Afghanistan Aftermath: No Firings? No Resignations?

Joe Biden, who says the buck regarding Afghanistan stops with him in the White House, claims that the Taliban’s final takeover of the capital, Kabul, provoking mass panic reminiscent of Saigon, 1975, happened more quickly “than anticipated.” If that’s true – spoiler alert: it ain’t – then we taxpayers should demand the mass firings and resignations of anyone in the America intel apparatus having anything to do with Afghanistan. We should also demand our money back. Intel isn’t cheap.

The U.S. government has been in that country for nearly 20 years with a political, military, and Intel presence. The American taxpayers are forced to cough up about $85 billion a year for the lying, spying, killing, and torturing agencies benignly called the “Intel community.” I realize that not all of that targets foreigners; some of it is devoted to spying on us. But still…

So even if Biden were telling the truth, it would mean that we’ve just witnessed a colossal failure and the clearest demonstration of incompetence imaginable.

What will be the consequences? There will be none.

Of course, Biden was lying, just as Trump, Obama, and Bush 2 and their people systematically lied to the American people about Afghanistan. This has been documented over and over. About this there can be no doubt.

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute, senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest book isWhat Social Animals Owe to Each Other.

2 thoughts on “Afghanistan Aftermath: No Firings? No Resignations?”

  1. At times like this, I am reminded of the distinction that the great Robert Jervis makes between “secrets” and “mysteries” when it comes to government intelligence. A “secret” is a question that has a concrete, discernable answer which can (theoretically) be obtained by getting information from the right source. For example, “how many nuclear weapons does Israel possess?” is an example of a secret. In theory, a spy could find out the correct answer to this question by talking to the right source or stealing the right document from someone’s desk.

    Then, there are “mysteries.” These are questions which are more sociological and political in nature, and which do not have factually certain answers. Examples would be things like “is Iran on the verge of a political revolution?” or “how long will Taiwan last if it is blockaded by China?” You can’t get the answer to these kinds of questions by simply speaking to a source who is “in the know.” Instead, answering these questions requires analysis of sociology, current events, the “mood” of a country, and so forth.

    “How fast will Kabul fall?” and “how much of a fight will Afghan security forces put up in the face of a Taliban advance?” fall into the mystery category. Should the intelligence agencies have been able to predict this in advance? In an ideal world, yes. In the world we inhabit, hindsight is 20/20. Obviously, this doesn’t excuse the long history of intelligence failures and reverse-engineered and politicized intelligence procurement which have characterized the Afghanistan campaign for 20 years. But when it comes to this issue, I don’t know how I would have gone about determining how fast Kabul would fall or how much of a fight the Afghan Army would put up. As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. With respect to this specific issue, the results were pretty shocking. But how could the speed of this result have been predicted? I simply don’t know.

  2. August 17 2021 In the Tradition of U.S. Puppets, When They Finally Get Kicked Out, They Steal as Much of the Country’s Treasure as They Can

    The Russian embassy in Kabul reported on Monday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan with four vehicles and a helicopter full of cash as the Taliban took control of Kabul.

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