Sunday, August 15, 2021

While the Taliban surround Kabul, does America miss the point?


Three nights before 911, a familiar voice asked me in my sleep: "Will you make a prayer for a Divine Intervention for all of humanity?" I woke, wondered what that was a about, made the prayer, went back to sleep.

On 911, my concern was America would start another ill-advised foreign war that would tax it greatly and end up like Democrat President Lyndon Johnson's war in Vietnam. It did not occur to me that America would start two such foreign wars.

After both sides of Congress, including Joe Biden, voted for both wars, I wondered if they had gone mad?

Or, was it worse. Had they been possessed by the Devil?

What basis did they have to attack Iraq, which had nothing to do with 911?

Had they learned nothing about Great Britain and the Soviet Union's defeats and humiliations in Afghanistan?

Had they forgotten Vietnam?

In my email this morning:

August 15, 2021

Welcome to the Weekend Briefing. We’re covering the Taliban’s sweep in Afghanistan, a violent earthquake in Haiti and the big business of ice cream.

A man selling Taliban flags in Herat on Saturday, two days after the provincial capital fell.Hamed Sarfarazi/Associated Press

1. The Taliban are on the verge of a complete takeover of Afghanistan.

The group has encircled Kabul, the country’s capital and the last major city under government control, after toppling other urban centers one after another over the past week.

A U.S. Embassy evacuation is underway, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken was expected to speak about the situation later Sunday. Follow here for live updates.

The Taliban, in a statement, said that they were in negotiations with the government and would not take the capital by force. The Afghan government had no immediate public response.

As Taliban forces set their sights on Kabul, the U.S. faces a harsh reality check: Its two-decade effort to turn Afghanistan’s military into an effective fighting force has been an abject failure.

In the end, an Afghan military that did not believe in itself and a U.S. effort that President Biden no longer believed in “combined to bring an ignoble close to America’s longest war,” our reporters write in an analysis. These maps show the stunning speed of the Taliban advance after the U.S. began to withdraw in May.

The Taliban’s military campaign has spurred a mass exodus, and many Afghans fear a return to extremist rule. When the Taliban ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, they barred women and girls from taking most jobs or going to school, and practically made them prisoners in their own homes.

Has anyone in America gotten around to likening the Taliban to

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