Seven NFL head coaches lost their jobs last year. Matt Patricia of the Detroit Lions was let go after winning just 13 games in three seasons. Doug Marrone of the Jaguars was sacked after his team went 1-15 in 2020. Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles won a Super Bowl in 2017, but even that couldn’t save him. Pederson was sent packing after three disappointing seasons capped off with a 4-11-1 disaster.
Is the head coach always the problem with a bad NFL team? Obviously not. But a head coach is the highly-compensated captain of a $200 million operation, and his job is to win. Coaches who don’t win get fired, because being a perpetual, complacent loser is unacceptable.
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The ongoing collapse of the U.S.-backed regime in Afghanistan is the geopolitical equivalent of an NFL team going 0-16 twenty seasons in a row. Perhaps it’s worse than that, in fact. The Afghanistan disaster is the equivalent of an NFL All-Pro team taking on a Division III liberal arts college, being shut out, and then crashing the team bus into a ditch.
But unlike an abject failure in sports or (arguably) business, there will be no accountability whatsoever for the Afghanistan disgrace. And until America rediscovers the ability to hold its leaders accountable, it will always be a nation in decline.
America’s defeat in Afghanistan was no ordinary defeat. Even comparisons to the fall of South Vietnam in 1975 are insufficient. South Vietnam was a real state. When Richard Nixon sought to “Vietnamize” the war, he was initially successful; South Vietnamese troops fought on for several years after American troops were gone. The country only began to collapse thanks to a severe economic crisis caused by the 1973 oil shock, coupled with a major cut in U.S. aid. Even then, the first provincial capital in South Vietnam only fell in January 1975, two years after America’s departure.
Afghanistan is far different, and far worse. Afghanistan’s army was large, and nominally well-equipped. As President Biden himself noted, they had an air force and the Taliban did not. The country was still set to receive billions in U.S. aid.
And despite all that, within a week, the territory held by the “Afghan government” went from half the country to the runway of the Kabul airport.
Another Saigon moment: chaotic scenes at Kabul International Airport. No security. None. pic.twitter.com/6BuXqBTHWk
— Saad Mohseni (@saadmohseni) August 15, 2021
The immediate, total, and absolute implosion of the Afghan government the moment U.S. troops were no longer propping it up reveals that the entire nation-building effort in Afghanistan was fundamentally fraudulent. The Afghan National Army, the Afghan government, the Afghan state did not actually exist. They were a sham put on for voters and journalists, a Potemkin village built to fool gullible lawmakers.
This sham wasn’t invisible by nature. It was hidden by commanders who wanted to extend the war and hide the truth. One of those guilty commanders? None other than current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and “white rage” aficionado Mark Milley.
“This army and this police force have been very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day,” Milley said in 2013. “Have there been one or two outposts that have been overrun? Yes. But you’re talking about 3,000 to 4,000 outposts that are in the country.”
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Well, now all 4,000 of those outposts have fallen, and the vast majority of them fell without firing a shot. It is now clear beyond all conceivable dispute that Milley was either lying, or hopelessly out of touch and clueless. Every interview, every investigation, every on the ground report made it blindingly obvious that the Afghan army and police were worthless. Consider this ProPublica report from 2001:
Efforts to build a post-Taliban police force have been plagued from the start by unrealistic goals, poor oversight, and slapdash hiring. Patrolmen were recruited locally, issued weapons, and placed on the beat with little or no formal training. Most of their techniques have been picked up on the job—including plenty of ugly habits. Even now, Caldwell says, barely a quarter of the 98,000-member force has received any formal instruction. The people who oversaw much of the training that did take place were contractors—many of them former American cops or sheriffs. They themselves had little proper direction, and the government officials overseeing their activities did not bother to examine most expenses under $3,000, leaving room for abuse. … The ANP still takes just about anyone who applies.
That was 2010. What changed in the years after? Nothing at all. No matter. Milley didn’t care about telling the truth.
It doesn’t matter if eight years have passed since that interview. It doesn’t matter that Milley was allowed to keep gliding up the ranks until he held supreme command. Such a disgrace should utterly discredit him from serving as America’s supreme military commander. In a sane country, Milley would be forced into a disgraced retirement, coupled with an investigation into whether he misled civilian leaders.
