Patterico's Pontifications

9/1/2021

President Biden To President Ghani: You’ve Got Some “Perception Problems”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:48 am



[guest post by Dana]

Reuters has an eye-opening report about the leaked transcript of a phone call on July 23 between President Biden and now-in-exile Afghan President Ghani. It’s surprising how President Biden didn’t seem concerned about a Taliban threat. However, it was only weeks before that he told us that “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely,” so… Anyway, the phone call centered on “perception problem,” and Biden’s thoughts on how to address those:

In the last call between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Afghanistan counterpart before the Taliban seized control of the country, the leaders discussed military aid, political strategy and messaging tactics, but neither Biden nor Ashraf Ghani appeared aware of or prepared for the immediate danger of the entire country falling to insurgents, a transcript reviewed by Reuters shows.

In much of the call, Biden focused on what he called the Afghan government’s “perception” problem. “I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” Biden said. “And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

Biden told Ghani that if Afghanistan’s prominent political figures were to give a press conference together, backing a new military strategy, “that will change perception, and that will change an awful lot I think.”

The American leader’s words indicated he didn’t anticipate the massive insurrection and collapse to come 23 days later. “We are going to continue to fight hard, diplomatically, politically, economically, to make sure your government not only survives, but is sustained and grows,” said Biden.

After the call, the White House released a statement that focused on Biden’s commitment to supporting Afghan security forces and the administration seeking funds for Afghanistan from Congress.

While President Biden didn’t appear to feel that time was of the essence, President Ghani at least had an inkling of what might come:

Ghani told Biden he believed there could be peace if he could “rebalance the military solution.” But he added, “We need to move with speed.”

“We are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this,” Ghani said. Afghan government officials, and U.S. experts, have consistently pointed to Pakistani support for the Taliban as key to the group’s resurgence.

The White House has not responded to the report.

It’s still mind-boggling to me that there didn’t appear to be any real concern that the Taliban would rise up en masse at the opportunity and that we might find ourselves scrambling to get our people out. And most unbelievably, while completely reliant on the generosity of the Taliban. I’m guessing that whoever leaked the transcript of Biden and Ghani’s phone call must have felt an even more intense shock and revulsion.

–Dana

85 Responses to “President Biden To President Ghani: You’ve Got Some “Perception Problems””

  1. Hello.

    Dana (174549)

  2. When it comes to leaking transcripts of Presidential phone calls to foreign leaders… the Deep State strikes again!

    B.A. DuBois (80f588)

  3. “We are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists, predominantly Pakistanis thrown into this,” Ghani said. Afghan government officials, and U.S. experts, have consistently pointed to Pakistani support for the Taliban as key to the group’s resurgence.

    People in the Afghan government have always mentioned Pakistan, and been ignored.

    The United States needed to read the riot act to Pakistan and threaten immediate severe sanctions and more.

    But the U.S. believed its intelligence.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  4. Now it’s probably not the actual Pakistani government, but a rogue agency or a smaller group within it
    That doesn’t want to expose itself by making a coup.

    A rogue agency that other people are afraid to tamper with. Benazir Bhutto got killed..

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  5. Surprise! The puddle of puss is a festering, insincere, lying, malarkey, blarney, and Beaush!t- shoveling mean-tempered Irish-Catholic mick after all.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  6. Hey, look: an actual impeachable phone call featuring a President actually pressuring a foreign leader to lie because it would benefit him politically.

    Edoc118 (099eea)

  7. The contents of the call aren’t very earth shattering but the fact that it’s been leaked is interesting.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  8. @7

    The contents of the call aren’t very earth shattering but the fact that it’s been leaked is interesting.

    Time123 (9f42ee) — 9/1/2021 @ 5:38 pm

    The fact that it was leaked is outrageous.

    I don’t like these kinds of leaks, even against an administration that I’m against politically and I certainly didn’t like it when it happened during the Trump years. This is one of those awful precedents that the left/democrat cheered under Trump years and are not gnashing their teeth because it’s their party is in the Whitehouse.

    whembly (ae0eb5)

  9. I read about this earlier today, I believe it was on NRO, and there was another eyebrow-raising bit of the call that ought not to go unnoticed. Apparently President Biden promised President Ghani that the U.S. would continue to provide air support to the Afghan forces until the withdrawal was complete. We only pulled the rug out from under them — what? — two or three weeks early? It goes to show that Joe Biden just says what he thinks is the right thing to say at any given moment, and is utterly insincere.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  10. @9 It also shows Biden trying to establish some quid pro quo for political reasons. That same sort of thing that Trump was impeached over (Ukraine).

    Democrats don’t have any reason to complain if GOP take over Congress and starts impeachment proceedings over this. (I don’t believe this reaches to the level of impeachment…bad policies are just bad, and the voters wanted Biden. So, we get it good and hard here).

    whembly (ae0eb5)

  11. #10 What quid pro quo? And you see no difference between the president making promises to a foreign leader that he cannot keep and actively trying to get that foreign leader to initiate a bogus corruption investigation of a political opponent?

    Victor (4959fb)

  12. I’ve yet to see a critique of Biden’s actions from the right that didn’t boil down to – we should have stayed in Afghanistan and brought in more troops. Keeping Bagram? How many more troops would that have required? And how many more in addition to make sure people could get safely to Bagram?

    Biden’s administration did not forsee a quick collapse, a failure of intelligence and taking in all contingencies. But whenever the collapse did happen, you’d have seen pretty much the same results unless, again, you chose to bring in just a whole bunch more troops. And for those who are horrified at the loss of 13 Americans in the bombing, how many more do you think would have died if we restarted the war?

    From my perspective Biden’s main error was not expediting processing of refugees from an earlier moment. But given that Republicans are currently swinging massively against allowing refugees into the U.S., the same ones that they were oh so concerned about a week ago, I can understand why Biden was hesitant to make the process of asylum easier.

