On Afghanistan, Mr. Trump, trust your instincts, not advice from Generals Groucho, Chico, and Harpo

Mr. President, your ghastly Afghanistan address on 21 August 2017 contained the same old nonsense of your predecessors, such as the mujahideen are thugs and losers who have nothing to with Islam, and Pakistan is the key to Afghanistan. It also contained a death sentence for more of our soldiers and Marines, and the utter double crossing of those non-interventionists who voted for you.

You obviously talked to no American who knows something about Afghanistan, and listened to generals who have lost the Iraq and Afghan wars, and are members of a brotherhood of general officers that has not won a single one of America’s wars — almost all unnecessary — since 1945. You also displayed unwarranted respect for these also-rans by making sure that the word “Islam” never once appeared in a speech specifically discussing the republic’s war with Islam. This is not an “America First” position, Mr. President, it is the position of a man who ignored his reliable instincts, and allowed himself to be seduced by the siren song of be-starred bureaucrats masquerading as component general officers.

Good God, man, where were your wits? Did you even bother to ask the generals why, in nearly seventeen years, they have not been able to secure the Afghan capital of Kabul? Or why, in nearly seventeen years, they have not been able to train an Afghan military capable of protecting anything without U.S. advisers and air power? Did you ask them how they were going to win with 12,000 or 15,000 troops against an enemy stronger and more numerous than it was in 2001, when they shamefully failed to do so earlier with 120,000 troops? Did you ask them how they expect to win now by slapping around Pakistan, when they failed to win when Pakistan’s Musharraf was doing more to help us than any of our other allies, even bringing his country to the edge of civil war? Did you ask them if it is sound military doctrine to reinforce their nearly seventeen-year record of failure and defeat in Afghanistan with more lives, limbs, dollars, and, without doubt, more defeat?

And what, pray tell, Mr. President, did these generals tell you? Did they tell you that the combination of kicking around Pakistan and buddying-up with India greatly increases the risk of nuclear war in South Asia, especially since tensions between those nations are already rising over the Kashmir dispute? Did they tell you that Hindus, because they are polytheists, are despised by Sunni Muslims, and that if we work with them against the mujahideen we will — after already helping the heretical Shia to hold Iraq and Syria — re-validate for the world’s Sunni Muslims the belief that America is seeking to destroy Sunni Islam and will ally with anyone who has the same intent?

Did they tell you that China is building a road and railway system from its western border, across Central Asia and parts of Afghanistan, to Turkey, as well as similar facilities from its western border, southward through Pakistan, to the Pakistani port of Gwadar on the Indian Ocean, which Beijing built and controls. Did they tell you that this project — called One Belt, One Road — will be a magnet for the mujahideen, and so China will have to fight, first, to get it built and, second, to protect and enable the system’s economic viability against an Islamic insurgency? Did they tell you that if the United States simply gets out of the way in Afghanistan, the Chinese will soon be tied down there, wasting lives and money until they realize that they are defeated?

Did they tell you that Russia is working successfully to reestablish its military presence across the USSR’s former Central Asian republics because it fears the growing numbers of mujahideen — Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other Islamist groups — that are basing in northern Afghanistan along the Russian Federation’s border, an Islamist presence which is sure to expand northward? Did they tell you that if we get out of Afghanistan, the Russians would eventually have to fight the Taliban, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other Islamist groups along the Afghanistan-Central Asia border, and surely in northern Afghanistan as well? Did they tell you that, if the United States leaves Afghanistan, there is every chance that China and Russia will, before long, contain themselves by becoming militarily tied down in an intractable Islamist insurgency in Central Asia and Afghanistan, thereby steadily wasting lives and money, limiting their ability to cause trouble elsewhere in the world, and increasing the already existing Islamist unrest in Central Asia and western China?

If you did not ask the questions mentioned above, shame on you? If your generals did not explain the above-noted factors to you, fire them and send them off to the heaven they crave, be it to the board of Raytheon,, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, or some other lethal enemy of the American taxpayer. Then get yourself some combat-experienced Lieutenant-Colonels, Colonels, and Brigadiers to take their place, as well as the Marine Corps’ senior Gunnery Sergeant to keep an eye on them and to always tell you the truth.

You are the last shot for America First, Mr. President; that is an enormous responsibility but one you sought. Your performance is likely to determine the fate of the republic, and you were elected because the citizenry sensed that and trusted your rhetoric and your instincts. Now get to work and depend on your commonsense, not the advice of generals who never have and never will win anything.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.