Every military leader who participated in this lie should be investigated. At a minimum, the American people are owed the full truth behind a trillion-dollar calamity. But they may be owed more than that. Any active general who helped promote the Afghan War sham through lies or ineptitude should be drummed from the service. But there should be a social sanction too. Imagine if, instead of obsessively policing “racism” and firing workers for decade-old tweets, major companies and NGOs refused to hire generals with a record of gross failure? The country would certainly have a more truthful and effective military brass than it has now.
While the conduct of the military regarding Afghanistan verged on the criminal, conduct of the nation-builders bordered on the ridiculous. An endless parade of outside “experts” proved hopelessly and cartoonishly inept at the basics of building a functional country. Instead of building basic infrastructure to build up the country’s agricultural economy, officials imported America’s fetishistic obsession with “education,” ignoring that the country had no developed economy to absorb its “educated” graduates, as detailed in the Afghan War Papers. And, just like America’s education system, in the process they spent more time on gender issues than anything likely to help defeat the Taliban.
Afghan official says US priorities did not meet Afghan conditions, nothing to build up agriculture, massive investments in education without system being able to absorb graduates. Complains too "focused on the training of girls and minority rights and things." 63/n pic.twitter.com/cd9abvpsMH
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) December 10, 2019
Even when locals simply ignored schools, believing they had no use for them, officials simply built more empty schools right next door (some got turned into Taliban bomb factories!). Over a six year period, the price of those empty schools/bomb factories doubled because nobody was bothering to even negotiate with contractors; the only goal was to spend more and more, endlessly. USAID, an agency with 4,000 employees, apparently saw no need to do any due diligence and simply approved everything.
One viral video during last weekend’s Taliban surge showed joyous Taliban fighters celebrating in the abandoned home of Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum.
— S. K (@SamKhan999) August 15, 2021
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“No one asks where that money comes from.” Right you are, Sam! Nobody needs to ask where the money comes from because we already know: The money came, directly or indirectly, from the United States. The Afghan War Papers revealed that America handed Dostum the vice presidency, and paid him $100,000 per month besides, just so he wouldn’t cause trouble in the country.
Just like with the military, if America was a competent country that cared about its own success, every bureaucrat at the State Department and USAID who played a role in this disaster would be fired. In fact, the complete across-the-board failure of an organization as important as the State Department would call for a fundamental reform of the entire organization. Perhaps making every diplomat and embassy worker re-apply for their jobs wouldn’t be a bad start.
But of course, nothing resembling accountability has happened. And with the current roster of “leaders” that the United States has, nothing will happen for the foreseeable future.
Compare the United States with China and its handling of the coronavirus. Even if China concealed the full extent of its outbreak, it is still indisputably true that China handled the early stages of the virus far better than America did. One reason? In China, screwing up gets you fired:
“China has fired two senior officials in Hubei, the highest-ranking yet to be sacked, as Beijing asserts its control after the deadly coronavirus outbreak – with local officials appearing to be bearing the blame.
State media said that Zhang Jin, the Communist party chief of the health commission in hardest-hit Hubei province, and Liu Yingzi, its director, were both fired. They will be replaced by a national-level official, Wang Hesheng, the deputy director of China’s national health commission.
The sackings come days after a wave of public anger aimed at the government after the death of a Wuhan doctor who was punished for trying to warn friends and colleagues about the new virus. Li Wenliang, who succumbed to the virus last week, has become a martyr for many and a lightning rod for criticism of the Chinese state’s instinct to suppress information.
Chinese authorities appear to be ramping up a campaign of punishing local officials for the epidemic, which has now claimed more than 1,000 lives.
Earlier this month, 337 officials in Hubei were “penalised”, including six officials who were fired for “dereliction of duty”. Officials from the Red Cross society in Hubei were also removed. A team from China’s anti-corruption agency, the national supervisory commission, has been sent to Hubei to investigate Li’s death. [The Guardian]
A dedicated anti-corruption investigation in response to colossal incompetence, dishonesty, and mismanagement? How novel!