    Victor (4959fb)

  13. Whembly, can you explain how you see a corrupt quid pro quo in this?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  14. Follow the money… http://ace.mu.nu/archives/fundingthetaliban.png

    Economic assistance… to the Taliban so they can fight ISIS-K? Yeah… makes sense.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  15. Building Billions in Bribes Better

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  16. Let’s keep nibbling around the edges, shall we?

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  17. Victor (4959fb) — 9/1/2021 @ 11:55 pm

    They already had Bagram. The general contention is they should have held it until later in the process.

    The original plan was to delay the collapse until after the US left. Keeping Bagram and the air support that was sourced from there is expected to have helped with that.

    There have been a number of comments here, and ones I’ve seen other places, that was something other than stay with more troops. I’ve also noticed this common binary argument you’re making between expand the war and exactly what happened. There a number of possible outcomes that exist between the bad withdrawal we saw and staying forever with more troops.

    frosty (f27e97)

  18. 12.

    I’ve yet to see a critique of Biden’s actions from the right that didn’t boil down to – we should have stayed in Afghanistan and brought in more troops.

    Well, no. From the pro-Trump right, it’s also that we should have left, but done it differently, somehow. It;s incoherent, and the aps in the argument are never closed.

    There’s plenty of criticism of abandoning Afghanistan, but it’s not aligned with support for any politician.

    Keeping Bagram? How many more troops would that have required? And how many more in addition to make sure people could get safely to Bagram?

    The arguments for keeping Bagram seem to be that it was valuable for reasons not connected with Afghanistan, that it was easier to protect and should have been kept along with Hamid Karzai International Airport (but Biden wanted a limited number of soldiers and mainly wanted to protect the embassy) , and perhaps should been the last place in Afghanistan the United States left from, and that there was a prison there that held about 1,000 of the worst or most capable terrorists, many belonging to ISIS – and that if it was abandoned, we should have taken the prisoners with us.

    The problem with the prisoners is that they were in Afghan custody, (mainly for diplomatic and political reasons, as the previous Administrations wanted to hold as few “war on terror” prisoners as possible and hadn’t added any to Guantanamo in maybe a dozen years) but at least some could have been taken away just like they were taken in 2002.

    Biden’s administration did not foresee a quick collapse,

    But on August 31, he seems to have claimed they did.

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/08/31/remarks-by-president-biden-on-the-end-of-the-war-in-afghanistan

    That assumption — that the Afghan government would be able to hold on for a period of time beyond military drawdown — turned out not to be accurate.

    But I still instructed our national security team to prepare for every eventuality — even that one. And that’s what we did.

    So, we were ready when the Afghan Security Forces — after two decades of fighting for their country and losing thousands of their own — did not hold on as long as anyone expected.

    Who knows to what degree any of that might be true?

    Did someone mention that idea in a footnote, or at the end of a sentence? Or is that a half truth? Was the lowest estimate several weeks after the last American soldier was out? Or maybe they did say the collapse of Kabul was a possibility – about a week – or less – before it happened?

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  19. continuing whembly @10

    a failure of intelligence and taking in all contingencies. But whenever the collapse did happen, you’d have seen pretty much the same results

    No, it could have been worse had it happened closer to the August 31 withdrawal date. Only that caused the United States to speed up its evacuation,

    Of course it would have been better had it happened at least several months after August 31 – which is what the Biden Administration was hoping for – no, it was hoping for several years. Nobody was saying it could survive indefinitely, but they wanted them to fight on as long as they could.

    But Ghani didn’t want to make Kabul into Warsaw or Beirut and die himself.

    unless, again, you chose to bring in just a whole bunch more troops. And for those who are horrified at the loss of 13 Americans in the bombing, how many more do you think would have died if we restarted the war?

    Biden wants you to think a lot, but this is another example of his making intentionally faulty arguments.

    https://nypost.com/2021/08/31/biden-blames-trump-for-afghan-pullout-then-takes-credit-for-it

    He suggested, as he has before, that the only reason the American military went without fatalities in Afghanistan between February 2020 and the terrorist assault on them last week was that Trump and the Taliban had agreed they wouldn’t attack us. Come on, man. Look at the American fatality numbers in Afghanistan before any such deal was struck.

    There were nine in 2016. There were 14 in 2017 and 14 in 2018. There were 21 in 2019. We had the Taliban relatively contained.

    Biden claimed the choice “was between leaving and escalating.” That claim does not hold water. In point of fact, we were providing support and air cover for Afghan forces and could have continued to do so.

    It wouldn;t have been escalating, although you still had a drip drip of dead American military — but maybe somebody could have thought of something or deterred the Taliban. The United States could intervene more actively in the fighting if attacked.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  20. From my perspective Biden’s main error was not expediting processing of refugees from an earlier moment.

    He didn’t really want to.

    His goal was to promise much and do little, on the premise that, so long as he got sme in, the pro-Afghan people would look at his promises, while the anti-immigration or even anti-refugee people would look at the number of admissions per quarter.

    But given that Republicans are currently swinging massively against allowing refugees into the U.S., the same ones that they were oh so concerned about a week ago, I can understand why Biden was hesitant to make the process of asylum easier.

    I understand it too but don’t “understand” it. I understand why he misled everybody also.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  21. This was really poorly done. (And shouldn’t have been done at all) But I don’t think these events were a worst case scenario. I do think a great withdrawal (leave no person or material behind) would have required more troops and likely more casualties.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  22. Error by me:

    Number 21 (and 20) was responding to Victor @12, not whembly @10..

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  23. Time123 (9f42ee) — 9/2/2021 @ 7:28 am

    ) But I don’t think these events were a worst case scenario.

    Worst case scenario was Kabul falling to the Taliban from a Friday to a Monday August 27 to 30, or a week or two later.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  24. I’ve also noticed this common binary argument you’re making between expand the war and exactly what happened.

    Pretty crazy that the same people who were insisting six years ago that our only two choices were entering into the Iran Deal or going to war with them (remember how Ben Rhodes crowed that the Obama Administration had cowed empty-headed young reporters into repeating that canard?) are now trying to insist that our only options in Afghanistan were to withdraw by the agreed-upon date or go to war with the Taliban. And this even after it has been reported that the Taliban offered to stay out of Kabul until we had completed our mission.

