Insights Into Tomorrow Episode: 15 “Battleground Afghanistan”

After 20 years of military operations, over $2 trillion dollars, an estimated 160,000 lives 50,000 of which were civilian, 2,448 American Service members, 3,846 US Contractors, roughly 66,000 Afghan national military and police, 1,144 allied service members, 44 aid workers, 72 journalists and over 50,000 Taliban and other opposition fighters the United States is finally pulling out of Afghanistan. While that is an exceedingly high toll to pay for America’s longest war ever those numbers are just a fraction of what the long term consequences will cost. In today’s episode we’re going to take a look at the long war in Afghanistan, the history surrounding the disputed country, how we got here, what went wrong and what the future holds for the country, the region and the world as a result of what’s happened there.

Show Notes

[INTRO THEME]

  • [INTRODUCTIONS] (3-5 minutes)
    • Show introduction:
      • Insights Into Tomorrow Episode: 15  “Battleground Afghanistan”
    • Host introductions
      • Host (Joseph Whalen)
      • My co-host (Sam Whalen)
  • [SUMMARY]
    • https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-business-afghanistan-43d8f53b35e80ec18c130cd683e1a38f 
    • https://bit.ly/3mDIvHF 
    • After 20 years of military operations, over $2 trillion dollars, an estimated 160,000 lives 50,000 of which were civilian, 2,448 American Service members, 3,846 US Contractors, roughly 66,000 Afghan national military and police, 1,144 allied service members, 44 aid workers, 72 journalists and over 50,000 Taliban and other opposition fighters the United States is finally pulling out of Afghanistan. While that is an exceedingly high toll to pay for America’s longest war ever those numbers are just a fraction of what the long term consequences will cost. In today’s episode we’re going to take a look at the long war in Afghanistan, the history surrounding the disputed country, how we got here, what went wrong and what the future holds for the country, the region and the world as a result of what’s happened there.

[TRANSITION]

[SEGMENT 1: Topic Introduction/Episode Premise] (5-10 minutes)

Never get involved in a land war in Asia

  • The phrase has been attributed to several sources including British General Bernard Montgomery and American General Dwight Eisenhower
  • It was even a popular phrase from the cult classic The Princess Bride
  • But it was Douglas MacArthur offering it to President Kennedy in a private meeting the two had at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York in April of 1961 that I think rings most true
  • Today the phrase has become a part of our popular vernacular as a warning to avoid starting a conflict that’s too large or onerous for you properly resolve it or achieve victory.
  • It’s an expensive lesson the French learned in Viet Nam
  • A lesson the United States had to relearn during more than a decade in country continuing that conflict
  • It’s a lesson the Russians learned during what was termed their own “Viet Nam” in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989
  • But again, a lesson the United States failed to heed and wound up getting itself into and having to learn on it’s own
  • We’re talking of course about the twenty plus years that the United States has been embroiled in the War on Terror in Afghanistan that we’re only now pulling out of with what can generously be described as disastrous consequences for the country
  • Why is it that the United States seems incapable of learning from other countries mistakes and so intent on blundering into them ourselves?
    • Is it arrogance?
    • Is it pride?
    • Does the United States think that we can somehow be successful where other countries have had dismal failures?

How we got to where we are today

  • The United States most recent involvement in Afghanistan was a product of the War on Terror
  • Which itself was a response to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States
  • It isn’t possible to address this subject without talking about those attacks and the ensuing War on Terror that followed
  • For many of us the events of September 11th are burned into our memory
    • But for comparative purposes we need to talk about some of the details of those events
    • Four California bound Jumbo Jets originating form three different airports across the Northeastern United States were hijacked mid-flight by a total of 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists
      • 15 of the terrorists were citizens of Saudi Arabia
      • 2 were from the United Arab Emirates
      • 1 was from Lebanon
      • 1 was from Egypt
      • It’s worth noting, none of the terrorists originated in any of the countries targeted in the War on Terror
    • American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines flight 175 targeted the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan New York
    • American Airlines flight 77 struck the Pentagon
    • United Airlines flight 93 crashed enroute to its intended target which was suspected to be the White House or some other Washington DC based target when passengers on the plan, alerted by cell phone of the other hijackings took matters into their own hands to stop the terrorists
    • In total, 2,996 lives were lost including the 19 terrorist hijackers
    • More than 25,000 are estimated to have been injured
  • On September 16 2001 then President George W. Bush coined the phrase “War on Terror” to describe the United State’s response to the terrorist attacks on the United States.
    • This included the following:
      • Targeted strikes against Al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen which the United States had been involved with since 1998
      • American-led “intervention” in Afghanistan which started in 2001
      • Iraqi conflict started in 2003
      • Pursuit of Osama Bin Laden into Pakistan starting in 2004
  • On May 23rd 2013 then President Barack Obama announced that the Global War on Terror was over, saying US military and intelligence will not wage war against a tactic but will instead focus on a specific group of networks determined to destroy the US.
  • On December 28 2014 the Obama administration announced and end of the combat role of the US led mission in Afghanistan despite the fact that the US continued to play a major role in the War in Afghanistan
  • In 2017 then president Trump significantly expanded the American military presence in Afghanistan

[AD1: SSE]

[SEGMENT 2: Historical background/Symptoms and signs] (10-15 minutes)
 

Withdrawal from Afghanistan

  • On April 14, 2021 President Biden announces the full U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September 11
    • President Joe Biden said the war in Afghanistan was never meant to be multi-generational as he officially announced the drawdown of all remaining 2,500 US troops in that country beginning May 1 and concluding by September 11th
    • The President noted that only the citizens of Afghanistan have the right and responsibility to lead their country
    • This announcement was made after consulting with “our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the Vice President, as well as with [Afghan President Ashraf Ghani] and many other surround the world”
  • The United States met its objective 10 years ago with the assassination of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin laden.
    • Biden added “Our reasons for staying have become increasingly unclear”
    • It’s worth noting the Bin Laden was killed during the presidency of Barack Obama, during which Biden served as vice president
    • More than two years passed during the Obama administration after Bin Laden’s death in which the objectives in Afghanistan were not clarified nor was a planned withdrawal put in place
  • Biden notes in his remarks that over the past 20 years “the [terrorist] threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe”
    • It could be argued that this was a direct result of the United States effort to wage a conventional style war against nation states when their true enemy deployed asymmetric guerilla warfare tactics
  • It’s important to note that while still in office Donald Trump negotiated a deal with the Taliban to withdraw US military personnel
    • This deal was done without the participation of the current Afghan government and without their consent
    • It promised a US Withdraw by May 1st 2021
    • It was still in effect when Joe Biden revised the timeline to September 11th and when he started the pullout in August

