Serving the High Plains

Afghanistan withdrawal a disaster

Those who know me well will tell you that I have defended to a fault, the leadership of the United States military. I have always maintained that, “You can’t be really stupid, and become a general or an admiral.”

Further, I always believed that senior military leadership was smarter than me, better educated than me and had access to better information than me. After Aug. 15, I find myself doubting all these assumptions.

Forty odd years ago on Dec. 24, 1979, the Soviet Army crossed the border into Afghanistan, marched on Kabul and staged a coup d’état that installed a Soviet loyalist as the head of state.

Whoever would invade Afghanistan should take a moment to recall Rudyard Kipling’s lines:

“When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,

And the women come out to cut up what remains,

Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains

An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”

Fast forward about nine years, when the Soviets decided they had enough. The Soviet’s negotiated extraction began in May of 1988 and ended in February of 1989. The extraction was under the command of Colonel-General Boris Gromov. On Feb. 15, 1989, walking alone, behind their last armored column, Gen. Gromov wrote “finis” to the Soviet campaign.

“That’s it,” the general reportedly told a television crew. “Not one Soviet soldier is behind my back.”

Contrast this nine-month negotiated, planned withdrawal, under the command of a senior general, who ensured that all his people got out prior to his departure, with the absolute catastrophe that is being presented in worldwide media today.

Whose plan is it? Joe Biden, as vice president and Lloyd Austin as commanding general, US Forces-Iraq, were the point men for the Obama administration in 2011 that failed to get a Status of Forces Agreement with Iraqi government, resulting in the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and the ensuing growth of ISIS.

Who’s in charge? According to spokes-persons for the Defense Department and the State Department, they don’t know how many Americans are in Afghanistan, where they currently are or how they plan to get them out. The much-vaunted National Security Agency, with its ability to monitor “every” cell phone conversation on the planet in real time, doesn’t seem to be able to help.

Finally, we were lectured on the sanctity of the “Leave no man behind” code when five Taliban prisoners were traded for Bowe Bergdahl. If “Leave no man behind” can be applied to an army deserter, the question, “Can you guarantee we will not leave until all Americans are out?” can only be answered with a resounding, “Yes.”

Rube Render is a former Clovis city commissioner and former chair of the Curry County Republican Party. Contact him:

[email protected]

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