    Look, the Trump Administration set the stage for this by removing a few thousand troops far too early, but the Biden Administration then took a bad situation and found a way to make it dramatically worse.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  25. Sammy, Worst case scenario was many thousands of Americans taken captive and the Taliban attempting to inflict maximum casualties while we retreated. Picture Kabul as a war zone and lunatics trying to shoot down planes who tried to enter or leave.

    Or Isis taking control of Kabul and doing the same while the Taliban stood back while we fought them.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  26. The arguments for keeping Bagram seem to be that it was valuable for reasons not connected with Afghanistan, that it was easier to protect and should have been kept along with Hamid Karzai International Airport (but Biden wanted a limited number of soldiers and mainly wanted to protect the embassy) , and perhaps should been the last place in Afghanistan the United States left from, and that there was a prison there that held about 1,000 of the worst or most capable terrorists, many belonging to ISIS – and that if it was abandoned, we should have taken the prisoners th us.

    If you keep Bagram and Hamid Karzai, you’re talking about maintaining a lot of troops. How many I don’t know because I am not an expert on logistics, but it took 5-6,000 to keep good control of one airport, so at least twice I assume. And if the theory is that we are also keeping control of prisoners, that means more. And if the other theory is that we abandon Karzai first, and Bagram second, then how are all those refugees going to get to Bagram? The whole point of that place was that it was off by itself, and easy to defend. That implies even more troops to protect convoys of refugees from other places.

    As for the idea that we we weren’t losing too many troops each year before the Trump Deal, and so we could just go back to the status quo ante by keeping in a few thousand with air support, well as someone once said the enemy also gets a vote. Why would the Taliban be content with that kind of stalemate. If it’s reasonably clear that the only thing making the occupation bearable is that “only” 20 or troops are killed each year, then what stops them, really, from killing more troops?

    Victor (4959fb)

  27. JVW, Why do you assume that destroying all material left behind, including items that were ‘owned’ by the Afghan government wouldn’t have taken more troops? I don’t know how many or what casualty rate but it wouldn’t have been zero.

    Also, what does it mean when the Taliban offered to let us have Kabul? At the point they made that offer what would that have gained us? I heard they were fighting with Isis there. Would we have gotten to do that instead?

    I’m not saying that it wasn’t a mistake not to keep Bagrem airport or that this was done well. But assuming we could get better results with no additional resources or trade off doesn’t make sense to me.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  28. @20

    Well, no. From the pro-Trump right, it’s also that we should have left, but done it differently, somehow. It;s incoherent, and the aps in the argument are never closed.

    I might have lost the thread here. I don’t think pro-Trump is making a strong case for staying with more troops. These comments may not be indicative of the larger public but Time123 and Dustin are hardly pro-Trump and they’re in the stay with more troops camp.

    The pro-Trump camp is being accused of not caring about AF other than to use it as a wedge against JB. Part of the incoherence you’re seeing is both inconsistent statements by pro-Trump people and inconsistent statements being assigned to them by their critics.

    There’s also a bit of inconsistency on what “it” is. There is a claim that the AF government was always going to fall even though that wasn’t the claim made by the administration prior to beginning the drawdown. So, the post US in AF case is one “it”. Another “it”, is the drawdown itself, ie the US trying to evacuate.

    Even if both of those were going to be chaotic and violent I’d have expected a) more honesty up front and 2) something better than “well f it, this is the best we can do”.

    If the AF government was always going to fall why leave weapons and equipment? The answer there is obvious. JB didn’t want the blame so it’s easier to give the Taliban equipment and now money to avoid that.

    If the evacuation needed more people to secure Kabul and Bagram why not do that? Also obvious. Biden doesn’t want any deaths that can be assigned to something he ordered. These last few deaths are from defensive actions and he doesn’t really take responsibility for those. Ordering enough troops in to extend the secure area in Kabul was a bridge to far for him.

    This last issue should be a big concern for everyone. He is a coward. It’s him confirming his inability to say yes to killing OBL. Biden’s foreign policy consists of not getting soldiers killed at any cost.

    frosty (f27e97)

  29. Just a reminder that while some are trying to read the tea leaves and make excuses for Biden there are still tons of Americans caught behind enemy lines and abandoned by this administration.

    But carry on carrying water.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  30. @10

    Whembly, can you explain how you see a corrupt quid pro quo in this?

    Time123 (9f42ee) — 9/2/2021 @ 3:03 am

    The fundamental argument about Trump’s impeachment was the corrupt ask for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens, his likely and eventual political opponent. It was argued that the only reason why he asked this were for corrupt reasons (even though it could be argue that there was some colorable reason for the investigation).

    The Biden-Ghani call is arguably corrupt in a similar way in that Biden (and Blinkin) advocated for Ghani to lie about the incoming collaspe so that they can “shift the narrative” in a more favorable light in order to continue with the evacuation without any realities on the ground and without concerns for the safety of everyone. What’s worst, Biden (the quid pro quo part) issued a carrot, the air support, to convince Ghani to publicly lie on behalf of Biden.

    It’s no wonder Ghani left Afghanistan shortly after that.

    Now, personally, I don’t believe this rises to the level of impeachment (I didn’t think Trump’s Ukraine call either). But, if Democrats is going to apply that standard, don’t be surprised when GOP applies the same standard when they’re in power.

    Hence my repeated claims… the precedents set by critics of Trump will eventually come around to bite them.

    Karma.

    whembly (3bda0a)

  31. Victor (4959fb) — 9/2/2021 @ 8:00 am

    I wouldn’t assume Bagram would take the same number of people to secure as the Kabul airport. Bagram has a lot of physical security that Kabul doesn’t have. But I’m no expert either. But we had Bagram and I don’t see any reason we needed to add more people there to keep it secure.

