VDH UltraAngry Reader 09-12-2021

From An Angry Reader:

Subject: I expect better of a supposed historian

Your article criticizing the Biden administration for the failure in Afghanistan has several glaring holes in it. For one thing, your figure of $85 Billion in equipment is completely false, that was the cost to train the Afghan army over the course of twenty years, and NOT the cost of the equipment. Bagram airbase may have been abandoned over night, but so what? It was not tenable as a place to hold, so why should we try? No lists have been turned over to the Taliban. You consider our withdrawal from Afghanistan a disaster, how so? We lost thirteen Marines as we evacuated tens of thousands of Afghan Nationals who wanted to leave, and how could we have stayed? Surged more troops into a lost war? You have NO sense of history is you really believe that our leaving Afghanistan was a defeat. After twenty years of lost men and women, trillions spent in a useless war, President Biden had the guts to actually do the right thing, and get us out.


Edward Joesting


Dear Angry Reader Edward Joesting,

The $85 billion is not my figure but one released by the Pentagon to the media and widely accepted. If you attempt as I did to check that figure on federal websites, and try to determine the ratio between the weapons themselves and the costs to teach Afghans to use them (and the costs of many weapons systems have built into them the training expense necessary to use them), it is now impossible to find such information, apparently because the State Department has removed data (https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2021/08/23/staggering-costs–us-military-equipment-left-behind-in-afghanistan/?sh=2adae5ce41db). Why do you think they would do that?

You are completely wrong that the $85 billion was “the cost to train the Afghan army over the course of twenty years”: the cost represents all the equipment and the training required to use it, and we have no idea of the exact nature of the figure, given the theft, graft, and sloppy auditing of the last twenty years, but we do know we have given them well over $80 billion worth of weapons and the training necessary to use them (https://taskandpurpose.com/news/taliban-weapons-afghanistan/).

If Bagram airbase was not “tenable as a place to hold” what was the Kabul airport in comparison? Bagram was the linchpin to all US security and assistance in Afghanistan and the only place where the US, after spending several hundred million dollars on upgrades, could control air entry in and exit from Afghanistan, and dominate the air space of the country. Lists of evacuees have been turned over to the Taliban; thousands of programmed biometric scanners were left intact as well and are now in use by the Taliban.

I alone don’t consider the evacuation a disaster; 65 percent of the American people do as well, almost all of our NATO allies agree it was a catastrophe, and lots of Democrats agree.

Leaving Afghanistan and leaving in shame, defeat, and chaos are two different things. Most Americans agreed with the idea of the former but not the latter. Even the Russians left with less chaos than did we. No American had died in Afghanistan in 18 months. There was a way to stage a graduated and careful withdrawal that might have left the Afghan government in control with measured air support; but if that vestigial support was considered too costly, then even a complete withdrawal was possible without the mess we left behind. Biden, in contrast, had an agenda of announcing on 9/11 that he was the first president to yank out all troops. He did that, and in the process wrecked NATO for the near future, ensured a Taliban terrorist haven and arms mart, ruined US deterrence for the near future, guaranteed violence and death for anyone left behind in Afghanistan that was Westernized, and has encouraged our enemies to take risks that they otherwise would not have.

All that is not the “right” thing and it takes no “guts” but sheer insanity to ensure such disasters.

I expect better of a supposed angry reader.


Victor Hanson

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6 thoughts on “<span class="ultra-flag"><i class="fas fa-lock"></i>VDH Ultra</span>Angry Reader 09-12-2021”

  1. It’s like debating a high school student. Too many American’s are being feed sound bites instead of information. They are easy to spot.

  2. Right on Victor Davis Hanson, you correctly inventoried the solid reasons for leaving alongside the equally solid reason for doing so with serious thought. Biden wanted to have a gigantic photo op on 9/11 thus his haste to be gone by 8/31—totally unnecessary and militarily amateurish.

  3. Wasn’t this always going to be the case, though? American withdrawal would leave a massive fleet of humvees and other support vehicles behind because the cost of air-shipping them back to the States would far exceed the cost of simply leaving them there — with the excuse that they would be left ‘in the capable hands of the Afghani military’.

    If the withdrawal would have been handled by competent individuals not under the yoke of a Statler & Waldorf caricature/DNC stooge trying to salvage the midterm elections, they would have made the (still reigning) Afghani government pay for this assortment of vehicles, equipment and weaponry through mineral rights and other mining concessions.

  4. Angry reader forgot something important…What reader was angry about.
    Having high hopes for some rare good news from biden administration.
    Witnessing the disaster on live television could only produce said anger.
    In conclusion…the only thing that could make it worse was listening to biden mumble and bumble about his success while others..including democrats ran for cover from the disaster..Keep checking your watch Mr biden…because time is running out.

  5. The Biden backers only have–“we ended the 20 year war” . Liberals who like soundbites (agree with others on that) NEVER think about the “HOW”. or ABANDONNING Americans and allies. Anyone who can read and look at a map, knows the huge ongoing importance of Bagram.
    You were excessively kind to angry reader to try to explain to the mashed potatoes that pass for brains some of the basic researched facts.
    This grandmother supports you!
    Liz Rome

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