The Immediate Aftermath

  • It’s estimated that as many as 15,000 Americans remain in Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country
  • More than 20,000 Afghans who aided the United States over the past 20 years qualified for Special Immigrant Visas but also remained in country after the Taliban takeover
  • United States Military offices including Marine General Frank McKenzie have admitted lacking the resources to secure the perimeter around Kabul airport
    • He also emphasized that he did not have the resources to venture into the city to evacuate anyone or provide safe passage
  • The Taliban indicated they would allow foreigners access to the airport for evacuations but news accounts suggest this isn’t a policy that’s being enforced with any consistency
  • The Biden administration initially indicated there was no expectation of an imminent take over by the Taliban after a US Pull out
  • The US had trained and equipped more than 300,000 Afghan military personnel who were expected to maintain their territory and fend off the Taliban

Questions

  • With an announcement on April 14th of the firm deadline to pull out, why were there still so many American’s in country?
  • Why were qualifying Visa’s for the allied Afghans not pre-processed before the withdrawal?
  • Why was an evacuation of the Afghan allies not started before the withdrawal?
  • Why did the Afghan military fall so quickly and let the Taliban take over?

[AD2: Teens] (1 minute)

[SEGMENT 3: The Future/Solutions to the issues] (10-15 minutes)

What went wrong?

  • The Country and its Citizens
  • Countries have made the mistake of trying nation building in Afghanistan for over a hundred years
  • The Afghans are fiercely independent and incredibly resilient people
  • They’re accustomed to enduring hardship after so many years
  • The harsh landscape makes conventional warfare nearly impossible with it’s rugged mountains and lack of adequate infrastructure outside of the cities
  • The United States
    • Primarily the result of an overall lack of guidance and strategy or objective to our presence in Afghanistan
    • Incompetence or ignorance on the part of the intelligence agencies
      • There’s evidence that diplomats in country had warned the administration and intelligence establishment of the strong possibility of a rapid Afghan fall which were ignored
    • Loss of interest in the conflict on the part of the American people
      • 20 years on, we thought we accomplished our primary objectives
      • The war was crushingly expensive
      • Casualty rates of any level were considered unacceptable
      • The lack of or prevention of further terrorist attacks put the original purpose of the mission largely out of peoples minds
  • The Afghan Military
    • They collapsed like a cheap law chair
      • Incompetence, indifference or cowardice caused the Afghan armed forces to simply cave
    • A lack of structured military control by the government in outlying regions
      • The government was counting on regional warlords to defend territory
      • There was likely a fair amount of incursion of Taliban supports in the existing military units
      • Some warlords (and possibly government officials) were simply paid to let the Taliban step in
    • Government abandonment
      • The president was quick to flee the country to “avoid bloodshed”
      • This signaled an overall lack of effective leadership
      • There was signs of desperation early on as regional capitals fell
  • Joe Biden
    • He was surely dealt a bad hand by the deal Trump struck with the Taliban
    • His intelligence agencies failed to plan for the contingency
    • There was an overall lack of air support provided militarily
    • Joe Biden has consistently dropped the ball while attempting to address the issues
      • Getting by on the fact that he’s not Donald Trump isn’t cutting it at this point
      • He’s failed to properly plan
      • He’s failed to properly lead
      • He’s failed to provide remedies to resolve the issue

[AD3: Entertainment] (1 minute)

[SEGMENT 4: The Future/Solutions to the issues] (10-15 minutes)

The Future of Afghanistan and the United States

  • Immediately, Afghanistan will once again fall under the oppressive regime of the Taliban
    • There will be no democratic system of government at all
    • Restoration of harsh Sharia law
      • A body of religious rules to guide day to day lives of Muslims
      • Stringent code of punishment
      • Islamic personal laws governing marriage, inheritance and child custody
      • Limited woman’s rights
        • Forced to wear head-to-toe face covering garment (burqas)
        • Beatings if they step outside without a mail guardian
        • No schooling
        • Public execution, whipping or stoning for violating the law
    • Economic Sanctions
      • This is sure to be the next step by the United States in order to try to resolve the issues in country
      • This will ultimately lead to hardship and deprivation for the citizens of Afghanistan
      • This might even hamper international relief efforts and attempts to clean the country up after 20 plus years of war including the disposal of land mines
  • A haven for terrorists
    • The Taliban have historically proven to be supportive of terrorist organizations and to a certain extent practice terroristic activities themselves.
    • ISIS-K 
      • (an extremist branch of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the K stands for Khorasan, a historical province which once stretched across Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Iran)
      • Launched multiple attacks on refugees at the airport in Kabul killing over 170 civilians and 13 US service members
      • Within the last 24 hours the US had launched drone strikes in the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan targeting one of the suspected planners of the attacks
    • History with al-Qaeda
      • The Taliban already have a history with Al-Qaeda, sheltering Osama Bin Laden during the American search for him after the 9/11 attacks
      • Afghan leaders have recent made statements in support of Bin Laden raising questions of their continued support for the terrorist group
  • Damage to America’s reputation
    • This will no doubt weaken the United States on the world stage
    • Our reputation with allies will suffer when they see how poorly we treated our Afghan allies
    • We’re creating yet another refugee crisis that the rest of the world will have to shoulder the burden of
  • Afghan Civil War
    • It’s hard to imagine this not ending with a bloody civil war among the Afghans
    • It wouldn’t be the first time or the last time
    • A civil war is an opportunity to have a proxy war between other less involved countries
    • The region will continue to be war torn for years to come

[OUTRO AND CREDITS]