    There are at least two reasons to keep Bagram. You’ve cited one and listed the problems with that. The second one is that the air support provided by the US is widely believed to be the thing propping up the AF government. One of the reasons cited for the AF government collapsing so fast was that once the US shutdown Bagram it triggered the beginning of the end. So, the second reason to keep Bagram open until last was to delay the fall of the AF government until after the US had evacuated as many civilians as it could. That’s the case even if Bagram isn’t used for evacuation of refugees.

    frosty (f27e97)

  32. @33 frosty, I’m with you here… I don’t understand why others don’t believe there was a better way, and the way it happened was always going to be messy.

    Bagram was already secured and was providing Air Support for the AF army.

    A hypothetical troop surge would only be enough to secure Kabal, and along with Bagram providing air support, that should be a very easy and painless thing for our military.

    whembly (3bda0a)

  33. 31… Rob… it’s a great way to have them unknowingly peel back the onion, thus revealing their true selves.

    Colonel Haiku (5add1e)

  34. Look, the Trump Administration set the stage for this by removing a few thousand troops far too early, but the Biden Administration then took a bad situation and found a way to make it dramatically worse.

    No.

    This is all on Choo-Choo Joey; he engineered it.

    Some ride Amtrak; some just blow it.

    “Think ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?” – Sundance Kid [Robert Redford] ‘Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid’ 1969

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  35. https://justthenews.com/government/security/were-americans-people-screaming-outside-gates-kabul-airport-turned-away

    “People were turned away from the gate by our own Army,” Yon said.

    After the episode ended and the Americans scattered to safe houses to avoid being captured, Yon wrote a stinging email to an Army major whose team had tried to coordinate the rescue before abandoning it.

    “You guys left American citizens at the gate of the Kabul airport,” Yon wrote Tuesday to the commander. “Three empty jets paid for by volunteers were waiting for them. You and I talked on the phone. I told you where they were. Gave you their passport images. And my email and phone number. And you left them behind.”

    He added: “Great job saving yourselves. Probably get a lot of medals.”

    Michael Yon doing the work our media deliberately hides.

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  36. Mean. Angry. Defensive. “Lying dog-faced pony soldier.” The ‘new’ Gold Star families are letting us know the true face of Biden. If he stepped into the street and was clipped by a 1976 Camaro, Americans would weep for the injured… Camaro.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  37. DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 9/2/2021 @ 9:00 am

    Is this something that would buff out with a little bondo or will somebody need to source parts? The former might be forgivable but the latter is impeachable.

    frosty (f27e97)

  38. “Buff out with Bondo”?

    You are not following the directions…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  39. Whembly, thank you for the reply. From the piece it appears that Biden was mostly concerned with the perception within Afghanistan that there was no plan to defeat the taliban and wanted Ghani to do a press conference with other local leaders to convince the Afghan people that there was a plan that would work. Basically telling a US ally to fix their local moral problem. I don’t see that as a corrupt act as helping maintain a friendly government in Afghanistan is in the US interest.

    Also, this call was in late July, before this was much of a domestic political story. That timing diminishes the likelihood that he was asking in an effort to help his domestic political standing.

    Do you see it differently?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  40. A hypothetical troop surge would only be enough to secure Kabal, and along with Bagram providing air support, that should be a very easy and painless thing for our military.

    whembly (3bda0a) — 9/2/2021 @ 8:36 am

    I think we should have kept Bagram open. But I think any assumption that things would be painless and easy is probably wrong.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  41. @41 Yes, I see it differently.

    Biden *knew* the Talibans was winning, even at the July phone call. He miscalculated badly how the AF army would hold up after losing the air support, but even then that was apparent.

    Furthermore, the “narrative” wasn’t about the local moral problem. The Narrative was for the world too.

    whembly (867f2f)

  42. If the AF government was always going to fall why leave weapons and equipment? The answer there is obvious. JB didn’t want the blame so it’s easier to give the Taliban equipment and now money to avoid that.

    The Afghan army had a lot of that equipment in their possession. Unless you’re suggesting we should have disarmed them before we left our only option was to take it back from the Taliban, which really wasn’t feasible.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  43. @43, Yes, he knew they were winning. that’s why he was telling Ghani he needed to do change things up and rally his people so the army wouldn’t give up so easily.

    How about this, if I’m right on what he was saying do you still think this was corrupt? If so we can move on to what he actually said and what it meant.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  44. @45 I don’t believe the primary purpose was to tell Ghani he needed to change things up and rally his people. I believe he was trying to buy time, politically, for US domestic and US allies purposes so that he wouldn’t be pressured enough to change his withdrawal plans. He even DROPPED a carrot on Ghani by holding the US air support in play for this request.

    whembly (867f2f)

  45. Even if you’re right isn’t buying time while we withdraw a US policy interest?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  46. @47 To allow him to haphazardly withdraw as he did while fending off pressures to change his plans? Absolutely not in US policy interest.

    whembly (867f2f)

  47. C’mon, man… we got 90% out!

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  48. “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” this is Biden pushing a fallacy. No one asked for a forever exit, assuming that moronic phrase means anything. What Americans want is American citizens safely out of Afghanistan, that would not take forever, or even a year, just a matter of days, perhaps weeks. Biden has often hailed himself as a “foreign policy expert”, a diplomat extraordinaire. A diplomat able to tie his own shoelaces ought to be able to settle those days or weeks past August 31 with the Taliban, particular with American power at his back, military or monetary.

    Following the safe return of our people, Americans demand a reckoning — not the usual consequence-free, Janet Reno style I take full responsibility — we want heads to roll — mass firings of general officers, Pentagon assholes, State Department flunkeys, specifically Mark Milley and all his staff, Anthony Blinken and all his staff, Lloyd Austin and all his staff. We want them fired, dismissed, disgraced for gross incompetence bordering on treason. No severance pay, no pension, no golden parachute. Personally, I’d like to see a degradation ceremony done on Milley, something like what was done to Alfred Dreyfus, except with more gusto since Dreyfus was innocent and Milley is as guilty as any guilty man in history. I’d love to watch his phony-baloney decorations ripped from his tunic, his stars torn from his epaulets, and his sword broken over the knee of a Marine gunnery sergeant.

    h/t Quaestor

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  49. Whembly, so you’re saying he knew our plan wasn’t working and was trying to hide that fact?

