Reactive, Not Proactive. Ida Rears Its Ugly Eye.

Why The Hell Did U.S. Strategic Advisors Recommend This Withdrawal Plan?

I am angry. I am disgusted and stuck in a realm of bewilderment. I will not make light of the situation in Kabul, Afghanistan out of respect for the thirteen U.S. service members who lost their lives last Thursday to an attack by ISIS-K. Yes, ISIS-K, a group of undisciplined savages who found their way past Taliban security (yes, I wrote Taliban security) and set off a bomb near a security gate at Kabul’s airport.

I am going to provide information and my take, but I will stick with my ethos of no religion/no politics. In short, I don’t care whether this 20-year debacle or current situation boiled down to George Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, or Joe Biden. This failure to gather the correct intelligence, provide strategic and decisive operational plans, and the lack of proactive execution regarding this 20-year mess does not fall into a category of political football.

  • The failure of correct intelligence to execute a successful withdrawal from Afghanistan is surely among the greatest in the history of the United States.
  • The intelligence reports stated that if the Taliban were to reach Kabul at all, it would not be until well after the 9/11 deadline for the U.S. departure. Then, U.S. intelligence spit up all over themselves, suddenly stating that the Taliban would reach Kabul in 90 days. Then, even more suddenly, it was 72 hours. Shameful to say the least.
  • Then came reports that Taliban fighters were at the gates of the city, and then they were filming themselves in the presidential palace that had been vacated by its occupants barely 24 hours earlier. A disastrous intelligence failure that led to various strategic withdrawal plans provided by the State Department and military advisors.
  • How the hell did U.S. intelligence officers, after being imbedded in Kabul and other Afghanistan provinces, not thoroughly know the enemy, figure out its capabilities, and correctly forecast how likely and quickly they would act? After 20 years, how could U.S. intelligence personnel not gauge the vulnerability of Afghan security forces?

Again, I will not make light of this situation but with my relatively warped mind, I will try to bring a bit of relevance (and levity) to this sad situation. The U.S. State Department and military advisors were charged with devising strategic and operational withdrawal plans BASED ON THE INTELLIGENCE THEY WERE GIVEN. These advisors were the ‘designers’ of the various plans that eventually were vetted and put into play by U.S. military and State Department leaders. As a point of ‘misguided’ relevance, American Motors Corporation (the infamous AMC), had a design team that were charged with coming up with automobile designs based on the market research (intelligence per se’) provided to them. The AMC design team, using this so-called market research, produced various auto designs that included the Gremlin and the Pacer. These designs were among many that someone at AMC, a product manager or leadership team, eventually approved. They approved two of the most god-awful looking cars ever, sending German and Japanese auto executives into a state of laughter heard around the world. My point: don’t point your finger at the ‘designers’ as they were doing their jobs based on the information given to them. Don’t blame the U.S. State Department and military leaders who, based on the intelligence provided, devised many plans (designs), one of which was approved by someone at a high level within the U.S. bureaucracy. Disgusting, sickening, and unfathomable. The phrase ‘heads should roll’ is never more appropriate.

1977 AMC Gremlin and 1978 AMC Pacer DL | 1977 AMC Gremlin an… | Flickr
The Gremlin & Pacer. It was not the designer. It was the person who APPROVED the design.

To the families of the thirteen service members who lost their lives: Today and always, may loving memories bring you peace, comfort, and strength.

Is This A Katrina Redo?

Today we pray for the Gulf Coast of the United States….especially the New Orleans area. It was sixteen years ago that Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the New Orleans (NOLA) area – when poorly designed levees failed to keep the storm surge from drowning areas of NOLA, causing the loss of life and despair.

I will never forget participating in a Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans a year after Katrina. We were working on a home in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, which was completely under water when Katrina swept through the area. We were framing a deck of a new home and next to us was an empty concrete block home – with a water line on the home at approximately 18′ from the ground. It was a bit surreal trying to comprehend how much water poured into the 9th Ward.

Two years ago, NOAA estimated that if another Hurricane Katrina-like storm were to hit New Orleans and the Gulf Coast today, it would likely cause up to $200 billion in damage to the region, even though the city today is much smaller, with only 80% of its 2005 population, and better protected, with dramatic improvements to its hurricane levee system. Let’s hope that NOAA’s estimates do not hold true, as later today Hurricane Ida targets the city of New Orleans and its surrounding areas. Godspeed to all along the Gulf Coast.

New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward is still reeling from Hurricane Katrina's  damage 15 years later | Katrina |
The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina – NOLA’s Lower Ninth Ward.

Adios, pay if forward, be safe, and have a Funday Sunday!

One thought on “Reactive, Not Proactive. Ida Rears Its Ugly Eye.”

  1. Gary, I beg to differ on calling the suicide bombers “undisciplined”. I think it takes a lot of discipline to strap on a bomb, get through security and then trigger it knowing you are going to end up looking like $.79 lb dog food.

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