Transcription

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insightful podcasts

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insights into things

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welcome to insights into tomorrow where

we take a deeper look into how the

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from politics and world news to media

and technology

we discuss how today’s headlines are

becoming tomorrow’s reality

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welcome to insights into tomorrow this

is episode

battleground afghanistan

i’m your host joseph whalen and my

co-host sam whalen hello everybody how

you doing today sam doing okay

anything exciting going on

not much just uh prepping for the school

year getting back in the swing of things

uh

you know just counting down the days

yeah yeah

days until you start or days until it’s

over yes

so today we are talking about

one that’s pulled directly from the

headlines and that is what’s going on in

afghanistan

so after years of military operations

over two trillion dollars spent

an estimated lies which include

of which were civilian

five service members

almost four thousand u s contractors

and over sixty thousand afghan national

military police

there is also

almost allied service members

aid workers and journalists

and that doesn’t even count the

taliban

and other opposition fighters

the united states is finally pulling out

of afghanistan

while that’s an exceedingly high toll to

pay for america’s longest war ever those

numbers are just a fraction of what the

long-term consequences will cost

in today’s episode we’re going to take a

look at the long war in afghanistan the

history surrounding the disputed country

how we got there what went wrong

and what the future holds for the

country the region and the world

as a result of what happened there

but before we do that

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ready to get started yes sir right

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never get involved in a land war in asia

