Questions Future Historians May Ask About Biden's Afghan 'Debacle:'
For the next century historians and military officers will analyze the Biden administration's Afghanistan withdrawal humiliation. Here are three questions I guarantee will spur debate.
No. 1: Was there any way to convince the Biden administration to reconsider its "perception driven" Beltway media-political strategy in Afghanistan, see the terrible on-the-ground facts as consequential and then take action to stop an impending debacle?
No. 2: How late in summer 2021 could decisive U.S. action have reversed deterioration?
No. 3: Would action in a specific geographic position have positive political and military effects throughout the region?
As for No. 2, I suggest on July 6 deterioration was reversible. The U.S. still had time to prevent an Afghan national government collapse. Why? Because Afghan national forces still tenuously held Bagram Airfield, the pivotal logistical and operational point for the U.S. and international coalition supporting the Afghan government. With its runways, facilities and material stores, retaining Bagram was arguably essential to the survival of Afghan national forces. Bagram answers No. 3.
July 6 at high noon Washington, D.C., time was the moment for the only action that may have convinced an exceedingly self-certain Biden administration to change the course of its clearly faltering withdrawal.
The change of course: Sending in U.S. military reinforcements and retaking Bagram. These actions would have secured a safe withdrawal of American citizens, Afghan allies and U.S. military personnel, without losing U.S. prestige and angering allies. Moreover, it would have strengthened the resolve of Afghan national forces.
The action in extremis to open Secretary of State Antony Blinken's and President Joe Biden's closed minds and change course: responsible senior military officers serving in key Pentagon slots and commands offering Biden their resignations en masse.
That dramatic beau geste didn't occur.
Why? Here are some possible reasons for historians to weigh and dramatists to explore as to why a particular individual rejected this choice. One is a lack of knowledge of the situation on the ground. Character flaws leading to a failure in moral courage is another. Careerism -- valuing job prestige over the greater duty -- is a third.