Ignorance With Impudence

Ignorance With Impudence

Remember Baghdad Bob? You know, the Iraqi Information Minister who, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, told reporters to believe him, not their lying eyes. As American troops advanced on the capital, Baghdad Bob made one pronouncement after another about how they were being repelled, poisoned, American troops were committing suicide, and the glorious Iraqi Army would crush the infidels. Even as American tanks rolled within view of the podium, Baghdad Bob continued to insist that the Americans would never be permitted to enter Baghdad and Iraqi forces would prevail.

Well, guess what? Baghdad Bob is back. Actually, lots of Baghdad Bobs. An entire phalanx of them, filling the podiums not in Baghdad, but in Washington. Now Baghdad Bob masquerades as a range of surrogate characters, all babbling nonsense as ridiculous and unbelievable as old Bob:

Jen Psaki, White House spokesbabbler. Rear Admiral (!) John Kirby, Pentagon spokesbabbler. Ned Price, State Department spokesbabbler. Jake Sullivan, allegedly National Security Adviser since someone left a door open and allowed him to escape from daycare. And their babbling bosses, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the Babbler-in-Chief, Joe “Jell-O Joe” Biden.

It was at least entertaining to hear the babbles of the original Baghdad Bob. It’s a lot less entertaining hearing the strings of lies and political spin uttered daily, even hourly, seemingly without a shred of shame, by this crewe of Washington Baghdad Bobs. It is the kind of high audacity for which I reserve one of my strongest insults and expressions of disgust: Ignorance with impudence. You cannot find better examples of what that means than simply listening to this pack of incompetent and unscrupulous liars and scoundrels.

My view, from personal experience

By way of disclosure, part of my response to what is going on in Afghanistan right now derives from my personal experience. I didn’t get into this in my last post on the subject, but I think it would be helpful to readers’ understanding of the current situation for me to do so. It will help explain why I can see that virtually everything we have done, and are doing, in Afghanistan in recent weeks is absolutely ass-backwards and thoroughly incompetent. And how, ultimately almost certainly, it will lead to significant loss of life to American citizens and citizens of our allies, as well as to a wide range of Afghan civilians, including those who helped us and those who simply believed the lie that they might have a different way of life. Despite the insensitive and ill-informed lies of the Babbler-in-Chief, people already are dying, often in the most awful and gruesome ways.

I am not a military strategist, and make no claim to be one. Most of my knowledge of military principles comes from Sun Tzu, and a childhood fascination with the strategies that helped the Allies defeat the Axis. But I am a good observer of what is going on around me, watching as social and other trends grow from mere seedlings into towering and inexorable movements, cultivating good sources, and keeping my ear to the ground to listen for vibrations of approaching storms. And I have enough knowledge and sense of history to apply, compare, and contrast current events to past events. I believe these are reasons why my ambassador looked to me to help explain what was going on in Algeria as terrorism began to swell up and rack the country in the early 1990s — even though my job had absolutely nothing to do with any of that — and why the political section chief ran all his cables by me before dispatching them to Washington.

It is the same sensibility that allowed me to be the sole member of the U.S. intelligence community (I say that in all honestly and humility) to correctly, and definitively, call the outcome of the 1994 Jordanian parliamentary elections. It was one of the rare times during my 11-year diplomatic career to be concretely recognized with a promotion, as incompetents all around me were routinely promoted.

Perhaps most salient to my understanding of the Afghanistan debacle was my time in Albania, during the 1995-1997 period. As Economic and Commercial Officer I predicted, soon after my arrival in the country, that the massive pyramid schemes spreading throughout Albania would, in time, collapse, and bring the government and the country down with them. At first I was scoffed at and few people paid my reports any attention. Pyramid schemes? Who cares? When most of a country’s population has invested their life savings in them, someone should. And then, as the end approached, almost to the week I had predicted more than a year before, suddenly my reports became must-read material back in Washington and elsewhere.

When the country did finally collapse and anarchy sprang up in the hinterlands, our military intelligence people saw things in terms they were used to, as if this was a conventional war with a front approaching the capital, a little closer each day. I and only one other person in our country team, the Public Affairs Officer, spoke out, saying this was a crazy view, and the anarchy was going to burst out all around us without warning. We were scoffed at, but that is exactly what happened, within days.

It happened with the suddenness we had predicted, and it was too late to do anything about it, to get non-essential personnel and family members, as well an many endangered civilians and personnel at other embassies, out of harm’s way. We were under a 24/7 hail of gunfire from all sides — something that went on for many weeks — and as Aviation Liaison I was the one who conveyed the news that the airport was under attack and all flights canceled. The person whose responsibility it was to handle an evacuation was curled up in a corner on the floor, in tears. When she finally pulled herself together and called the country team into a meeting, her solution was to mount a motorcade and drive for hours across uncontrolled territory to reach the border and leave the country.