the phrase has been attributed to

several sources including british

general bernard montgomery and american

general dwight eisenhower

it was even a popular phrase from the

cult classic the princess bride as kind

of a joke but it was douglas macarthur

offering it to president kennedy in a

private meeting the two had

at the waldorf astoria in new york in

april of that really rings true

today the phrase has come has become

part of our popular vernacular

as a warning to avoid starting the

conflict it’s too large or onerous for

you to properly resolve it or to achieve

victory

it’s an expensive lesson the french

learned in vietnam

a lesson the united states had to

relearn

during more than a decade in the country

same country continuing that conflict

it’s a lesson the russians learned

during what was termed their own vietnam

in afghanistan between and

but again a lesson the united states

seemed to fail to heed and wound up

getting itself into and having to learn

on its own

we’re talking of course about the

-plus years that the united states has

spent embroiled in the war on terror as

it’s been called in afghanistan

that we’re now pulling out of

with what can generously be described as

disastrous consequences for the country

why is it that the united states

seems incapable of learning from other

countries mistakes

and so intent on blundering into

themselves is it arrogance is it pride

does the united states think that we can

somehow be successful or other countries

have had dismal failures what do you

think i do think i think it’s a

combination of all three of those things

excuse me um i think that america

especially when it comes to our military

we are extremely confident i think that

we have the desire to make that

confidence known throughout the world

and i definitely think that this is a

symptom of that or a i guess a result of

that confidence and that that over

extension absolutely

yeah and it’s it’s funny you mention

that because when we were going into

or when we were coming out of i should

say world war ii we had that same level

of confidence that we could do anything

and then we wound up getting mired down

in in the korean conflict

you know where we were using the same

techniques the same tactics and so forth

and that led us into blundering into

vietnam where we thought we owned the

world

and we

really

got a lesson out of that and and by the

time we got out of vietnam in the s

there was a lot of lack of confidence in

our military

we wound up building it up through the

s and s and in the s we decided to

flex our muscle again in the middle east

so it seems to be kind of a recurring

theme for us

is there a way to to stop this cycle of

violence and waste

i mean people always say history repeats

itself right i don’t wanna i’m repeating

myself by saying that i’m sure i’ve said

that on the show before but i think

some way to at least start is to

which we’ll probably do here today is to

make those parallels between something

in the modern world like what’s going on

in afghanistan with something like

vietnam and when you look at how similar

these things are there’s lessons to be

learned from that of what not to do and

if we can

remember or years from now when we

might find ourselves in a conflict like

that again maybe we can

avoid you know getting stuck in the mud

again yeah and i’m

i’ve always been a fan of

it’s better to learn lessons from other

people’s mistakes than your own and

avoid making those mistakes

unfortunately our country doesn’t seem

to look at it from that perspective

they

look at other people’s mistakes and

somehow think that they can do it

differently the challenge

yeah i i guess that’s a valid point yeah

i think that ties into that we were just

talking about it but the pride and the

arrogance i think it’s we tend to see

ourselves as infallible especially when

it comes to the global stage like this

and i think that

we’ve proven at least twice now that we

are not infallible right well and we

also assume that the entire world should

live the way that we live

our policies and our politics and our

culture too our culture and our morals

and

it doesn’t doesn’t work that way

so

but let’s talk about how we got here

where we are today so the united states

most recent involvement in afghanistan

was a product of the war on terror uh

which itself was a response to the

september th terrorist attacks on the

united states uh it is impossible to

address this subject without talking

about those intacts and ensuring that

the war on terror that followed uh for

many of us the events of september th

are burned into our memory uh not me i

was only one years old at the time but

for i’m sure many of our listening

audience that’s that’s true all the

documentaries that will be coming in

yeah

but for comparative purposes we need to

talk about some of the details of those

events uh so four california-bound jumbo

jets originating from three different

airports across the eastern united

states were hijacked

mid-flight by a total of al-qaida

terrorists

fifteen of the terrorists were citizens

of saudi arabia two are from the united

arab emirates emirates sorry one was

from lebanon one or some egypt that’s

going to be important shortly it’s worth

noting none of the terrorists originated

in any of the countries targeted in the

war on terror and i think that is

extremely important to remember

especially when we look at the course of

history that followed september th

attacks

american airlines flight and united

airlines flight targeted the twin

towers of the world trade center in

manhattan new york

american airlines flight hit the

pentagon united airlines flight

crashed in route to its intended target

which was supposed to be the white house

or another dc building when passengers

on the plane alerted by cell phone

of the other hijackings

uh were brave enough to step up and stop

the attackers and uh crash the plane

in total

lives were lost including the

hijackers more than are estimated

to have been injured

so that’s another interesting

statistic just those numbers alone

so just shy of lies were lost in

that attack

and if we take a look back at the

numbers we threw out at the beginning

of the show here of the number of

american servicemen

so we had almost that number of

servicemen killed in afghanistan alone

we had more than that number almost

us contractors killed so

the death toll of americans who died in

afghanistan now almost doubles what the

death toll was during the attacks

on

does that

have any resonance with with you well i

think i think when we’re looking at

these numbers they can get lost in the

weeds very easily i think personally

it’s

when you look at these statistics it

kind of desensitizes you to the loss of

life in general i think if even one life

was lost that’s a problem sure um

but i think

that it’s

it’s difficult to compare because the

the attacks were these people were

seemingly randomly just taken out you

know out of nowhere whereas we’re

comparing the lives of soldiers that are

they know what they’re stepping up for

and they know the the risk of what

they’re

uh

volunteering is that the right word i

guess just signing up for in general

sure yeah they’re enlistment yeah so

then they have that duty that they want

to protect i mean you look into the

civilians that were killed they also had

no idea what was going to happen to them

but it’s it’s difficult to even fathom

those numbers from you know to

yeah and you make a valid point you

know our military when you

when you enlist in the military there’s

a certain assumption that there’s a risk

you’re taking on yourself

uh i think our government

should be

first and foremost looking to mitigate

that risk as much as possible

and i think for the most part they do we

don’t i don’t think we

light-heartedly put our troops in

danger um or or do it in situations

where

it can’t be warranted or justified

but the number of dead that that

happened in afghanistan is still a

staggering number compared to

and our response you know that’s

that was our response to

so on september

then president bush

uh george w bush

coined the phrase war on terror to

describe the united states response to

the terrorist attacks on the united

states

this includes the following

targeted strikes against al qaeda and

church insurgency in yemen

which the united states had been

involved with already since

american-led quote intervention in

afghanistan which started in

the iraq conflict which started in

on

do at best dubious

evidence of of

terroristic activity

as well as the pursuit of osama bin

laden into pakistan starting in

on may then president barack

obama announced that the global war on

terror was over

saying us military and intelligence

will not wage war against a tactic

but will instead focus on a group a

specific group of networks determined to

destroy the us

so that’s great a war on terror is

over everybody can come home right

no

on december the obama

administration announced an end of the

combat role of the us led mission in

afghanistan

despite the fact that the us continued

to play a major role in the war on

afghanistan

i think we’re given a little bit of lip

service there to try to get some votes

maybe

then in president trump

significantly expanded the military

presence in afghanistan

after

the war on terror was over and our

military mission in afghanistan was over

we’re sending more troops back in

i’m thinking the messaging here that

we’re getting really is kind of

inconsistent with the reality here what

are your thoughts

yeah definitely i think that the this

war on terror has been used as a

political uh tactic since it started

right so you had

president bush uh bush jr on the

american battleship with the

mission accomplished

there was that there’s what we’re

talking about here with obama

um it’s always a

if we can end the war on terror right

that’s a way to get bonus points with

the people and i think that that’s

really all it is that’s it’s never

sincere right and i know we talk about

politicians and they make some insincere

claims all the time and i think that

this is just a prime example of that

yeah i think i think the problem that we

run into is every politician wants to be

known for winning a war but not fighting

a war

because when you fight a war it’s dirty

lives are lost it costs a lot of money

there’s a lot of carnage you get a lot

of bad press when bombs are going off

and civilians are dying and american

troops are dying

but when the war is over and i think

this was the kind of the product of the

of the gulf war in the s you know it

lasted so short a period of time

and was such a resounding victory for

the united states

that

george bush the first bush’s presidency

skyrocketed in popularity after that

of course it didn’t help him win

re-election but

everyone wanted to get that jump in

popularity so everybody wants to declare

this war is over

i don’t think you can really do that in

the middle of a war if you still have

troops on the ground still fighting

still dying still you know bullets

flying

yeah and something and jump in here if

i’m

misspoken here but the war on terror

wasn’t a declared war right so they

didn’t have to go to congress like that

right that gives them a lot of options

for how they want to wage this war right

so the war on terror was literally just

a marketing term yeah

um that was also when we got our axis of

evil terminology as well and you know we

didn’t because we didn’t declare war on

a country which is what congress is

authorized to do

we pretty much had carte blanche to do

whatever you want to do whatever you

want yeah yeah

so that’s kind of uh

talking about

why we got here sort of

uh we’re going to take a little break

we’re going to come back and we’re going

to talk a little bit about the

withdrawal from afghanistan we’ll be

right back

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hello everyone welcome back to insights