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  50. @52 Yes, he had all the information he needed. The military brass tried to steer Biden in different direction. The States department clamored for changes. He had his mind fixed on the 8/31 withdrawal date, hell or high-water and has created an avoidable man-made disaster.

    whembly (3bda0a)

  51. Whembly, I agree with everything you said there. But unfortunately that was out policy, leave ASAP, make a deal with the Taliban not to hurt us while we ran away, hope the Afghan government survived for a while. It’s a stupid execution in support of a bad goal, but I think this call seems like a non-corrupt action in support of that (stupid) plan.

    Time123 (9f42ee)

  52. The Afghan army had a lot of that equipment in their possession. Unless you’re suggesting we should have disarmed them before we left our only option was to take it back from the Taliban, which really wasn’t feasible.

    In their possession as in they owned it, yeah, we gave it to them, but it was theirs. The fact that they did absolutely nothing to keep it is the real problem. Just goes to show that that there is Talibanistan, yes, they’ve been going by the name of Afghanistan for 20 years, but it was always thus. At most, the president of Afghanistan was the Mayor of Kabul, and not even all of that. Any training element you talk to could identify 2 general outlines of recruit, motivated probable Taliban sympathizer that you might bribe to be on your side but don’t let him behind you in a fire fight. And a lazy good for nothing that got goat roped into being a recruit, where you don’t want to be in the same zip code as him when he let fly.

    We trained them up on bog standard either Canadian C7 or M16’s, with the odd M4 thrown in for “special forces”. Most had CompM2’s or ACOGs and you could still find guys missing the entire target at 100 meters. Granted, I was watching a reserve battalion, but a properly zeroed ACOG will get you an expert score every single time with almost no effort. You have to try to suck, and boy did they suck.

    I wouldn’t let them escort one of my convoys from Bagram to Kabul with loaded weapons, too dangerous, not of green on blue on purpose danger, just because some yahoo is playing with his weapon and happens to let 15 rounds fly just at anything in general.

    Afghanistan isn’t a country, doesn’t want to be a country, with the Taliban, it’s still not a country, it’s tribal, like from 1450 just add machine guns.

    Would leaving a 5k QRF with CAS at Bagram indefinitely helped the US in any way, debatable, but most likely aircraft would suffice, and those we can launch cross border, or from Dayton Ohio. ToT might be longer, but risks are lower, to our folks. Supporting a FOB of that size at the end of a secure supply line is expensive. Launching a few LRCM’s a week is a pretty cheap alternative, and you get a live fire test range. In the instance you need boots, we have created a massive SOF that is perfectly capable of taking on battalion size units, which you wouldn’t do because you’d still have total air superiority.

    I’m not saying just anyone can take over Afghanistan, but if Jeff Bezos had a pointy stick and an urge to spend $100B on a private army, he could rent it for a good long time, just with the pointy stick and a large wallet. But why, it has zero strategic value, it’s less than zero actually.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (8938e1)

  53. @53 I’m trying to convince you it’s more serious than that.

    Here’s good break down with more details:
    https://nypost.com/2021/09/01/joe-bidens-call-to-afghan-president-is-impeachable-devine/

    I still disagree that this is impeachable… but, under the same standards that was used for Trump’s phone call, this Biden call arguable would meet that standard.

    whembly (867f2f)

  54. Reports are out there that there was intel that we knew who the suicide bomber was that murdered our Marines and Afghani civilians, we had a lock on his position before the bombing, but that we refused to pull the trigger because it might upset the Taliban.

    If that’s true, heads must roll and how far up the chain of command must it go?

    NJRob (eb56c3)

  55. Ghani probably didn’t want to derail the briber-in chief’s personal agenda at the time he was about to head off off to UAE with $135M. Biden tied aid to the things he wanted: I want this this and this and we will continue to give you this this and this.
    Of course being Biden, he didn’t comprehend that American air power was the only way to save Afghanistan from the Taliban

    steveg (ebe7c1)

  56. Telling an “ally” that he ought to butch up a little in public is not impeachable.

    Although telling an employee the same thing in America might be actionable as sex discrimination.

    nk (1d9030)

  57. C’mon, man… we got 90% out!

    Earth to Joe; Earth to Joe:

    This isn’t Apollo 13.

    It’s Apollo 1.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  58. One interesting thing about this callll is that Reuters claims to have also a recording.

    Probably ever since Nixon, a president hasn’t recorded anything. In cases where they wanted a record, and this was mostly for conversations with foreign leaders, whether made by the president or the Secretary of State, the call would be transcribed. (The FBI also wiretapped the calls f some foreign ambassadors but these were not virclated through normal channels, and of course the foreign countries might make their own recordings.

    Trump’s call on July 25, 2019 with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelendky was listened to by a number of people who took notes, and they also had a system in place, like that for transcribing voicemail messages that made atranscript *which was corrected by those who had listened in. The original recording was not kept or maybe even made.

    This system may have since changed, or maybe the recording and transcript was made by the Afghans and taken out of the country. By Afghan president Ghani or somebody else. I’m inclined to think this came from somebody from the Afghan side. After all, the people with a record of leaking on the U.S. side mostly oppose Republicans.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  59. 57. NJRob (eb56c3) — 9/2/2021 @ 12:40 pm

    Reports are out there that there was intel that we knew who the suicide bomber was that murdered our Marines and Afghani civilians, we had a lock on his position before the bombing, but that we refused to pull the trigger because it might upset the Taliban.

    And the ISIS-K car bomb maybe didn’t even exist. We destroyed the car of an innocent person from a family with people seeking to leave the country.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  60. 41. Time123 (9f42ee) — 9/2/2021 @ 9:50 am

    Basically telling a US ally to fix their local moral problem.