But readers don’t need to look to East Asian autocracies for a vision of more accountable government. Even European democracies would provide a better example, as former Portuguese politician Bruno Maçães observed.
In a normal state we would now see resignations at the highest level. But in some obvious sense the US no longer a normal state
— Bruno Maçães (@MacaesBruno) August 15, 2021
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Of course, Bruno is right. None of the creatures responsible for Afghanistan will take the blame. The Deep State has a better idea: Blame ordinary Americans. Already, Tom Nichols of The Atlantic has written a piece doing exactly that.
That’s what the powerful are settling on: They lied to the public for two decades to drag a war out forever, and so the public is at fault for believing their lies.
There will be no rash of resignations, no dismissals, no criminal trials for aiding and abetting the cataclysmic waste of trillions of U.S. dollars in pursuit of nothing. The think tank monsters who egged this conflict on for two decades straight will move seamlessly to egging on another one. They will be paid well and treated as distinguished figures the entire time. And the same generals who oversaw America’s most humiliating and shameful defeat ever will continue to make life-or-death decisions for the troops cursed enough to serve under them.
There remains one possible lever of accountability to consider: the troops and enlistees themselves.
They serve under incompetent generals who hate their way of life. They are dispatched abroad on neverending missions driven by State Department obsessions rather than real national interests. They are deployed domestically to guard against the supporters of President Trump, but will never be used to secure the border of the country they nominally “protect.”
So the question arises: Why should white Christian conservatives sign up for this? The Globalist American Empire has made it as explicit as possible that it despises conservatives, it despises Christians, it despises white people, and it despises men. Yet as much as it hates them, it still utterly depends on them. America’s military is diverse, but the people it depends on to do the “grunt work” of combat is America’s legacy population. Men were 98% of combat deaths in Afghanistan. Whites were 85% of deaths, meaning that roughly 83% of deaths were specifically white men.
But it goes deeper than just race and sex. At 70%, the military is more Christian than the country as a whole, and far more Christian after adjusting for age and sex. And while “Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight” is an old proverb, in America it isn’t true. In America it’s the hated and beleaguered middle class that does the fighting in America’s wars.
One response would be a full on boycott of military service on the part of white Christian men. Apart from being extreme, however, this solution is likely impractical and even counter-productive at this stage. The military is already actively vetting out conservatives and Trump supporters. There could be obvious downsides to making this job easier for them.
At the same time, we also have to ask how healthy it is for the Regime to continue to count on the sacrifice, service and loyalty of American patriots, no matter how carelessly, maliciously, and selfishly that sacrifice is exploited by the Regime’s ruling class. How long can American patriots be expected to serve a Regime may no longer be worthy of such a sacrifice?
Such questions are uncomfortable and troubling, but must be confronted directly if our country is to have a real shot at reversing its disastrous course. The desire to sacrifice oneself for the security and benefit of one’s countrymen is supremely noble. And yet, at present, it is unclear whether there are any institutions within our national security apparatus whose elaborately funded missions, in practice, actually redound to the increased benefit and safety of regular Americans. Afghanistan is surely the most profound symbol of this, but it is more the rule than the exception.
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Especially in the wake of Afghanistan, it seems as though, at best, our national security missions advance questionable ideological goals under incompetent leadership with no accountability. At worst, our national security imperatives amount to attempting to secure spoils for the various special interests (energy sector, defense contractors, foreign policy lobbies, and so forth).
In short, never has there been such a profound disconnect between the national security agenda of the United States and the actual safety, security, and flourishing of its average citizens. The complete lack of accountability we’ve described is both a symptom and a cause of this state of affairs.
The Globalist American Empire loves warfare. And it depends on the sons of its enemies (white Christian men) to step up and do the fighting, the killing, and the dying in those wars. The war in Afghanistan may be ending, but the Empire will not be deterred. Soon it will be looking for new opportunities; in Syria, Iran or even, frightfully, in Taiwan.
With these troubling prospects on the horizon, it is time that American patriots ask how much longer and under what conditions they’ll keep playing along.