into tomorrow uh we are talking about

the withdrawal from afghanistan uh in

the first segment we talked a little bit

about the past and now we’re dealing

with more present topics

um so on april th president biden

announced the full us troop withdrawal

from afghanistan by september the th

this year which would be the th

anniversary of the september th

attacks

uh president joe biden said the war in

afghanistan was never meant to be

multi-generational as he officially

announced the drawdown of all remaining

us troops uh beginning may the

first and like we said concluding on

september the th

the president noted that only the

citizens of afghanistan have the right

and responsibility to lead their country

this announcement was made after

consulting with quote our allies and

partners with our military leaders and

intelligence personnel with our

diplomats and our development experts

with the congress and the vice president

as well as with president afghan

president ash raf ghani i’m probably

mispronouncing that and many other

around the world

the united states met its objective

years ago with the assassination of al

qaeda leader osama bin laden biden added

quote our reasons for staying have

become increasingly unclear

which

is a little too self-aware i think for

president but

uh it’s worth noting the bin laden or

bin laden was killed during the

presidency of barack obama during which

biden was the vice president at the time

more than two years passed during the

obama administration after bin laden’s

death in which the objectives in

afghanistan were not clarified uh nor

was they planned withdrawal put in place

biden notes in his remarks that over the

past years quote the terrorist threat

has become more dispersed metastasizing

around the globe

it could be argued that this was a

direct result of the us effort to wage a

conventional style war against nation

states when their true enemy deployed

asymmetric guerrilla warfare tactics

once like in vietnam

it’s important to note that while

still in office donald trump negotiated

a deal with the taliban to withdraw us

military personnel the deal was done

without the participation of the current

afghan government and without their

consent it promised a us withdrawal by

may st this agreement was still in

effect when joe biden revised the

timeline to september the th and when

he started the pull-out in august so

it’s more than this current

administration this is something that’s

going back years

through multiple uh presidencies so just

a couple of things that are worth

pointing out here

why in god’s name would anybody

pick september th for the date to pull

out of afghanistan

a conflict that was triggered

by a terrorist attack on september th

did nobody mention the bide that that

date was kind of important and you

probably didn’t want to paint targets on

the backs of our soldiers for that i

could see the reason for going forward

for like patriotic reasons because

is off obviously like a very

hot button topic for you know to stir up

patriotism and fervor for that and it

being exactly years i could see him

wanting so you figure it would look

better for us to tuck tail and run on

the anniversary of september th well

yeah it’s not a good look either way i

mean the optics there are terrible yeah

like who’s advising him on these things

i mean someone clearly must have

mentioned to him that september th

isn’t the best time so he pulled it back

to august st

which

doing it in a shorter period of time i

don’t think was really

a good idea i think it really didn’t

work out no clearly it didn’t i would

have pushed that deadline a little bit

further forward

but the other thing that’s interesting

here is

they note that there’s only troops

in country right now to do this

evacuation

now this announcement came on april th

why

on

you know august st

are there still people even in country

because there are american civilians

that are still in country there was i

saw one article in which there was a

school trip first of all who the hell

goes to afghanistan on the school trip

like college or like high school or i

didn’t read the details on it but either

way i’m thinking that’s a terrible

senior trip at that point i mean you

need to talk to your your tour director

or something there but why are people

even in country at this point in time

when the united states has announced a

hard deadline for a pull-out

i couldn’t tell you honestly it’s maybe

bureaucratic reasons red tape people

can’t get out

if they work with the embassy maybe

they’re it’s a visa issue getting out of

country um global travel restrictions

because the pandemic i don’t know these

are i’m just spitballing and and and

probably the combination of all of those

but it just seems a little strange that

we knew we were pulling out and we

didn’t do things to expedite that

withdrawal of civilians

and the fact that we’ve only got

troops in there who can’t handle the

security

of this withdrawal itself they had a

general on the news just this week

and they asked him what he was going to

do to help get americans who aren’t at

the airport out of the country

and he basically came out and said i

don’t have the resources to extend my

operations outside the airport at this

time to do rescue missions

so basically they’re screwed

you know it’s every man for himself i

can’t even imagine what it’s like for

those people in the country it must be

terrifying it’s like the end of the

world for them yeah i i agree i saw a

bunch of articles of of the people in

afghanistan preparing for the taliban

takeover and it’s

it’s difficult to watch you know these

people don’t have a choice they’re just

accepting that this is their new way of

life and it’s

it’s difficult for us to grasp

absolutely absolutely

uh the fact that we’re still there

years after we’ve

achieved our goal of

i don’t want to i mean we

assassinated

bin laden i mean that’s really what we

did as a country we assassinated this

man

and we did that years ago and for

some reason we’re still there and nobody

can explain why we’re still there

so

something should have happened years

ago

that we shouldn’t even be there on

biden’s watch

so i’m kind of hesitant to blame biden

for everything

especially given the deal that that

trump had had cut basically i mean trump

cut a deal with terrorists

to hand the country over to him

and didn’t bother to ask the afghans if

that was okay with them

i mean

i you know and i don’t want to get too

political here but

i can’t really expect the guy who’s

disloyal to his own country and tries to

overthrow the government is going to be

loyal to an allied government either so

i’m not surprised by that

i’m surprised that the the united states

was still bound by that agreement after

he left office though yeah i definitely

think it’s a for me personally it’s

definitely a bipartisan issue and i i

know

definitely there’s a

a great deal of fault on trump here but

i think there’s a fault going back to

bush as well bush jr sure then obama

continuing it with

being determined to get bin laden and

now

again trump and then now biden i think

it it’s a both parties have a

significant amount of fault in this yeah

four administrations two republican two

democrat

that are

directly responsible for this

catastrophe that’s in happening in

afghanistan right now

so so let’s look at the immediate

aftermath okay so it’s estimated that as

many as americans at the time of

the writing of this which was a few days

old now

it’s estimated that amer as many as

fifteen thousand americans remain in

afghanistan after the taliban’s takeover

of the country

more than twenty thousand afghans who

ate at the united states in the past

twenty years

qualified for special immigrant visas

but also remain in the country after the

taliban takeover

the united states military

inc officers including

marine general frank mckenzie have

admitted lacking the resources to secure

the perimeter around kabul airport

he also emphasized like i said he did

not have the resources to venture into

the city

to evacuate anyone and provide safe

passage

the taliban indicated they would allow

foreigners access to the airport for

evacuations

but new accounts suggest this isn’t a

policy that’s being enforced with any

level of consistency yeah of course it’s

not

right they’re terrorists what do you

expect

um the biden administration initially

indicated there was no expectation of a

mini immediate takeover by the taliban

after the us pull out

which clearly wasn’t the case i mean

and we’ll talk about why later

but

whatever

idea biden had that the country was

going to stand was completely wiped out

within the first week of the pull-out

start

the us is also trained and equipped

more than afghan military

personnel who were expected to maintain

their territory and fend off the taliban

and clearly they didn’t

so some questions have to be asked

so with an announcement on april th of

the firm deadline to pull out why were

there still so many americans in country

we asked that we don’t have an answer

why were qualifying visas for the allied

afghans not pre-processed before the

withdrawal

you basically painted the target on all

their backs

why didn’t you ensure that you can get

them out of the country first no answer

to that

why was an evacuation of the afghan

allies not started before the withdrawal

you knew they were going to be the

number one targets there’s lists of them

already circulating circulating around

within the taliban who they want to

they’re basically deathless

no answer to that

and finally the next question is why did

the afghan military fall so quickly and

let the taliban take over

that to me is probably the most

significant question here

and we’ll talk a little bit more about

that but what are your thoughts on this

like

like give me your thoughts i i can’t

even

formulate a question at this point in

time i’m so flabbergasted

just seems

awful like i don’t know how to put it it

just seems like a really unfortunate

situation for those people and

there’s nothing it just seems like no

one’s coming to save them and that’s

awful and like

like i don’t know there’s nothing you

can do you know like and you look at

some of the early images of the

evacuation and you’ve got hundreds of

people standing room only packed all of

these c-s

that are just astounding the pilots

of the the level people you have people

climbing on planes trying to hold on

falling to their deaths as these planes

were taking off that footage was i don’t

know if our listeners have seen it but

the footage of the people falling off

the planes was

uh difficult to watch yeah i mean that’s

how desperate these people are there’s

pictures of people on the perimeter of

the airport handing their children off

the people over the wall

to at least try to get these infants out

of the country because they know they’re

not going to be able to get out of the

country and it’s impossible not to

compare to the

fall of saigon right oh the evacuation

people

you know helicopters going down people

scrambling it’s what makes it not

impossible to talk about that

is because biden said you’re not going

to have another saigon yeah and then

they did and you do yeah you know i mean

they’re the images of the fallout saigon

where helicopters are landing on the

american embassy

to get the last few people out

you have

there were accounts enduring vietnam

that you had south vietnamese pilots

that were stealing aircraft evacuating

their neighborhood

one particular pilot actually flew his

entire family out to a ship that was

waiting in the talking gulf of tonkin

and unloaded them

hovering over the ship because the ship

the

helicopter could not land and then he

had the ditch in the sea and be

recovered

you’re seeing that level of desperation

now only you don’t have all those

outlets because you’re in a landlocked

country yeah

and

the other countries surrounding

countries are closing their borders down

they’re not letting refugees out

and you’ve got the taliban are not

allowing afghans out of the country at

this point

it’s

a tragedy that should have been stopped

years ago should have never been

started years ago yes and i i said it

before it’s like for these people it’s

like the end of the world like there’s

nothing they can do and it’s for us in

the comfort of our own homes to watch

their worlds fall apart it’s i don’t

know it’s

yeah i mean life was difficult before in

a war-torn country that which

afghanistan’s been for the last what

years

but

to lose everything what little bit you

might have accumulated what roof you did

have over your head

and then to be hunted down by this

terroristic regime

that is trying to impose

a draconian system of law on you that

you might not adhere to believe in that

the rest of the world doesn’t adhere to

it’s it’s a tragedy that

that’s been long in the making but one

that that we’ve contributed to as a

country far too much

so we’re going to take another quick

break we’re going to come back and then

we’ll talk about

what went wrong what are some of the

things that went wrong that

we can immediately playing monday

morning quarterback and talk about

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hello everybody welcome back to insights