    The problem, Ghani tried to tell him, was that it wasn’t a morale problem, it was a real problem, and it wasn’t a civil war, but Pakistan was behind it all, and even some of the Taliban soldiers were from Pakistan – it was an invasion he said, and Afghanistan could not repel with some United States military help because their army was not designed to function without it.

    But Biden wasn’t listening, and evven now people aren’t listening to that.

    Biden also told him that there was a need, whether it is true or not, to project a different picture of the prospects of success of the Afghan army. Which could be argued meant only that you have to do that, whether you are right or wrong, or else you’ll surely be conquered.

    I see this as Biden trying to press his strategy on the Afghan government and determined not to let himself be argued out of complete withdrawal by August 31 decision.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  61. And the ISIS-K car bomb maybe didn’t even exist. We destroyed the car of an innocent person from a family with people seeking to leave the country.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c) — 9/2/2021 @ 8:55 pm

    Damn you, Lee Iacocca! At least it wasn’t another Toyota.

    urbanleftbehind (c073c9)

  62. 64. It looks more like there was a direct attack on the car of the man parking at his house and not a secondary explosion – which might mean that there was no car bomb there at all.

    The United States was just told that a certain make and model of car was going to be used as a car bomb.

    I’m trying to find something on point. The best I found right now is this (qhich notes there is an investigation going on)

    https://thehill.com/policy/defense/570402-top-general-acknowledges-others-killed-in-drone-strike-targeting-isis-car-bomb

    In a news conference marking this week’s end to 20 years of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley reiterated that an investigation into Sunday’s strike is ongoing, but defended the strike as “still valid” and “righteous.”

    “We had very good intelligence that ISIS-K was preparing a specific-type vehicle at a specific-type location,” Milley said, referring to the Afghan branch of ISIS. “We monitored that through various means, and all of the engagement criteria were being met. We went through the same level of rigor that we’ve done for years.”

    There’s been a problem for years!

    The precedent in Afghanistan is, that the person who calls in the air strike, or provides the information, is the one responsible for any innocent deaths, and Afghans have mostly accepted that over the last 20 years..

    I think reports from the scene were that twoooooooooooooooooo cars were damaged, but the one destroyed more belonged to the man returning from work and it was a direct hit, not a secondary explosion/ |But it is hard to get the facts – we even had two suicide bombers at Kabul airport and now they say there was just one.)

    Milley:

    “We know from the variety of other means that at least one of those people that were killed was a ISIS facilitator,” added Milley, standing alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “Were there others killed? Yes, there are others killed. Who they are, we don’t know. We’ll try to sort through all that. But we believe that the procedures at this point — I don’t want to influence the outcome of an investigation — but at this point we think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.”

    The question is: Did any information come from double agents or even officially from the Haqquani network, which was in charge of security in Kabul?

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  63. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/30/world/asia/afghanistan-drone-attack-ISIS.html

    Zemari Ahmadi was coming home Sunday evening, having dropped off colleagues from the local office of an American aid group where he worked, relatives and colleagues said in interviews Monday.

    As he pulled into the narrow street where he lived with his three brothers and their families, many of their children, seeing his white Toyota Corolla, rushed out to greet him, family members said. Some clambered onto the car in the street, one jumped in while others gathered in the narrow courtyard of the compound as he pulled in.

    It was then, friends and family say, that the vehicle was hit with a missile which they believe was fired by an American drone, blowing out doors and windows in the courtyard, spraying shrapnel, and killing 10 people, seven of them children….

    ….The Times could not independently verify whether an American missile strike killed Mr. Ahmadi and the others. Nor was it clear whether Mr. Ahmadi’s car was the Americans’ actual target.

    The Pentagon acknowledged the possibility that Afghan civilians had been killed in the drone strike, but suggested that any civilian deaths had resulted from the detonation of explosives in the vehicle that was targeted.

    “We’re not in a position to dispute it,” John F. Kirby, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said Monday about reports of civilian casualties. He repeated earlier Pentagon statements that the military was investigating a strike on a vehicle two miles from Hamid Karzai International Airport. But it was unclear whether this was the same as the incident involving Mr. Ahmadi’s vehicle.

    There was only one incident, as far as anyone knows.

    Among the victims was her cousin and fiancé, Ahmad Naser, 30, a former army officer and contractor with the U.S. military who had come from Herat, in western Afghanistan, in hopes of being evacuated from Kabul.

    “His name was Naser,” she cried. “May I die in the name of Naser, may I become ashes in the name of Naser.”

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  64. “We monitored that through various means, and all of the engagement criteria were being met. We went through the same level of rigor that we’ve done for years, and which, in the end, won us the war.”

    Four-star clown!

    nk (1d9030)

  65. During the course of the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military was frequently accused by Afghans of carrying out drone strikes based on faulty intelligence, killing scores of civilians. Though the circumstances were often murky, the incidents strained ties with the Afghan government and helped build support for the Taliban….

    …Neither Mr. Ahmadi nor any of his family members were connected to ISIS or any other terrorist group, they said, adding that many in the family had worked for the Afghan security forces.
    The president of the charity group, Steven Kwon, said that Mr. Ahmadi was a compassionate man and “well respected by his colleagues,” adding: “Just yesterday, he prepared and delivered soy-based meals to hungry women and children at local refugee camps in Kabul.”

    Family members provided documents showing his long employment with Nutrition and Education International, and the application of his nephew, Mr. Naser, for a Special Immigrant Visa, based on his service as a guard at the U.S. military’s Camp Lawton, in Herat.

    “The grave danger that he and his family faced was directly linked to his commitment to American and NATO forces,” Timothy Williams, Mr. Naser’s American supervisor, wrote on Aug. 14 in support of the application. “To the best of my knowledge, Ahmad Naser does not pose any type of threat to the safety or security of the United States and its citizens.”

    Family members also said there was no evidence of more powerful explosions within the small courtyard. Although the doors and windows of the house had been blown out, they said, it remained structurally intact. The mud and brick wall next to Mr. Ahmadi’s vehicle was still standing.

