planefag Profile picture
22 Jul, 17 tweets, 3 min read
This is the Secretary of Defense talking about how the Taliban can achieve "legitimacy."

This is tantamount to having accepted the Taliban's retaking of Afghanistan before they've even completed the takeover.…
Think on what the rapidity of this change of posture means.

It means that the Pentagon and upper echelons of the American foreign policy establishment - a big chunk of the nation's ruling oligarchy entire - accepted that this would be the inevitable outcome long ago.
They all have degrees. Some of them even have intellect. And they have all the intel and classified reports they could want.

If we could see the writing on the wall, it beggars belief that they couldn't.
One wonders when realization set in; when they knew that the nation-building strategy just wasn't going to work, esp. the way it was being pursued. During the Obama years, when scads of cash were being pissed away to little or no benefit? Before then, during Bush?
How long did we simply chase a strategy that everyone knew was a colossal failure, just to appease whoever was in the White House? How many billions of dollars of precious equipment and materiel, how many young American soldier's lives were lost in that period?
There was another way, one that didn't involve nation-building projects that are impossible in the face of a permanent hostile presence given an unassailable safe harbor by Pakistan. To flip the script; let the Taliban try to hold ground while *we* struck in the night.
That last troop surge under Trump was done on the auspices and advice of his generals, who are, like the rest of the Pentagon, apparently ideologically blinkered fools of the highest order. That four-year period was the time to implement that strategy or a hybrid thereof.
The final surge was to improve the security state to the point where we could "leave" without "leaving a mess." In reality that just meant letting us wash our hands of it then claiming that it was not our fault the Afghans couldn't hold. In the end we couldn't even save face.
Instead of that last desperate take-and-hold maneuver, one last repeat of whack-a-mole counterinsurgency, we should have let the Taliban take territory. Let them move in and rattle sabers.

And then turn our SOF loose to teach them how professionals do insurgencies.
The message wouldn't be lost on them - to be large and in-charge means having a target on their head, and we don't need massive in-country forces to make good on the threat; not with drones and V-22s and SOF operators. Sleep in a different bed every night - forever. Their fate.
That kind of war, that small-scale, efficient kind of war - America can, indeed, wage that forever. Our coffers are deep enough.

Imagine bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table with *that* message hanging over their heads.
Instead, they came to the table with the knowledge of an inevitable American withdrawal. They can read the news too, they can see America gearing up for an empire-defining war for survival with China. They knew Afghanistan was a cost America could not forever afford.
Our oligarchical ruling class, civilian and military alike, are fools at best and murderers at worst. The 20 years of pointless strategy, colossal wastes of wealth sorely needed to defend us against actual threats and our irreplaceable lives lost - all on their heads.
Twenty years. Two full decades. None of this can be laid at the feet of any one administration or partisan faction; the stupidity continued in varying forms and degrees across all of them. It's not just that the entire political establishment is corrupt but that it runs bone-deep
I feel no special obligation to disdain my country in comparison to any other due to this; because you won't find a country of similar scale and power that hasn't had these problems themselves. It's a human problem, at its root, one our best social systems still struggle with.
But I cannot and will not ignore the rot from an objective viewpoint. My perceptions of my nation's government and the validity of its decrees and most potent actions will forever be colored by this knowledge, and I suspect I'm not alone. A generation mourns their delusions.
Tis better to be a climbing ape than a falling angel; this is why America has been last, best hope for freedom and the noblest ideals of the human race since its inception.

But it feels like we are fast running out of tree.

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More from @planefag

21 Jul
Guys I need to tell you all something shocking, but true. Only I have the courage to utter these edgy Truth Words.

The Space Shuttle was BAD.

ohhhhh snaaaaaaaap
Here's another one! Aircraft carriers... are VULNERABLE AND HARD TO DEFEND!

I know. Shocking.
Hey. Hey. Did you know the US Government basically gave no fucks about developing rockets until the Russians put a little beep beep boi into orbit and only THEN did they really start quizzing that German rocket scientist they'd hoovered up after WWII?

Read 7 tweets
21 Jul
The Shuttle certainly had drawbacks but every time I see takes like this I want to shake the person making them and ask them if the Hubble's neat fit into the Shuttle's bay strikes them as coincidence or design. They know it was based on a KH-11 spy satellite, right?
For that matter, statements like this imply that "civilizational ambition" put us on the Moon and not a strong desire to dunk on the Soviet Union. It smacks far, far too much of this "RETVRN" bullshit; glorifying motives that NEVER FUCKING EXISTED

I am with you on most of this, I am with most all of you on most all of this, but for fucks god-damned sake stop pretending like national leadership was inspired by Glorious Western Culture's Inevitable Call To Greatness because we fucking KNOW it wasn't.
Read 7 tweets
21 Jul
Just checked the Outsider forums and saw the author expressing polite restrained surprise that his Epic Quest Hero's Journey story pisses off knuckle-dragging chuds judging it with 4X videogames as their sci-fi benchmark and omg space elf aliens SO OP pls nerf.

And I was like:
Doesn't matter if you have ten readers or ten million - there is always that tiny minority, that background noise, who just fundamentally *cannot get it.*
I wrote him a nice long post politely explaining why he did nothing wrong and why this should be obvious to a 60 IQ Stellaris player, without calling anyone a 60 IQ Stellaris player.

But they ARE. They ARE, they are STUPID and they HAVE TO FUCKING KNOW

Read 5 tweets
21 Jul
It's very difficult to talk concisely about politics when the reality of it is so multifaceted that summarizing it with simple, neat labels would be impossible even *if* universal acceptance of those label's definitions existed.

For instance, "neoliberal" and "left."
"Left" describes political theory founded in Rousseau's conception of a social contract, which is fundamentally different (and thus irrevocably incompatible with) theory founded in Locke's vision of a social contract (called "liberalism.")

Half the time I mention "neo-liberalism" I'm not necessarily describing people who are liberals in any sense of the term. They *profess* to be, but the sincerity of that ranges from a self-serving, lobotomized conception (i.e. GOP party line) to mere lip service (DNC party line.)
Read 14 tweets
21 Jul
Clown theater. Suggesting that highly trained Secret Service agents armed with magazine-fed fully automatic weapons were in any way in danger from an unarmed mob of civilians is complete clown theater.

Honk honk! Image
Aside from the clown theater aspect, this could also be part of the existing movement to strip the President of his unilateral nuclear release authority, which has already been floated by powerful Federal politicians (e.g. Speaker Pelosi) before now.
Don't write it off simply as performative umbrage from the Trump era, either - it's persisted into Biden's administration.

And don't assume that it's solely a reaction to Biden's obviously degraded cognitive capacity, either.

Read 19 tweets
20 Jul
" some of those informants, acting under the direction of the FBI... had a hand in nearly every aspect of the alleged plot... The extent of their involvement raises questions as to whether there would have even been a conspiracy without them."

I emphasize, once again: *with sources.* This is not "dude trust me." Every claim is accompanied with a hyperlink to openly available, non-classified documents; which (almost) all seem to be public court filings or press releases.

This is devastating.
The dreadful thing about this isn't the entrapment per-se: as the article itself notes in detail the FBI has been known to do this. But given how Federal prosecutors have drawn a straight line between this incident and Jan. 6th, and the FBI's own recent history...
Read 5 tweets

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