into tomorrow battleground afghanistan

so taking a look at what might have gone

wrong or what did go wrong uh first

looking at the country and its citizens

countries have made the mistake of

trying nation building in afghanistan

for over a hundred years the afghans are

fiercely independent and incredibly

resilient people they’re accustomed to

during hardships after so many years uh

this is mostly or somewhat due to the

harsh landscape makes unconventional

warfare nearly impossible with its

rugged mountains and lack of adequate

infrastructure outside of the cities a

lot like vietnam except without the

mountains ironic isn’t it yeah it’s just

cooler so looking at the united states

primarily the result of an overall lack

of guidance and strategy or objective to

our presence in afghanistan

uh incompetence or ignorance on the part

of the intelligence agencies um

as a side note to that there’s evidence

that diplomats in country had warned the

administration and intelligence

establishments of the strong possibility

of a rapid afghan fall which were

ignored uh loss of interest in the

conflict on the part of the american

people

years on we thought we accomplished

our primary objectives uh with things

like the death of osama bin laden the

war was extremely expensive casualty

rates of any level were considered

unacceptable

the lack of or prevention of further

terrorist attacks put the original

purpose of the mission

largely out of people’s minds

so

you you mentioned briefly the parallels

between this and vietnam

and i think a lot of it

there’s too many to not

sort of

dwell on i guess here

uh so you have

the country and its citizens you know so

you look at the hardships that

the afghans have dealt with in what’s

been a war-torn country for decades now

it’s very similar to what

the vietnamese went through

they were never a

particularly prosperous or

decadent country either of them were

so

it’s difficult for americans to realize

the hardships that they live with every

day

and

the thought that

that’s something that would drive them

to a peaceful resolution of things is is

not even logical

would you agree yeah yeah absolutely i

think it’s

it’s such a different

uh

way of life that i don’t even think we

can comprehend it yeah and

and you know i draw

i kind of draw a parallel to movies like

uh red dawn right

so you see a movie like red dawn where

there’s this theoretical invasion of the

united states

and these high school kids

you know change their way of life and go

live in the in the mountains and

and you know my daddy taught me to hunt

so i’m gonna go shoot bad guys and stuff

like that

and it’s a fantasy like

americans can’t even

really empathize with that sort of

picture

but that’s how the afghans have lived

you know they’ve lived off the land they

live in harsh environments

they live in

in clans of warring tribesmen

like it’s not

like people look at a modern country

like the united states when you live

here and you think oh well you’ve got

police and you’ve got

low crime rate and oh oh my goodness the

the crime rate’s soaring and we’ve had

people shot

well people shot here

is an evening in afghanistan sometimes

when there’s a raid

and it’s like

the the standards that we live by here

don’t even compare to afghanistan and

for us to think we’re going to walk in

there and impose our way of life on them

is

dangerously naive i think yeah and i

think that’s really the thing right

these the people that live in these

places were i mean if they maybe not

content but they were

you know alive and they were undisturbed

i mean sure they had their own internal

conflicts but when we thrust them onto

the world stage and make them part of

our proxy wars things get a lot worse

for them in the long run almost of

the time yeah and and the one of the

problems we’ve run into is the the proxy

war that we have in afghanistan

there’s like much like vietnam there’s

no clear objective

you know in vietnam it was about numbers

the better numbers we could spend on the

new the news each evening

the more

domestic support you would get for the

fight

well

you weren’t even getting that in

afghanistan you know you got to the

point where the only thing that you saw

in afghanistan was when americans were

killed

or maimed or whatever or you saw the

aftermath

of

soldiers that did their tours in

afghanistan and came back and had ptsd

or

were

crippled or

you know partially paralyzed because of

injury sustained over there

and it became a very graphic

representation

of our presence in afghanistan when

there was no corroborating reason given

by the government for us to be there

yeah and i think

you know still comparing these these two

things because you just can’t help it

then it was a war on communism right and

communism was a national a global fear

really um for everyone that wasn’t a

communist but now

it’s the war on terror and i think we’re

just subbing out these words these i

like a war on an idea right and it makes

it nebulous that you can do whatever you

want you don’t have to make it a

declared war and i think that

i think the war on communism might have

had a little bit more attraction than

the war on terror does now because

terrorism

we can’t we don’t seem to have a way to

stop it right like with communism you

can sway the political leanings of a

country with terrorism there’s not a

whole lot you can do

well and terrorism to a certain extent

is a self-fulfilling prophecy why are

there terrorists because they hate us

why do they hate us because we interfere

in their way of life

we impose our way of life in areas that

that don’t want it

and as a result terrorists rise up

insurrections rise up they attack us

they fight you off they

they commit to these asymmetric wars

that

we’ve never learned how to fight you

know we’ve got special forces you’ve got

green berets and seals and they can go

in and do all this special stuff

but the united states as a military

cannot fight a guerrilla war they they

just

won morally they can’t do it because

the bad guys do that right

the bad guys at the gorilla warfare guys

they’re the ones that are going to go

kill civilians to deter people from

doing things

america can’t do that we never could do

that we’re just drunk well the problem

is we’ve done that yeah and whenever

that’s done there’s war crimes trials

about that

so you don’t america doesn’t want to be

that that group but if if you’re not

going to play by the same rules as your

opponent

you’re never going to

achieve victory

and if we’re unwilling to play by those

rules which we should be unwilling to

play by those rules

then you can’t engage in that kind of

warfare

i don’t know i think there’s a decent

argument to be made that drone strikes

are our version of guerrilla warfare

because we’re taking i mean civilians

die by the hundreds in those and the

cost of those armaments you know i just

think it’s it’s different than the boots

on the ground approach where it’s you

know instead it’s a plane taking out you

know the amount of civilization civilian

casualties for one insurgent to be taken

out is you know and that’s a that’s a

valid point you know when people see

drone strikes it’s almost like a video

game yeah you know you don’t see