I had spent many hours over as many beers with a Welsh friend of mine over the past year-plus discussing what we’d do — not if, but when — the end came. We knew such an approach as had been proposed would probably wind up getting everyone killed. The only solution, we decided, was to bring military helicopters directly into the compound and fly people out of the country. So I spoke up and proposed that as the most effective solution, acknowledging how the plan was devised, and in the end, after hours of consultation between the front office and Washington, that is precisely what we wound up doing. Over the subsequent weeks, as I stayed on as one of the essential personnel to not be evacuated, the U.S. Navy flew out hundreds of people of 30-some nationalities, including personnel from the Russian and Chinese embassies, without the loss of a single person or aircraft, though all the choppers, it later was found, had taken fire. Marines were brought in to protect us on the ground, and I have to say, I was never so happy and relieved to see Marines as I was seeing them come down onto our compound in the growing darkness.

As it turned out, the Brits tried something similar to what our GSO had proposed, but just to drive to the port city about an hour away and get on a ferry to Italy, and they were lucky to escape with their lives. All their vehicles were taken at gunpoint, and they wound up aboard a ferry with many of the very people they were running from. This, of course, is a danger we’re already seeing, as Taliban and other terrorists infiltrate escaping Afghans in their plans to bring attacks to the U.S. and other Western countries.

And now there is Afghanistan

If you look at the details of what we’ve done in Afghanistan, it makes our escapade in Albania look like a picnic in the park. Not only are the numbers enormously larger, the territory vastly bigger and more isolated, but the threat massively more dangerous and coordinated. And yet our so-called leadership approached our exit from the country apparently with less care, planning, or sense than we handled our evacuation from Albania.

Tell me, if you are one of those I’ve heard from who think this exit couldn’t have been handled any better, what kind of military strategy calls for surrendering your most secure base and means of ingress and egress — the Bagram Airfield, otherwise known as the Bagram Air Base, just 30 miles outside Kabul — before you have gotten all your interests out of the country? What kind of political or military calculation leads you to surrender hundreds of billions of dollars worth of valuable, useful, and lethal military hardware to the enemy? What kind of genius does it take not to see the advance of the Taliban, not in days, but over months, as they closed in on the capital? Who pulls out your on-the-ground intel capability while your citizens and assets are still in harm’s way? And what kind of calculation would one have to make to completely withdraw all of one’s troops, leaving behind more than 10,000 American citizens, thousands more citizens of our allies, and tens of thousands more of those Afghans and their families who assisted our 20-year effort in the country?

If none of that makes sense to you, you have more sense than our Babbler-in-Chief, his benighted advisers, and those in the top leadership who allowed and facilitated him to go through with such a catastrophic plan. But, wait! It gets better. Or, more correctly, worse. While we haven’t had a U.S. service member killed in almost a year and a half in Afghanistan, now you pull out all 2,500 troops, only to have to send 6,000 back in within days. And we give up our embassy, another key safe haven, because we have no capability to defend it, so we move everything to a civilian airport inadequate to the task it now has to carry out, and surrounded by hostile and malevolent forces.

None of this, none of what currently is being done, considers that thousands of Americans aren’t in the capital. They’re out in provincial cities, and in surrounding Medieval boondocks. Even those in Kabul have been prevented from getting to the airport. What is someone hundreds of hostile kilometers away supposed to do? “Stranded” is indeed the correct word for their situation, despite what Baghdad Bob Psaki says about the situation. And to listen to the child-idiot Sullivan, maybe they should just call an Uber. Such moronacy. Such callousness.

As one military person with on-the-ground experience in Afghanistan said, we need to send at least another 6,000 troops, above the 6,000 already sent — my estimate is closer to 12,000 additional — back in, and to secure every airport around the country, and escort AmCits and others to those airports to extract them from the country. They should be authorized to use whatever lethal force is needed to secure our citizens. But that isn’t being done, and already troops are being withdrawn so Jell-O Joe can meet the artificial deadline of August 31 he set, American citizens be damned. By another knowledgeable estimate, most troops are going to have to be withdrawn as early as the end of this week to meet the deadline. It’s hard to imagine a greater show of disregard for one’s own citizens, let alone the citizens of countries that supported us and helped us. Our credibility isn’t hurt in the world — it’s gone.

As CIA Director William Burns goes on bended knee to Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul to beg to extend the artificial deadline, and Baradar tells him to stuff it, we have officially turned 20 years of expenditure of blood and treasure and reasonable success to utter and acknowledged defeat. What can be more shameful?

Now at this point, maybe lying is the only defense you have left. And since the official pronouncements are so transparently and verifiably false, we’re left with our cadre of Baghdad Bobs in Washington. Even the toadies in the left-wing media can’t cover up such an obvious disaster. As one CNN reporter said from Kabul, she had been covering many crises in many places over many years, but she had never seen anything like what she was seeing in Kabul.

“It’s mayhem! It’s nuts!” she shouted on camera.

And meanwhile the top Dems, Pelosi and Schumer and the rest, party and dance and raise funds, and their NPR lackeys already are saying they hope the American public has a short memory when the 2022 mid-term elections come up.

I know one American who won’t forget this. Not in 2022. Not in 2024. Not ever. And I hope you don’t, either.

Baghdad Bob gif from gifimage.net, used under Fair Use.

“No One Being Killed in Kabul,” by Marcus Yam, Los AngelesTimes/Rex, from DailyMail.Com, used under Fair Use

This piece also appears in my Substack community, Issues That Matter. Please subscribe here, and there.

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