Ripples of Kabul

Victor Davis Hanson // American Greatness

The American-nurtured Afghan military of the last 20 years that had suffered thousands of prior casualties evaporated in a few hours in the encirclement of Kabul. 

Enlistees apparently calculated that their own meager chances with the premodern Taliban were still better than fighting as a dependency of the postmodern United States—despite its deterrent embassy pride flags, powerful diversity training programs, and indomitable new Afghan University gender studies majors.  

Forces more powerful than the Taliban, in places far more strategic, will now leverage a cognitively challenged American president, an ideologically driven but predictably incompetent administration, a woke Pentagon, and politically weaponized intelligence communities.

Why not, when Biden trashes both American frackers and the Saudis—only to beg the kingdom to rush to export more of its hated oil before the U.S. midterms?

Why not, when Biden asks Putin to request that Russian-related hackers be a little less rowdy in their selection of U.S. targets?

And why not when our own military jousts with the windmills of “white supremacy” as Afghans fall from U.S. military jets in fatal desperation to reach such a supposedly toxically racist nation?

Biden keeps repeating that he was bound by Trump’s planned withdrawal. 



A mercurial Trump repeatedly demonstrated he was willing to use air power to protect U.S. personnel and to bomb the “sh-t” out of an Islamic would-be caliphate. The Taliban knew that and so struck when Trump was gone.

Biden claims he was bound by the Trump decision to withdraw and thus cannot be blamed for his reckless operation of a predetermined departure. But all Biden has done since entering office was to destroy Trump pacts—overturning past agreements on energy leases, protocols with Latin America and Mexico on border security, the Abraham Accords, and pipeline contracts.

No sooner did Biden claim he was straight jacketed by Trump, than he reversed course to defend not just his own withdrawal but the disastrous manner of it. In his dotage, Biden claims that he has no free will, while insisting he would have done nothing differently had he such.

In a sane world, the Joint Chiefs and the secretary of defense would resign. We have heard for too long their careerist boasts about assigning climate change as their chief challenge. For too long they have virtue signaled their critical race theory credentials to Congress. For too long, they have bragged about rooting out alleged “white supremacists” from their ranks. For too long they have sparred with journalists, while fighting twitter wars and issuing cartoonish commercials attesting to their woke credentials. 


In other words, they sermonized on anything and everything—except their plans to prevent a humiliating military defeat of U.S. forces and their allies. 

Our intelligence and investigatory agencies are just as morally suspect. The legacy of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, and Andrew McCabe has been the destruction of the reputations of the CIA, NSA, and FBI.

Current and retired intelligence lackeys and careerists all wasted years promulgating Russian “collusion.” They swore Hunter Biden’s laptop was Russian “disinformation.” They doctored evidence, surveilled and unmasked officials, and hatched adolescent plots against an elected president. All that was more important to their careers than warning of the growing existential threats in Afghanistan. 

In the aftermath of the Afghan debacle, we must depoliticize and de-weaponize these warped agencies and incompetent institutions. 

We could get a symbolic start by pulling security clearances from all retired operatives, officers, and diplomats who go on television to offer partisan analyses, by winking and nodding about their elite access to top-secret raw data. 

The retired and pensioned top brass should finally be held to account if they violate tenets of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. When four-stars lecture the nation that an elected president is a Mussolini or Nazi-like but keep mum during the greatest military setback in a half-century, they should forfeit exemptions from existing military codes.

Retired officers who revolve in and out of corporate defense contractor boards to Pentagon billets should have a cooling off period of five years before leveraging their inside knowledge of the Pentagon procurement labyrinth.


As for Joe Biden, his team in defeat threatens the victorious Taliban with possible ostracism from global diplomacy as the price of their illiberality. We are to assume that in between executing women, the Taliban will fear losing the chance to visit the UN in New York.

Biden himself has defied a Supreme Court ruling and assumed that it was a good thing to have broken the law. Under his watch, the fate of America’s border, voting integrity, equal enforcement of the laws, economy, energy, safety from crime, foreign policy and racial relations have imploded—and in seven months no less.

If Joe Biden were a Republican, the current Democratic House would long ago have impeached him. After the Kabul catastrophe, even the bipartisan Senate might well have convicted him. And both would have been right to have done so.


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10 thoughts on “Ripples of Kabul”

  1. If Biden would follow your advice…what should we do now both in the short term but also in the long term. And President Trump cited an annual cost of $47 Billion (the US paying Afghan army troops??) and huge corruption (South Vietnam I think had much corruption too) as a big reason to leave; why didn’t we spend the last 20 years helping the Afghans develop their Copper and Lithium resources so THEY could pay their troops and us when we spent millions firing missiles to protect them? (The Chinese WILL do this for the Taliban!!) Why does our government think the way they do (poorly); or rather NOT think??

  2. As usual a perfect encapsulation by Victor of our national dilemma. Sadly executed by a small cabal of lunatics.

  3. Where, O where, are the voices of the elected who stated in their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the land ??? Craven cowards….feckless fools

  4. Charles Carroll

    Why only pull the security clearances of retired personnel who go on television? Why do any of these people have clearances? Clearances are supposed to be granted on a “need to know” basis. These people do NOT have a need to know. There is a difference between clearances and the background investigations that support such clearances. Pull the clearances whenever any person, retired or active, leaves a billet requiring those levels of clearances. They can be quickly reinstated at such time as they are appropriate unless the background investigation time has expired. Supplemental background investigations will not take that long when needed.

    1. Charles Carroll

      Supplemental note: When I was transferred from Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic to Headquarters Marine Corps, my clearance was DOWNGRADED from Top Secret/NATO Cosmic to Secret because that is all I needed.

  5. Great articles. Dr. Hanson is a wonderful speaker and writer. Very astute I just want to mention, in case you haven’t seen or heard:
    1) The Taliban are saying that they want, “unity,” in their country😃
    2) A couple days ago, a Western reporter asked a Taliban member if they will allow freedom of speech. The Taliban responded, asking, ” why dont you ask Twitter if they allow freedom of speech?” Both instances of mocking the Dems/Left. They know who they are dealing with.

  6. Why does the US military NOT either destroy the passes to Pakistan, or deploy hardened outposts there to cut off the Al Qaeda and Taliban from moving back and forth to Pakistan?? This seems an obvious military strategy to cut off a military from its supply base!

    You wrote about this in reference to Patton.

    Love your many books and articles. I too live on a small farm in Indiana – it keeps one grounded in the real, natural world.

  7. Phil Van Schepen

    The current military command reminds me of the French general c o mmand in WWI and WWII.
    More worried about appearance than reality.

  8. AFriendFromEurope

    The polarization is the business model of a lot of people apparently. Victor in a very short article attacking almost all of the US institutions. Poor America.

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