americans in their slaughtering women

and children

you see a shot from feet you see

a brief flash and then you see an

explosion

and it’s almost a sanitizing way for us

to do terrorist bombings yeah

that’s a very good point

so the next uh

thing that went wrong here is one that i

think can’t be ignored

and that’s the afghan military i mean

let’s face it they collapsed like a

cheap lawn chair

maybe it was incompetence indifference

cowardice whatever it was that caused

the afghan armed forces to simply cave

we don’t know what it was but given the

the rate at which cities were being

captured

i think you had a lot of

taliban sympathizers

the fact that the the afghan afghan

government

was relying on

warlords in outlying districts to get

their personal armies to defend the land

they’re warlords

they’re not

government officials

so there’s a profit to be made by doing

what they do and

i would speculate that perhaps maybe

they were bought off by the taliban or

taliban promised them

riches or lands or or something but

something caused the afghan military to

just collapse

a lot of the bide administration’s

planning for this withdrawal

was contingent upon the af the three

hundred thousand afghans that we trained

and equipped

to hold off the taliban

and it never happened it was it wasn’t

it wasn’t even attempted by the afghan

military

and

there’s been no explanation as to why

so lack of a structured military

controlled by the government and

outlying regions was a problem with the

african military

like i said they were counting on

regional warlords to defend the

territory

there was a probably a fair amount of

taliban supporters already in the

military

and some of the warlords were probably

paid you know the government abandoned

the country

the president was quick to flee the

country to what he said quote unquote

avoid bloodshed which really was avoid

his own bloodshed

uh this signaled an overall lack of

effective leadership there were signs of

desperation early on as regional

capitals fell and it was

i mean at least in vietnam

the south vietnamese put up a fight and

they put up a hell of a fight in vietnam

they were overwhelmed

they were

um

probably not confident enough or

equipped enough to

to do what needed to be done but

once your air support dries up in most

of these situations you’re going to lose

land to a larger force

so the afghan military is definitely to

blame

but joe biden has to take some of the

blame himself we’ve talked about the

fact that there’s four administrations

to blame here

biden is one of them

he was certainly dealt a bad hand by the

deal trump struck with the taliban

his intelligence agencies failed to plan

for the contingency of the complete

collapse of the afghan military which

you would have thought you would have

had reinforcements or at least

airstrikes available to support them

that overall lack of air support

really killed any chance that the

afghans had of of supporting it it

almost struck me as the bay of pigs

invasion where

the united states trained up the cia

trained up these

cuban refugees to send them over to

uh cuba to invade

promised air support and then

none of it happened and they all were

captured

biden has consistently dropped the ball

when attempting to address these issues

getting by on the fact that he’s not

donald trump just isn’t cutting it

anymore at this point

he’s failed to properly plan he’s failed

to properly lead and he failed to

provide remedies to resolve the issue

now a lot of people at this point in

time are kind of jumping to conclusions

and

and calling for his resignation and i

think that’s grossly premature

um

there have been a lot of mistakes made

by presidents over the years none of

which are impeachable

or

worth resigning over

i don’t think the afghan withdrawal is

one that that we should be demanding as

resignation for him there was reports

that there were some

republicans that were preparing articles

of impeachment which

you know given the political theater we

went through during the trump

administration i’m not surprised by that

but you know biden definitely did not

was not doing his best during this what

do you think yeah i definitely agree um

i do think that no matter who would have

been president someone was gonna have to

bite this bullet eventually um if this

patrol was ever gonna actually happen i

don’t think anybody no matter who was in

office would have

made this look like a victory um just

like in vietnam

was peace without their victory without

defeat or something like that or

whatever we called our push with honor

yeah that’s what it was

so we can make ourselves feel better

about it but in this case there isn’t

any of that um

i think he’s it’s a really really bad

look for him as a president

uh we talked a little bit about it

before the show but the image where he’s

uh

up on the podium sort of for his moment

of silence moment of silence yeah i

understand what he was going for in

terms of wanting to

be compassionate and and you know those

things and i think that is important for

president to be but i think people his

opponents and even people that voted for

him are already looking at him and

seeing him as a

as weak and i think that this is

definitely contributing to that image

and i think obviously there’s

lives being lost here but i think for

him as a president he’s really got to

step up and and really look like a

leader that

the people that are still trapped in

afghanistan can

hope and trust that they will actually

receive some assistance

you’re absolutely right and i can’t help

but think

regardless of of who did the pull out

they were going to have a tragedy on

their hands

it’s something that should have happened

after

bin laden was was

assassinated so you’ve had three

presidents dropped the ball so far on

this biden

bind really was the first one to say all

right enough is enough

let’s let’s get this done now so i have

to give him some credit for having

the

intestinal fortitude

to draw that line in the sand so i gave

him credit for that level of carriage

i ding him on the competency in in which

he did it there’s some areas that need

to be worked on

but i can’t help but think how would

donald trump have handled this

and and the first thing that comes to

mind was as soon as this became

a graphical issue for him an image issue

for him

he would have said or done something

else controversial to deflect away from

this and everyone will be talking about

that so you’d be talking about

immigration now or

he’d be

tear gassing protesters somewhere

and you wouldn’t be thinking about this

anymore

and

trump was a master at that trump was a

master at taking bad press and then

distracting you away from it and that’s

one area where biden is just not doing a

very good job with it no we’re just sort

of wallowing in this yeah unfortunate

news

we’re muddied down in the in this

quagmire of of news now

and the images keep flooding in and the

terrorist attacks are going to keep

happening at this point in time until we

get everyone out of there

i hate to say it but he could take a

page out of trump’s book and learn how

to distract a little bit from this smoke

and mira did wonders for trump

[Music]

