Denyse O'Leary, whom I always read with great interest in our Comments section, chides me for diagnosing our present woes but not proposing solutions.
That ought to be easy. In Afghanistan what needed to be done is almost as old as man. As Victor David Hanson pointed out to Tucker, "This is the greatest loss of military equipment in the history of warfare by one power."
He's right. Because US government is so drunkenly profligate, the numbers sound blah-blah to jaded American ears. But $85-90 billion is larger than the annual military budget for every nation around the world except the US and China. For those partial to the International Jewish Conspiracy theory of history, what America has just given the Taliban is equivalent to 85 per cent of all the military aid Washington has given Israel since 1948. The Taliban now possess more Black Hawk helicopters than almost all America's allies; they own near to a tenth of all Humvees on the planet. That's aside from less obvious items, such as over 160,000 radios and over 16,000 night-vision goggles that will come in mighty handy for wiping out the remnants of resistance in the Panjshir Valley.
The "solution" to this is to do what every army has known to do down through the millennia: a retreat means not just preventing your men from falling into the hands of the enemy but also their weapons - including, if necessary, your allies' weapons. As many readers will know, at the beginning of July 1940, just a week after France threw in the towel and signed its armistice with Germany, the Royal Navy attacked and disabled the French fleet, then the largest and most powerful in Continental Europe.
The British priority was to prevent the ships falling into the hands of Germany and Italy, who would put them to very good use. In a few days of urgent negotiation, the French commander resisted London's "suggestion" that he either place the fleet under British command or take it to the French West Indies. So the Royal Navy struck and over 1,300 French sailors were killed.
But the Germans didn't get hold of France's most powerful battleships - and the following day, when the French ambassador complained about it to FDR during Washington's Fourth of July observances, the President said he would have done exactly the same.
Yet Roosevelt's successor did not do the same - in far more propitious circumstances and on a timeline created by the commander-in-chief and his advisors.
Is the Pentagon total crap? Yes, but, like so many other rackets in Washington, it works for its principal beneficiaries: the defense contractors made over two trillion bucks off the Afghan war, so a mere eighty-five billions' worth of materiel winding up with the goatherds is way below the lobbyists' pay grade. The official position of America's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan (a fetching twelve-year-old lad whose pressers give the vague feeling he's auditioning for the Dancing Boys of Kandahar), has conceded:
We don't have a complete picture, obviously, of where every article of defense materials has gone, but certainly a fair amount of it has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
Functioning armies know how many pencils they have. As I said, I take it as read that Thoroughly Modern Milley and the Chiefs of Staff are total crap - all ribbons and no chest, the self-garlanded buffoons of a way of war that has not worked for decades: I see David Horowitz and Daniel Greenfield are calling for the Joint Chiefs to be court-martialed, which is the very least one would expect for gifting a Nato-level military to one's enemies. But the fact that every commander on the ground went along without apparent objection suggests that Milley-style degeneracy runs very deep in the US military.
The 360,000 assault weapons those commanders left are already being used by cocky Talib enforcers to dispatch any civilians who get in their way. Even by the woeful standards of a corrupt and decrepit Pentagon that should have been razed to the ground a generation ago, it is difficult to attribute what the Beribboned Boys have done to an unfortunate oversight or mere incompetence. What has happened is so at odds with rational behavior that it has to have been, in some sense, planned. As Horowitz and Greenfield come very close to saying, if the Pentagon were working for the enemy, what would they have done differently?
In a healthy society, the first "solution" to the actions of the US military would be to thrash it out the press very vigorously. But it is telling that the only serious cut-out-'n'-keep inventory of the American taxpayer's generous gift to the guys who pulled off 9/11 was compiled by a foreign newspaper, The Times of London, for some reason more curious about this matter than its New York namesake.
As Victor says, there is a sickness in the US military which ought to be very troubling. Because that will never be addressed by the "mainstream" media, it is even more critical that the institutions of the right do more than merely peddle their lame-arse sappy-happy boosterism bollocks. If you were listening to the radio the other day, you'd have heard one of Rush's alleged "successors" say:
How many militaries do you think there have ever been, where moms handed their babies to members of the military in an effort to have those military members save the babies? Which is what we've been seeing happen at Kabul airport on a regular basis. All these different Marines holding babies, Afghan refugee babies, trying to get them onto planes.
The show posted this insight under the headline:
The Photo That Proves American Exceptionalism
Rush was the "Mayor of Realville": He would have despised this utterly deluded happy talk. I confess I'm not sure I even follow the logic:
America: When we totally f**k your country and you're desperate enough to give your babies away, we're the ones you give your babies to!!! How 'bout that?????
As for this peculiar definition of "American exceptionalism", you'd be surprised how unexceptional it is. If the host had merely taken the elevator down from his Manhattan studio to the lobby and strolled to the corner newsstand, he would have seen this headline on The New York Post:
Desperate Afghan moms throw babies over barbed wire to UK troops at airport
"Solutions" are easy: all that would be required would be to revert to the norms of sovereign states with a prudent calculation of national interest as that term has been understood through the Westphalian era. That solution is obstructed by a ruling elite that despises its own countrymen and is increasingly on the take from China, using as its shock-troops a deranged army of the woke for whom every inconsequential errant Tweeter is the Hitler du jour, or at any rate the Jefferson Davis.
But what's our excuse on the right? If American "conservatism" is mere comfort food for losers, rah-rahs from the pom-pom girls will suffice. But, if this is a hinge moment of history, it won't. I find it interesting that, among the telly pundits, Fox's Lara Logan (South African) and Douglas Murray (English) have been the most unsparing and sober about the Post-American World now taking shape - because, if you're in some sense foreign, it's easier to see that we've been here before. I often write about the Great War as being the transformative conflict from whose long shadows we have yet to emerge, and indeed only the other day I was remarking that the two-thirds of a century from 1848 to 1914 can with hindsight be seen as the apogee of our civilization. But even then there were portents of the great unraveling: for example, the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, the first time in the modern era that a European empire had ever been decisively defeated by an Asiatic power. Which caused a helluva shock to the white supremacists of the day. A lot of things flowed therefrom, not least Bolshevism and Japanese militarism.
Now another mighty empire has been defeated: true, it took twenty years, and we spent far more dough, and used high-tech scanners listing all our local fixers that we conveniently left for our conquerors - and this time the victors are not an Oriental equivalent of a highly organized western state but a gaggle of inbred beards now riding around in American taxpayers' armored personnel carriers.
Aw, but look at this heartwarming photo of a Marine holding a cute little girl off to America to be the child bride of one of the 7.9 million "translators" evacuated to red states!
I get that defeat is a downer, I understand the urge to dine out on D-Day forever. But it is a necessary condition of any "solution" to live in truth, and to address honestly a global failure that in world-historical terms confirms China's view that America is over. Yet the above drivel barely qualifies as the "shock" and "denial" of the first stages of grief. Too much American pseudo-conservatism's analysis these past three weeks has been parochial and risible: perhaps the first solution is to demand a new and less pitifully deluded right.