Did America or the Afghan people get anything for Obama’s attempt to remake Afghanistan in his administration’s image? Our top general says the DOD planned for a failure this catastrophic.
The U.S. Department of Defense was not caught off guard by how suddenly the Afghan military and government folded last month.
That’s the message from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to Fox News National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin in an interview that aired on Saturday’s “Fox Report.” The U.S. military didn’t expect Afghanistan to crumple so spectacularly, but it had planned for that contingency and executed those plans when the country fell.
So not only did the U.S. military, after being in Afghanistan for twenty years, know the government wasn’t stable and the new army was inept, ill-equipped, and weak-willed, but Obama’s war in the Middle East yielded an outcome that was even worse than the top brass were expecting. Obama’s troop surge and all those years of nation-building have gone to utter waste.
Noting the speed and energy of the DOD’s airlift of the U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan, Gen. Milley said:
“What you saw unfold with this noncombatant evacuation operation was one of the contingency plans. And the speed at which it was executed, the flow of the aircraft, we had planes taking off every 30 to 45 minutes or so.”
So with its read of things on the ground, the military knew things could get this wrong in Afghanistan, that the local government and security forces could fail, leaving it up to the DOD to secure perimeters. But as Milley also told Griffin on the Fox Report, they didn’t think the country would go sideways as severely as it did:
“I think a couple of things. One is the collapse of the Afghan army happened at a much faster rate and very unexpected, by pretty much everybody, and then with that is the collapse of the Afghan government. So, that was definitely a surprise.”
The failure doesn’t reflect on the sitting president, Joe Biden, nearly as bad as former president Barack Obama. Though the Biden Administration has undoubtedly contributed its share of follies to this tragedy of errors, it is dealing with the reality in the region. The Obama Administration created that reality. Of course, Biden as vice president was part of it.
Though George W. Bush first sent troops to the country searching for bin Laden, Mr. Obama assured Afghanistan would forever be part of his legacy. He campaigned against the war in Iraq as “the bad war” and the one in Afghanistan as “the good war.” He promised to turn that war around by throwing more money and bombs at it.
When he took office in 2009, there were some 35,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But by August 2010, Obama had surged troop levels in Afghanistan to 100,000.
Even after accomplishing the objective of finding bin Laden (in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, your tax dollars at work), Obama spent the remaining six years of his presidency nation-building. And all the Afghan people and we got for absolutely nothing.