so

we’re going to take our last break we’re

going to come back and we’ll talk about

what the future of afghanistan and the

united states looks like we’ll be right

back

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welcome back everybody we are going to

take a look at the future of afghanistan

and the united states so immediately

afghanistan will once again fall under

the oppressive regime of the taliban

there will be no democratic system of

government at all

the restoration of harsh sharia law

includes a body of religious rules to

guide day-to-day lives of muslims

a stringent code of punishment islamic

personal laws governing marriage

inheritance and child custody

a big emphasis on the

uh limited women’s rights uh forced to

wear head-to-toe face covering garments

beatings if they step outside without a

male guardian

no schooling at all

public executions

whipping or stoning for the violating of

the law

there will also be economic sanctions

this is most likely going to be the next

step from the us in order to try to

resolve the issue

this will also ultimately lead to

hardship excuse me and deprivation for

the citizens of afghanistan ultimately

they’ll be the ones that suffer

this might even hamper international

relief efforts and attempts to clean up

the country

uh after plus years of war

including the disposal of landmines

so yeah i mean you’re really seeing a

country set up for

um

hardship more hardship than they’ve seen

in the past

from being more torn in from having an

oppressive government how do you think

that’s going to affect the rest of the

world

i mean i think it’s definitely

it’s a bad look for the us for sure i

mean we’re

and people talk about you know the us on

the world stage embarrassing ourselves

and we definitely are um

and i think that you know economics

actions are gonna maybe make us look

even worse because it’s gonna be

ultimately the civilians that are gonna

be suffering from this

and i

it’s just uh

we dropped the ball and it’s there’s not

all we can do yeah and you’re you know

you’re going to see that there’s going

to be extenuating circumstances to the

pull-out you’re going to see that the

only thing the united states is going to

be able to do is economic sanctions

um

we don’t want to

stay mired up in this

you know and the other thing that you’re

going to see come out of this is going

to be a haven for terrorists

excuse me again you’re going to see

people because of us

trying to impose our will on another

country

there’s more hate you’re gonna i mean

you couldn’t ask for a better recruiting

pitch than the united states

doing something like this yeah not to

mention the it’s a win for the taliban

right so it’s gonna embolden any group

and remotely like them right you know

the taliban have historically proven to

be supportive of terrorist organizations

and to a certain extent practice

terroristic activities themselves they

terrorize their own people

you’re going to see the rise of this

this isis-k movement that’s responsible

for these couple of bombings

now isis k is an extremist branch of the

islamic state of uh iraq and the levant

the k stands for

corazon which is a historical province

which once stretched across afghanistan

turkmenistan

pakistan and iran

they’ve launched multiple attacks on

refugees already at the airport and

claimed

credit for them

in kabul they killed over civilians

and service members which is what the

united states is reeling from right now

in retaliation to that within the last

hours the us launched drone strikes

again are

our sanctioned form of car bombs really

at this point in time

they lost drone strikes on the uh

nangahara province in afghanistan

targeting one of the suspected plans of

the attacks

and the taliban also have a history of

supporting al qaeda

the taliban already

sheltered osama bin laden during the

american search forum after the

attacks

and the afghan leaders the current

afghan leaders

have made recent statements in support

of bin laden raising questions of their

continued support for the terrorist

group

so they’ve pretty much signified the

fact that they’re going to be

a home for terrorists anybody who wants

to learn how to build bombs and kill

people and

terrorize the united states

you can come to afghanistan the taliban

is going to help you

that’s what we have to deal with now

yeah and this speaks to the damage to

america’s reputation which i already

mentioned a little bit

this is going to weaken the united

states on the world stage our reputation

with our allies is going to suffer when

they see how poorly we treated our

afghani allies

we’re creating yet another refugee

crisis that the rest of the world will

have to shoulder the burden of

speaking a refugee crisis some of those

refugees are arriving

in local military bases

where they’re hopefully going to have

some peace

uh the afghan civil war it’s hard to

imagine this not ending with a bloody

civil war among the afghans wouldn’t be

the first or the last time

civil war is an opportunity to have a

proxy war which we already mentioned

between other less involved countries

uh ultimately the region’s gonna

continue to be war-torn for years to

come

so again we’re gonna end the show on a

positive note here and it’s doom and

gloom again

for another region of the world

i think our

involvement in afghanistan is something

that

is going to cost us well beyond the

numbers that we’ve talked about here for

years to come

if you look just at the human toll here

on the americans that serve there the

the people that that live there that are

now displaced the people that are living

there now that are living under a

repressive regime

years later

nothing’s changed

all that money spent all those lives

lost

all the bullets all the bombs

and you’re literally back to where you

were years ago

was it worth it

no

it wasn’t yeah uh for for just for my

closing thoughts i’d say if you know

you’re gonna take a look at this

try not to get mired in the the teams of

it don’t take sides it’s there’s fault

on in terms of politics fault on both

sides

uh and ultimately the people that are

losing are the people of afghanistan and

any other country that is caught in a

situation like this and the people that

are winning are the people making money

off of this uh follow the money right

people that are making these drones the

missiles for the drone strikes people

that are funding these armies and and

profiting off any resources that are

gathered in the process

i think that that is really the takeaway

from this is that

this is just the way that you know wars

are

going today you know the the the

profiteering off it and ultimately the

lower you know the less enfranchised

people

getting the hit

no doubt no doubt

so that was all we have before we do go

i would invite our audience once again

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that’s it another one in the books bye

everybody bye

[Music]

so

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you

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