    So niot only did the United States not rescue every Afghan ally, it possibly was TRICKED by the Taliban, or Pakistani intelligence INTO KILLING ONE OF THEM! Mr. Naser at least)

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  66. — “What’s the difference between a Taliban training exercise and a wedding party?”
    — “I don’t know, man. I just pilot the drone.”

    And we’ve been giving these assholes medals for it the last few years, too.

    nk (1d9030)

  67. nk @67. I don;t see the words won us the war” in this transcript:
    \
    https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Transcripts/Transcript/Article/2762169/secretary-of-defense-austin-and-chairman-of-the-joint-chiefs-of-staff-gen-mille

    GEN. MILLEY: A couple of things. One is, as we always do on all of these things, we initiated an investigation. We’re reviewing all of the video and all of that. But having said that, it — we — you know, what do we know, what do we don’t know, what do we think sort of thing — at the — at the time — and I think this is still valid — we had very good intelligence that ISIS-K was preparing a specific type vehicle at a specific type location. We monitored that through various means and all of the engagement criteria were being met. We went through the same level of rigor that we’ve done for years and we took a strike. So that we did.

    The family man killed was just driving home from work. So unless they were waiting for a Toyota Corolla to show up there, and that was the target,, it would sound like a coincidence.

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  68. From 20`3 0 detailing the rigor:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/world/asia/drone-strike-pakistan.html

    \Now you et accusations of doing wrong when they did the right thing:

    There, nationalist politicians have long denounced the C.I.A.-led campaign in the tribal belt as a flagrant breach of sovereignty, and are now employing new means to frustrate it.

    As part of that effort, the political party of the former cricket star Imran Khan on Wednesday accused the director of the C.I.A. and the man it identified as the agency’s Islamabad station chief of murder.
    Mr. Khan says the strikes have jeopardized efforts to start peace talks with Taliban insurgents. Last Saturday, Mr. Khan led a large protest rally in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, which his party governs. Since then, Mr. Khan’s supporters have tried to block NATO supplies in the province.

    The United \States always backed off.

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  69. nk @67. I don’t see the words won us the war” in this transcript:

    I added those, Sammy. It’s sarcasm.

    nk (1d9030)

  70. Milley actually said things like:

    I will always be proud of the part that we played in this war.

    and

    It is noteworthy that, on the day of the attack at the airport, our troops and their partners pushed hard and carried on, putting 89 rescue flights in the air in the span of 24 hours and lifting 12,500 souls to freedom. It has been an enormous achievement, not just by the U.S. military but also by the militaries of our allies and partners, and of course by our teammates at the State Department.

    and

    But right now, it’s time to thank all of those who served in this war…We will never forget what you did and what you gave. Our country owes you thanks that won’t fade and support that won’t falter. The war has ended but our gratitude never will.

    Sammy Finkelman (b434ee)

  71. 61. urbanleftbehind (c073c9) — 9/2/2021 @ 9:32 pm

    Damn you, Lee Iacocca! At least it wasn’t another Toyota.

    I don’t understand this reference.

    It was a Toyota Corolla (the car that was destroyed completely)

    https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/08/u-s-strikes-suspected-suicide-bombers-in-kabul.html

    Family members of those killed told the New York Times that the strike occurred as Zemari Ahmadi, who was employed by a non-profit, arrived home in his white Toyota Corolla in the courtyard of his walled family compound. A missile fired by a U.S. drone struck a nearby vehicle as Ahmadi’s family members, including several small children, came outside to greet him.

    That version is maybe not quite true. He stayed parked for some time. The children used to like to go to the car (I think because he gave them treats when he arrived.)

    It is reported that it looked like that Toyota was the main, or only, target, although there was less damaged car nearby.

    It did not look like it was destroyed by a secondary explosion – but if it was, what did they think they were doing by bombing a car suspected of being laden with explosives in the middle of a city?

    U.S. Central Command, which claimed that the strike also destroyed a vehicle full of explosives that were set to be used in a future attack against American troops at Kabul’s airport, said in a statement that it was “aware of reports of civilian casualties.” On Monday, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby added that the U.S. is “assessing and investigating” the reports, as well as coordinating with the Taliban to confirm the deaths. When asked directly about the casualties, he said that “we are not in a position to dispute it right now.” He added that “no military on the face of the earth works harder to avoid civilian casualties than the U.S. military.”

    That last is not true.

    The military that works hardest to avoid civilian casualties (while still attacking its targets) is that of Israel.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  72. “Oh, what a feeling… TOYOTA!!!”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  73. IIHS rates the Toyota Corolla 0 out of 5 stars on Drone Strike Impact…

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  74. The military that works hardest to avoid civilian casualties (while still attacking its targets) is that of Israel.

    Rubbish.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  75. After several years, the United States adopted the “tap on the roof” tactic from Israel.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roof_knocking

    Roof knocking (Hebrew: הקש בגג‎)[1] or “knocks on the roof” is a term used by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to describe its practice of dropping non-explosive or low-yield devices on the roofs of targeted civilian homes[2] in the Palestinian territories as a prior warning of imminent bombing attacks to give the inhabitants time to flee the attack.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9] The practice was employed by the IDF during the 2008–2009 Gaza War, Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, and Operation Protective Edge in 2014 to target the homes of police officers or Hamas political or military leaders.[10

    …..n 2016, it was published that the US military adopted the Israeli battlefield tactic in its war against Islamic State.[16] It was used in an attack against an ISIS storage facility in Mosul, Iraq. As women and children lived in the house, a Hellfire missile was initially shot at the roof as a warning.[16]

    …In some cases, residents who were warned about an impending bombing climbed up voluntarily to their roofs to show they would not leave.[4] When Nizar Rayan, a top Hamas military commander, was warned but didn’t leave his home, he and his family of 15 were killed in the subsequent bombing.[4][6] When faced with similar situations, IDF commanders have either bombed, called off the bombing or launched a warning missile at empty areas of the roof, in order to frighten the people gathered on the roof into leaving the building.[3][8][17]

    The New York Times stated that according to Israel, Hamas asked residents to stand on the roofs of buildings to dissuade Israeli pilots from attacking their homes.[8] However, Amnesty International argued that Hamas’ purported call may have been “motivated by a desire to avoid further panic” among civilians, considering both the lack of shelters in Gaza and the fact that some civilians who heeded the IDF’s warnings had been casualties of Israeli attacks.[18] Many reporters, including from the BBC,[19] The Independent,[20] and The Guardian[21] have said that they have found no evidence of Hamas forcing Palestinians to stay and become unwilling human shields.

