A lot of people, mostly conservatives, are up in arms over the military equipment left behind in Afghanistan that’s now been seized by the Taliban. Republicans are using this as a political poking stick against President Biden, but it’s something everyone should be concerned about and not just used to score political points.
You can place a lot of blame for the withdrawal on President Biden, but you can’t blame him for the U.S.-made military goodies left behind and grabbed by the bad guys. President Biden didn’t put them there.
We spent the past two decades training the Afghanistan military and giving them hundreds of millions in free military equipment. President Biden has been president for less than a year. It’s not his fault the Afghanistan military folded like a wet bag in a dishwasher. The United States military didn’t abandon Humvees, tanks, and Black Hawk helicopters on the side of the road in Afghanistan. All the military equipment the Taliban has snagged is from the Afghanistan military…which cut bait and bailed just as soon as the Taliban made a scary face and said, “Grrrrr.”
We don’t know how much military equipment the Taliban got ahold of. We can’t run an audit because they didn’t take it from us and it’s not like the Taliban will tell us other than posting a few photos on social media of them posing with it while saying, “nyah-nyah.” We can’t even get a clear answer from the Pentagon on how much we gave Afghanistan over the past two decades. But an unnamed official told Reuters that current intelligence assessment was that the Taliban took control of more than 2,000 armored vehicles, including American Humvees, and as many as 40 aircraft that may include UH-60 Black Hawks, scout attack helicopters and ScanEagle military drones.
How in the hell do we lose drones? Maybe we should have had Amazon drones ship the drones.
Republicans sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense stating, “Securing U.S. assets should have been among the top priorities for the U.S. Department of Defense prior to announcing the withdrawal from Afghanistan.” Ugh, Republicans. It wasn’t ours to “secure.” You can’t train an army and give them to the tools to defend their nation and then just take the tools back out of fear they’ll shoot their eyes out. The Afghan army was supposed to be able to use it. Republicans should write them a letter. They’ll probably write back “grrrr, Mondays.”
It should be noted that just because the Taliban may have 40 American-made aircraft, that doesn’t mean they know how to use them. It doesn’t mean they can maintain the aircraft or even get parts for the equipment. This is equipment made by the military industry of the United States which means: it’s all made to break quickly and be replaced.
I seriously doubt the Taliban has a lot of pilots and flight crews. But what they can do is sell it. There are a lot of nations that would love to own military stuff from the United States. Not just so they can use it but so they can replicate it. This could be more dangerous than the Taliban having it.
Here’s an idea: Let’s cut military spending. The budget for the military increases every year. Even during the Obama years, in which Republicans and Trump claim he depleted the military. Every year during the Obama years, we spent over $600 billion (with a “b”) on the military. You don’t “deplete” a military by spending $600 billion on it. Last year, we spent over $725 billion. At least 39 percent of the world’s military spending is by the United States. Hell, we have 20 aircraft carriers that wasn’t much use in a two-decade war in a landlocked nation. But then again, we have a naval facility in West Virginia. Putting a naval base in a landlocked state is like putting a university in Arkansas.
There are places outside our nation we need to be, but we don’t need to be everywhere. And we don’t need to spend $2 trillion on a nation just to watch it fall to a terrorist organization.
We have a military culture in our nation that goes beyond politics. It’s not Democratic or Republican and it never changes other than getting more expensive by the year. Let’s stop doing that.
They say we lost the war in Afghanistan, but the defense industry won. Right now, the defense industry is probably lobbying Congress for our next war.
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