But there were 80,000 weapons and millions of rounds of ammo sitting in a pile at HKIA that thousands of afghans ran by on their way to jump onto a C17.  And the Taliban attack was about 600 on the first day.  10,000+ fighting age men threw down their weapons and ran in terror from 600 Taliban.  And asked us to protect them.  This is clean cut.

This was a cowardly thing and they deserve to lose.  And we shouldn’t save them.  And US mil who are staying awake at night working ways to save these guys are way off the reservation.

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32 minutes ago, FLEA said:

In short we taught them our good habbits but we taught them our bad ones too.They were "making the slide green" on their readiness numbers to ensure following fiscal year funding etc... The Brits and French suspected this but never got deep into researching it. 

We, in all of our awesomeness to make the slide green, loved seeing the ANA slide's green. So we reported the good news up to our senior leaders and now our slides were green too! Noone ever questioned it. Why would they, the slide was green! 

I disagree.  If that were true someone would have at least put up a fight for Kabul.  When I was an advisor I could never wrap my mind around the guys who would abscond: we send them out of country for training and they just leave. But when they leave they left their families.  They were a culture of men who were OK leaving their families behind.  There was something fundamentally wrong with them.  They lost and they deserved to.  We’re the idiots who couldn’t see that obvious truth.  

Nor could we see that the Taliban, despite being assholes, had the fortitude to take everything we threw at them.  The Taliban would see their friends blown in half yet wake up to fight the next day.  Our GIROA allies tossed their guns down and fled.  Loser culture.

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1 minute ago, tac airlifter said:

I disagree.  If that were true someone would have at least put up a fight for Kabul.  When I was an advisor I could never wrap my mind around the guys who would abscond: we send them out of country for training and they just leave. But when they leave they left their families.  They were a culture of men who were OK leaving their families behind.  There was something fundamentally wrong with them.  They lost and they deserved to.  We’re the idiots who couldn’t see that obvious truth.  

Nor could we see that the Taliban, despite being assholes, had the fortitude to take everything we threw at them.  The Taliban would see their friends blown in half yet wake up to fight the next day.  Our GIROA allies tossed their guns down and fled.  Loser culture.

I mean, we will probably have to decipher lessons learned from this for years. But intelligence failure and surprise are non-negotiable. That absolutely happened. To the very end there was a belief that ANA would hold out long enough for us to complete withdrawal and maintain security of the Kabul embassy. Why that didn't happen? Well, its probably multi-faceted, and some of what you said is probably true as well. 

I'm also not certain we know the exact end-strength of the Taliban though. We spent years whacking off these dude's patriarchs and created a multi-generational army of people that hate us. I think they were a lot larger than we expected them to be. I mean we've killed SO MANY of them, and instantly, 2-3 were already right there to backfill them. You have to wonder about this. 

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23 hours ago, tac airlifter said:

This was a cowardly thing and they deserve to lose.  And we shouldn’t save them.  And US mil who are staying awake at night working ways to save these guys are way off the reservation.

I think most of the US folks trying to get Afghans out are trying to get particular families out.  

Some of the escapees are cowards.  Others realized their sacrifice wouldn't turn the tide and called it quits.  There's also a big gray area in there.

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It is not surprising in the least that we deluded ourselves regarding the ANA's capabilities. 

The modern US military is driven by shoe clerks with slide shows and the most important thing in the world is that the slides are green.  Generals' and Colonels' next promotions depend on slides being green, not honesty or lethality.

We are just as delusional about our own capabilities, if not more so.

 

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I mean, a lot of us here have experience with the ANA in one facet or another, and we are going to have different opinions for sure. I definitely believe there probably was a lack of commitment in some facets of the ANA but I've also worked with a lot of dudes who are true warriors and probably would have taken it to the end if there was a reasonable probability of success. 

There were certainly some differences in who ended up in certain positions and I could tell a huge difference in commitment from societal elites who were western educated and had family in high ranking government vs your average dude who is just trying to make ends meet. 

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This is not an intelligence failure...if our leaders thought they'd be good, they were delusional.  I left there thinking the ANA would be lucky to last a few weeks after we left.  Anyone who thought otherwise was lying to themselves.  

Edited by SocialD
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22 minutes ago, SocialD said:

This is not an intelligence failure...if our leaders thought they'd be good, they were delusional.  I left there thinking, the ANA would be lucky to last a few weeks after we left.  Anyone who thought otherwise was lying themselves.  