    To really work, the missile that doesn’t kill people probably has to look like an unintentional miss.

    How does ask become force?

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  76. Most ordinary Afghanis, with no visa to further countries, cannot leave Afghanistan. They are not let in to neighboring countries on possibilities or probabilities and I don’t think any diplomatic efforts are being made to let them.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/tens-of-thousands-trapped-as-afghanistans-neighbors-close-borders-11630588397

    …None of Afghanistan’s airports are currently open, though Qatar has begun efforts to restore flight operations in Kabul. This means that the few at-risk Afghans who managed to leave overland were trafficked out or used fake documents.

    The U.S. estimates that the majority of Afghan interpreters and others who had applied for visas to flee the country were left behind after August’s international evacuation effort transported more than 120,000 people from Kabul, a senior State Department official said.

    …..In previous stages of Afghanistan’s more than four decades of wars, starting with the 1979 Soviet invasion, Pakistan took in millions of refugees, many of whom never left. Now, it isn’t willing to accept any more. The other major sanctuary, Iran, isn’t letting them enter either, and neither are Central Asian states….

    …The U.N. called this week for the neighboring states to open their borders, and for countries outside the region to provide more resettlement places for Afghans. That is a tough sell, particularly in Europe, where anti-immigrant sentiment has become a major political issue in the wake of the 2015 Syrian refugee influx.

    European interior ministers meeting this week said that they didn’t want to see large-scale illegal migration and that they would bolster support to Afghanistan’s neighbors “to ensure that those in need receive adequate protection primarily in the region.”

    ….The U.S. State Department said that those wanting to apply for refugee status should make their way out of Afghanistan first, adding, “We recognize that it may be difficult for Afghans to obtain a visa to a third country or find a way to enter a third country.” The “special immigrant visas” for interpreters and others who worked closely with the U.S. is a separate program, and its application processes are still being worked out following the closure of the embassy in Kabul.

    The U.K. has said it would offer asylum to up to 20,000 Afghans over the next five years, in addition to those airlifted out last month.

    “I had my legal life in Kabul for the last 20 years. Then I was forced to cross the border illegally,” said a man who worked for contractors to the U.S. government, the U.N. and directly for the Afghan government, making him a likely target for the Taliban. “I don’t know what will come next for me.”

    The man, who belongs to the Hazara ethnic and religious minority that was persecuted in the Taliban’s last period in power in the 1990s, hid in Kabul for a week after the group entered the capital. On finding the mayhem at Kabul airport too dangerous, and getting no response from Western embassies, including the U.S. and Canadian missions, he took a bus south to Kandahar with his wife and three children, where he found a people smuggler who got the family into Pakistan.

    The Taliban say they will allow Afghans with valid passports and visas to travel out of the country. So far, the country’s passport offices remain closed. The embassies of all Western nations and India have shut down and their diplomats have left the country….

    …The closest crossing point to Pakistan from the Afghan capital, going east to Torkham, is closed to Afghans, other than in exceptional cases such as medical emergencies. The other main crossing point, south from Kabul at Chaman, is open but only to those who have documents to show they live close to the border and therefore can benefit from longstanding special arrangements for border areas.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  77. Locals estimate that several thousand Afghans have been smuggled across Chaman over the last couple of weeks, paying up to $90 a person. Afghans are also paying hundreds of dollars for taxi rides within Afghanistan to reach the border crossing, and from the border to the nearest major Pakistani city, Quetta, with fares hiked up to 10 times the normal.

    Afghans who made the journey said that entering Pakistan via Chaman was an easier option than going to other countries. Nevertheless, some queued for two days at the border amid a crush of people and were still turned away, even after paying traffickers…

    ,,,Entering Iran is an even tougher option, despite an announcement from Tehran that it would set up camps on its side of the border. Only those with visas or other travel documents can get across, according to the UNHCR.

    A 23-year-old engineering student at Kabul University said he and friends paid a smuggler $200 each to cross into Iran from the adjacent Afghan province of Nimroz. They were taken to the border, where hundreds were crossing. They ran across with Iranian guards shooting in the air and demanding they stop, but they kept going, meeting the smuggler again on the other side. For the next 24 hours, they had no food or drink. It took six days to arrive in Tehran, where they have to be on the constant lookout for authorities searching for illegal arrivals.

    “I was a good student with nice dreams at Kabul University. Now, I am an Afghan laborer in Tehran and can’t go out, can’t study, can’t be counted as a real human being,” he said. “I am heartbroken.”

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  78. The lesson here is that people should flee fragile countries before a takeover.

    Now is the time for Chinese to flee Hong Kong – or Taiwan.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  79. Sammy, the gist of my joke is that if one erroneously “the ISIS-K car” as the “ISIS K-car”, they may think of the particular car platform K-car which was said to have lifted Chrysler Motors from the brink of dissolution under Lee Iacocca’s direction

    urbanleftbehind (165768)

  80. DCSCA (f4c5e5) — 9/2/2021 @ 7:49 pm

    This isn’t Apollo 13.

    It’s Apollo 1.

    This is not Apollo 1. It is not Apollo 13.

    Not everybody died, or was left behind, and not everybody was rescued, and it is the fault of the same organization that did a lot of the rescuing..

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  81. It is the Titanic.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)

  82. This conversation was just over six weeks ago, and just two weeks before all of Afghanistan began to collapse, with provincial capitals suddenly falling, and three weeks and a day or do before the fall of Kabul.

    Sammy Finkelman (51cd0c)


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