Michael Scheuer is the former chief of CIA’s Bin Laden Issue Station who gave Clinton multiple chances to assassinate the latter.
Mr. President: For those of your supporters who genuinely believe in the non-interventionist segment of an America First policy, there could be no better news than your sacking of John Bolton. He and his like – Crystal, Boot, Romney, and the rest of the Neocons and disloyal Israel-Firsters – are hip-deep in the blood and limbs of U.S. military personnel who became casualties in multiple unnecessary wars, none of which had anything to do with protecting American liberties and freedom. Indeed, the presidents who orchestrated and prolonged the wars constricted both, and also waged war against the Bill of Rights. On booting Bolton, Mr. President, well done.
Now for Afghanistan. Sir, for a guy like me, from Buffalo, New York, it is an odd but true fact that I have spent most of the past four decades working, from one angle or another, on wars in Afghanistan. I cannot say that I loved this work all the time – the best of times were when we helped drive the Red Army out of Afghanistan – but it has been pretty consistently fascinating. Moreover, it is the easiest to understand and solve foreign-policy problem that has ever confronted the United States.
Mr. President you must accept that, on the Afghan issue, you are surrounded by civilian advisors who are morons, liars, money-grubbers, mineral-chasers, war-lovers, and democracy crusaders, as well as generals who cannot tell the difference between winning and losing. The latter, I suppose, is to be expected as no U.S. general has participated in a winning war since September, 1945. Fortunately, none of the unnecessary wars they have lost even remotely put American freedom or liberty at risk, except from domestic enemies. Taking advice from any of this lot, is like taking advice on particle physics from Ilhan Omar.
Now, Sir, when you were elected you were presented with a lost war. Obama, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld had presided over – and even directed — numerous half-ass military campaigns that were shrugged off by the Afghan Taleban and its allies, no matter what their casualties. The Afghan leaders knew that the U.S. military was not there to win. They do have ears, you know, and they heard all U.S. generals publicly proclaim, ad nauseam, something like “There is no military solution to the Afghan conflict.” These be-starred knuckleheads might as well have said publicly that the Taleban had won, game, set, and match.
The Taleban’s leaders also knew the U.S. did not intend to win in Afghanistan because they had watched Bill Clinton refuse to even attempt one of the ten chances CIA gave him to kill or capture Osama bin Laden. Always recall, Mr. President, there would have been no Afghan War or Iraq War if Clinton had removed bin Laden from the scene in 1998 or 1999.
You are fighting, Mr. President, an enemy in the Taleban, as well as the other Islamist Afghan insurgent groups, a foe that is far tougher, much more patient, more zero-sum minded, stupendously less casualty-adverse, and more religiously devout than any of your advisors, civil or military. The current crop of Afghan Islamist insurgents and their predecessors, taken together, have chalked up nearly 40 continuous years on the battlefield since the Soviet invasion occurred in December 1979. The score after four decades shows the Afghans have knocked off two superpowers – the USSR and the hodge-podge of U.S.-NATO forces. This, after having knocked off the British superpower in the 19th century. Can you, Sir, name another country that has defeated three superpowers?
What you need to know about Afghanistan, namely, the determinative role its history plays in the Afghans’ thinking and actions, and what that means for the United States, is limited, easy to understand, and is encompassed in the three points that follow. They were clear, true, and utterly reliable long before the CIA deployed to country in the fall 2001 to wait for the eventual arrival of the U.S. military. Though I tend to believe it is true about most countries, Afghanistan is truly the land where the outcome of all events in which foreigners are involved are readily predictable – that is, history repeats itself, Afghans win, foreigners lose — and there are none of the “unintended consequences” that the Bush and Obama teams that gave you this lost war loved to prate about. And so, the points:
–-First, the Afghans will wage war against any Afghan or foreigner who tries to install and maintain a strong and effective central government in Kabul. This thoroughly tribalized country is preeminently one of regions and peace is maintained by letting those regions look inward and rule themselves. An Afghan central government is durable as long as it is quiescent and content ruling Kabul. Our attempt to build a strong central government was and is promoting armed resistance to it. This was known, and ignored, by those who sent the U.S. military there to create a central government that would govern all of Afghanistan.
–Second, the Afghans – meaning many more people than just Taleban members and other militant Afghan Islamists – do not like foreigners. While they deal politely with foreigners who are visiting the country, especially if they have money to spend or are bringing financial aid, the Afghans, historically, have zero tolerance for foreigners who invade and occupy their country. Alexander the Great and his army, the military might and resolve of the 19th century British Empire, the modern and merciless Soviet Red Army, and now the rudderless activities – is it war-fighting, democracy building, or feminism? – of the U.S.-NATO force all have been greeted by a non-ending defensive war fought by the Afghans with religious zeal and the single-minded goal of evicting the foreign invaders. The Afghans endured and eventually succeeded in forcing foreigners to evacuate on all previous occasions, and, in those cases, they did so against enemies who were far more ruthless and bloody minded than the current effeminate and diddling occupiers.
–Third, there is no point worrying about what will happen to the Afghans who worked for the U.S.-NATO civil and military organizations, nor about those Afghans who have filled government posts during the occupation. Most of them already have stuffed their pockets with stolen U.S. taxpayer money and will leave the country to save their lives. Those who cannot leave probably will be killed, as an Afghan who supports foreigners against Afghan Muslims is not only defined as traitor, but also as a heretic for helping non-Muslim foreigners to kill Afghan Muslims. The truth about the recent breakdown of “peace talks” with the Taleban is that they were a hoax from start to finish. The Taleban eventually would have made some kind of deal if the U.S. agreed to completely withdraw. If that occurred, they would have abided by its provisions until the last U.S. Marine left the country, and then would have turned mercilessly on those who supported the occupation or fought alongside the foreign occupiers. If your advisers had been worth their salt, they would have told you that the peace talks were a charade that, at best, would have let U.S. civilian and military personnel depart Afghanistan in a manner somewhat more dignified than the manner in which they fled Hanoi.
Move on Afghanistan quickly, Mr. President, the entire country – except for generals, gun-makers, and disloyal U.S. citizens – will warmly welcome fulfillment of part of the campaign promise in which you pledged to bring our soldier-children home. Then, Iraq next.
And one final point, Sir. I have suggested previously in this space that you might benefit from reviewing the history of General George Marshall’s forced retirement of many dozens of U.S. general officers just before the start of World War II. He knew many of these officers, and knew they were not up to the challenge posed by what appeared to be an approaching world war. Mr. President, the ranks of your general officers are filled with losers; indeed, you have no serving general officer who has ever been on a winning side in a war. But you are also blessed with even more junior officers who have substantial combat experience and who, almost certainly, are disgusted by generals who have no intention of winning the wars into which they send men and women to die or be maimed. Perhaps General Marshall’s action deserves a second performance, soon.