Max Boot's break with reality
The advocate of endless war doesn't realize that the ease with which the Taliban retook Afghanistan disproves his worldview
Something told me that I needed to see what delusional ravings neoconservative warmonger, but I repeat myself, Max Boot would be putting out in the wake of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan. To say that I was pleasantly surprised and that Boot had come to his senses would be an outright lie; he is as married to the ideology of endless war as ever. In his Washington Post column, entitled “Biden is wrong. There was nothing inevitable about the disaster in Afghanistan,” Boot writes:
[The Afghanistan Study Group’s] report argued that a slightly larger U.S. force focused on “training, advising, and assisting Afghan defense forces” would be enough.
There is no reason to believe that this slightly increased U.S. presence would have resulted in many U.S. casualties. U.S. troops stopped suffering heavy losses after they transitioned in 2014 to a primarily advisory mission. Most troops were relatively safe on large bases the Taliban could not effectively attack. Yet the support they provided to the Afghan government - both material and psychological - remained crucial.
So after twenty years of war with much of that spent “training, advising, and assisting Afghan defense forces,” Boot says all we needed was more of that with a couple thousand more American soldiers occupying the country in order to avert “disaster” in Afghanistan. How much more, however, is never answered by Boot. One year? Five years? Twenty more years?
The fact that the Taliban waltzed into the capital city of Afghanistan, Kabul, without a hiccup’s worth of resistance from the “Afghan defense forces” proves that there were, in fact, no Afghan defense forces in anything other than name only, and that “training, advising, and assisting” them for the past two decades has been nothing more than an excuse to waste American taxpayer dollars for the benefit of arms manufacturers and military contractors.
The Washington Post itself reported, in “The Afghanistan Papers,” that nobody in the U.S. military actually believed that the Afghan defense forces were in any way a legitimate fighting force, despite their public comments to the contrary.
Year after year, U.S. generals have said in public they are making steady progress on the central plank of their strategy: to train a robust Afghan army and national police force that can defend the country without foreign help.
In the Lessons Learned interviews, however, U.S. military trainers described the Afghan security forces as incompetent, unmotivated and rife with deserters. They also accused Afghan commanders of pocketing salaries — paid by U.S. taxpayers — for tens of thousands of “ghost soldiers.”
None expressed confidence that the Afghan army and police could ever fend off, much less defeat, the Taliban on their own. More than 60,000 members of Afghan security forces have been killed, a casualty rate that U.S. commanders have called unsustainable.
The reality in Afghanistan at this moment certainly vindicates the idea that the Afghan defense forces stood no chance against the Taliban despite 20 years of American “training, advising, and assisting Afghan defense forces” which Boot claims is all we need still. If Boot can’t or won’t give us a timetable by which we could judge the success of the policy he claims to support (Success being defined as the Afghan defense forces being able to defend their government against the Taliban on their own), or an explanation as to why the past 20 years hasn’t been long enough, then how can we possibly take his suggestions seriously?
It’s been obvious for a long time that Max Boot is nothing more than a warmongering ideologue who wants the U.S. military to occupy the Middle East in perpetuity, this is why he was an early “Never Trump” conservative, but this idea that the U.S. could train an Afghan defense force that could eventually stand up to the Taliban on its own and then, presumably, withdraw, which he would never actually support under any circumstances, without the country falling back into chaos and Taliban control is delusional and dishonest given the evidence right in front of our faces.