Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Kabul's Child Sacrifice

It wasn't supposed to end like this. If in the early fall of 2001, just as we just finished OPERATION RHINO, someone at C5F put up a picture of a 10-yr old boy standing behind a group of five newborns, three 1-yer olds, three 2-yr olds, and a 4-yr old and told us, "We will take Kabul, and after 18-months without a single casualty, we will abandon everything. We will be allowed to go home only at the pleasure of the Taliban and after we sacrifice these 13-children and abandon hundreds of American citizens behind us as we leave in darkness, tens of billions of dollars of our equipment left as tribute in addition to our children." we would have thought you insane, sick, and someone off their medications. 

But we did, and there is a price.

In a defeat of choice in a complete collapse of competence at the most senior levels of our civilian and military leadership ... we did. In our panicked retreat we had our deadliest day in 11 years. Our Marines, Sailor and Soldier filled with their bodies the gap in intelligence, planning, and leadership by - what we are all told - are the very best, most credentialed from the finest institutions and selection processes to produce competent leaders for our nation of 330+ million souls.

They physically stepped in the the real world breach created by the wholesale failure of our intelligentsia and its rent seeking nomenklatura.

They did their job; everyone who they trusted with their lives in DC and Tampa did not.

That is the first lesson here; our self-described "best" that claim to be the ruling class are not our best. They are not good at their jobs. Their ideas are garbage. Their ethics are fetid to the core. Their morality sold for a farthing's worth of power, fame, and influence.

At the tactical level, from the C-17 aircrew to the leaders on the ground, they did the best they could with the ROE, restraints, and constraints that were put on them from DC. The American military from field grade officers to the 20-yr old E3s did an exceptional job - but there was only so much that could be done inside a structure of incompetence and politicized uniformed nomenklatura that we allowed to rise to the top over two decades. 

Those left in Kabul were never given time. They were never given honesty. The enemy knew this. We had to be right all the time, the enemy only lucky once. And so they were.

The world's self-described super power selected the wrong people for the wrong reasons using the wrong selection criteria through a culture with the wrong priorities. This cannot be argued. The evidence is right there to be seen by all.

And so, for two decades the products of the "best" universities, think tanks, and political organizations in what was once the world's greatest power brought us to the point where those kids and newborns of 2001 grew in to adulthood only to be killed on the alter of their leaders' hubris and lies.

We failed these young men and women in detail; we failed our nation and our friends at large.

Like other great American before them, these men and women - the children of 2001 - decided to serve their nation as they became adults. As many of their peers complained about how COVID might interfere with their getting a Rhodes scholarship or positioning for the right fellowship in their resume ... they enlisted to serve in the war they have known their whole life, and what in the end would be their entire life.

Here are the 13 we recognized last Friday.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas 
- Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, 23, of Sacramento, Calif. 
- Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City 
- Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss, 23, of Corryton, Tenn. 
- Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, Calif.
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, 20, of Jackson, Wyo. 
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
- Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, 23, of Omaha, Neb. 
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, 20, of Norco, Calif. 
- Marine Corps Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Mass. 
- Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Ind. 
- Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Mo. 
- Navy Hospitalman Maxton W. Soviak, 22, of Berlin Heights, Ohio
I know I am not blameless here. I've been blogging since 2004 and on a regular basis written of the fact I helped kick this off the first few months of 2001. I spent years later that decade on active duty in Europe, Tampa, and in Afghanistan studying, staffing, writing, and then trying to implement the Operational Plan to make this a success as one off many staff weenie worker bees that infested this failed enterprise. I was part of trying to make this work. I thought for awhile we could. At one time I was proud of what I did. I thought it was important and could be successful. I was wrong. I failed too. 

I owe the fathers of these men and women, men my age with kids the same age as mine - kids they now have to bury - an apology. I am so sorry. Words are inadequate from me. I cannot imagine your personal loss joining thousands of others who fell in the last two decades. Everyone deserved to have more than this to show for it. Again, here words fail me. I'm sorry. 

If Hannity is the only place who will let them speak their peace, then so be it. Here are but two of the fathers. You can hear the words of other family members elsewhere. I encourage you to find them and add links to them in the comments. I can't right now.

A monument to two things; to the steadfastness of the Afghan culture and the utter inadequacy of the elite of the United States of America. There's your photo.
A final note; the median age in Afghanistan is 18.4 years. Everyone to the left of that mark, and a few others, grew up under American occupation. Tens of thousands of Afghans fought and died for the promise we made to them. They and their families fell for our myth. Most of the Taliban who saw us off knew nothing but American and allied occupation, and yet they too became an antibody to our presence, and they defeated us through sheer force of will.

So, as Afghanistan falls in to shadow, hundreds to thousands of American citizens, green card holders, allied civilians, and our Afghan friends who we abandoned behind us will fear the dark. Waiting for footsteps to the door. Waiting for people who will never return home from errands. Wondering why no one will return calls and texts ... and wonder how they can escape back to the civilized world.

The fault, shame and humiliation is all ours; all red, white, and blue.

Own it.

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