In my opinion, it extended much further down than just the top level GO/FO leadership.

  Long but interesting anecdotal story.  When I was a young staff officer I was assigned to be my command's GSOS lead (Global Special Operations Synchronization, it's how SOCOM is supposed to prioritize where it puts SOF, feeds into the GFM process).  BLUF is its a multi-phase process with a lot of data collection/processing and in person PPTs to a board.  

During my second year doing doing this, SOJTF-A J35 was presenting their Campaign Plan for the conference (presented to a board of 6 O-6s from SOCOM), SOJTF-A team was made up of an O-6 and several O-5s and civilians.  The SOJTF-A team VTCs in and has this very bright, optimistic "this is the year we turn it all around, X years to stem the tide, XX years to seize the initiative, we're gonna take it to them with this new strategy, etc, etc, etc).  I think they even used the word "defeat" in some of their presentation.  The O-6 board receives the presentation, asks a few minor questions, then says great job, go get'em, we really appreciate you", or something to that effect and starts to move on.

  That would've been the end of it except for 1 O-5 Army Strategist (extremely intelligent guy who was about as cynical as they come) in the audience.  He stands up in this room full of 50 people with god knows how many others in VTC land and politely asks what's different about this year compared to all the other years in the Stan (this conference was in early 2018).  When SOJTF-A says they don't understand his question, he expands by saying what they've presented looks remarkably similar to his 2005 experience, which also mirrored the time he was there in 2009, while not differing all that much from the strategic plan in 2011, seemed shockingly similar to his deployment in 2013, and he didn't see all that much change from 2015-2017.  He then asked how on god's green earth they were going to seriously degrade or possibly defeat the enemy with a fraction of the resources previously available and an ANA that wasn't that much more capable and suffering a record high number of casualties. 

  The crazy/really eye opening moment to this whole thing was that the SOJTF-A guys just sat there dumbstruck, like they couldn't believe anyone wouldn't believe in or would dare question their plan.  They literally had no answer.  I seriously think several of them honestly believed the nonsense they were presenting.  The O-6 board quietly ruffled through their notes or stared at their hands.  The O-5 strategist shook his head and sat down. 

  Will always be one those random moments in my career I'll never forget and the moment I knew we could've been in the Stan for another 20 years and it wouldn't have changed the ultimate outcome one bit.          

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Good post above by Dirk.

So in the end, who takes responsibility for the failures?  And I don’t mean Bush, Obama, Trump, or Biden…they’re politicians, not military strategists, and unless they were the ones feeding the American citizens lies, then they were just doing what most other politicians would have done in their shoes at the given time.  I mean who (that does this for a living) in the DoD takes the public hit that they either manipulated the data (ie lied about the the capabilities of the Afghans) to make it look like what we were doing was working or who takes the public hit that they (DoD officials, military or civilian) were so incompetent they truly believed the Afghans were capable when we were going to leave?  Or is just a complete failure at all levels of our DoD from the lowly CGO/NCO all the way up the top?  
 

That’s the problem—there’s no public accountability for this huge failure and we are left with people shrugging their shoulders.  And our country is so politically divided that Biden and/or the Dems in Congress don’t truly want to get to the bottom of it because it’s making Biden look bad to keep it in the light (I’m sure the same could be said if Trump/the GOP were in charge).  So in the end, no one is publicly held accountable, strategically our military’s ability to achieve it’s future goals is decreased, and American citizens lose even more faith in the integrity/capabilities of our military.

Yeah…if I’m China, I’m definitely invading Taiwan if they believe it’s in their best interest to do so.  The US isn’t going to stop them.

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1 hour ago, DirkDiggler said:

That would've been the end of it except for 1 O-5 Army Strategist (extremely intelligent guy who was about as cynical as they come) in the audience.  He stands up in this room full of 50 people with god knows how many others in VTC land and politely asks what's different about this year compared to all the other years in the Stan (this conference was in early 2018).  When SOJTF-A says they don't understand his question, he expands by saying what they've presented looks remarkably similar to his 2005 experience, which also mirrored the time he was there in 2009, while not differing all that much from the strategic plan in 2011, seemed shockingly similar to his deployment in 2013, and he didn't see all that much change from 2015-2017. 

I think it's been said here before, but this certainly illustrates the point.

We weren't in Afghanistan 20 years.  We were in Afghanistan one year, repeated 20 times.

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