KINDLING – Some memories of a Napoleon strategy

Back in the early newspaper days we would train new reporters on writing factual information on local issues.  Sometimes a writer would stray off the local subjects and we would refer to that writing abstractly as “Afghanistanism.”  

Times have changed and now that country is at the epicenter  of the world’s focus and dominating the news.

Living out here in the West, far away from Washington D.C., we are victims of the eastern media for our news.  Even the Denver Post has New York owners and most TV news generates out of the east.  

I have friends who mail me clippings from The New York Times. Very good stories that never appear here in local digital or print newspapers.

What I’m trying to relate is that it is very difficult to really know what is happening; we can usually find opposite discourse between CNN and FOX.

Going on the best information that I hear, and read, it appears that we were paying the salaries of the Afghanistan militia.  Apparently they were very well-paid and having a source of income in that  war-torn country would be very important.  When both Presidents Trump and Biden announced that we were going to withdraw our troops that seemed to be a popular opinion with most Americans but some of our Pentagon officials seemed to disagree.  But overall, getting out of Afghanistan after 20 years seemed like a splendid idea and long overdue.

Now, the issue revolved around how we planned to leave and when.

The planning should have occurred well prior to the collapse of the military; the country president fleeing, and the fall of Kabul to the Taliban forces.  It appears to me, that no matter what rhetoric we hear out of Washington, the Taliban are in complete control of that war zone and we are at their mercy.

I can’t understand why we still have 20,000 Americans living in a land where we have been waging war for 20 years and both U.S. Presidents announced that we are pulling out and leaving the Afghans to defend themselves.  Why did we leave Blackhawk multi-million-dollar aircraft on the ground along with  ammunition, supplies, and a complete arsenal of the latest weapons and drones?  It is doubtful that any of the Afghans were trained pilots and mechanics.

Back to the question of why so many Americans were still not leaving the country.  Many, perhaps, have married into the Afghan society in one way or another.  But these people had ample warning to pack up and leave.  It was clearly going to happen.  I think we might surmise that there were some very lucrative jobs in that country where part of the billions of dollars being spent came from American contractors and consultants.  

When the Americans started to quickly withdraw the mercenary army no longer had paying jobs, so they just laid down their arms and ran for cover.   The collapse of the government happened in a reported 11 days, or maybe sooner.

There is plenty of blame to pass around going back to even entering the country after the Russians couldn’t make any progress.  We got suckered into Vietnam when the French left and now Afghanistan after the Russians departed.  We explain our entry was to punish those who might have been involved in 9/ll.  Really?  The Taliban had no aircraft, ships, or ground forces threatening the U.S.

I see where we have cut off the funds that were flowing into that country and freezing up millions.  Yet, we are begging the conquering Taliban forces to allow any, and all, to leave.  I don’t think we have much leverage anymore.  What we need is a miracle.

Years ago, as a youth, I read the complete life of Napoleon Bonaparte who was a military genius.  The story of his early life related that as a youth he and his friends were constantly being bullied by older kids.  So, he laid a trap on the beach; he and his friends hid rocks and clubs under the sand and let the bullies chase them to the site,  where upon they pulled out their weapons and beat the stuffing out of the bullies.  His first of many military victories.

What a great trap we could have pulled on the Taliban, faking a withdrawal, drawing them all into Kabul.  We would surround the city calling for their surrender.  Napoleon would have liked that strategy.  However, for that far-fetched plan to work the 20,000 Americans should have been long gone.

Where is a Napoleon when we need him?