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Douglas Caddy

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Posts posted by Douglas Caddy

  1. Another Failed Presidency at Hand

    Sept. 7, 2021



    Credit...Kenny Holston for The New York Times

    Opinion Columnist


    This Sept. 11, a diminished president will preside over a diminished nation.

    We are a country that could not keep a demagogue from the White House; could not stop an insurrectionist mob from storming the Capitol; could not win (or at least avoid losing) a war against a morally and technologically retrograde enemy; cannot conquer a disease for which there are safe and effective vaccines; and cannot bring itself to trust the government, the news media, the scientific establishment, the police or any other institution meant to operate for the common good.

    A civilization “is born stoic and dies epicurean,” wrote historian Will Durant about the Babylonians. Our civilization was born optimistic and enlightened, at least by the standards of the day. Now it feels as if it’s fading into paranoid senility.

    Joe Biden was supposed to be the man of the hour: a calming presence exuding decency, moderation and trust. As a candidate, he sold himself as a transitional president, a fatherly figure in the mold of George H.W. Bush who would restore dignity and prudence to the Oval Office after the mendacity and chaos that came before. It’s why I voted for him, as did so many others who once tipped red.

    Instead, Biden has become the emblem of the hour: headstrong but shaky, ambitious but inept. He seems to be the last person in America to realize that, whatever the theoretical merits of the decision to withdraw our remaining troops from Afghanistan, the military and intelligence assumptions on which it was built were deeply flawed, the manner in which it was executed was a national humiliation and a moral betrayal, and the timing was catastrophic.

  2. U.S. Citizens and Afghans Wait for Evacuation Flights From Country’s North

    The Taliban have left hundreds of people stranded in Afghanistan awaiting approval for departure.



    In this satellite image taken on Friday, planes can be seen near the main terminal of the airport in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.Credit...Maxar Technologies/Reuters

    Sept. 5, 2021
    The New York Times

    Around 1,000 people, including dozens of American citizens and Afghans holding visas to the United States or other countries, remained stuck in Afghanistan for the fifth day on Sunday as they awaited clearance for the departure from the Taliban. The holdup reflects the challenges of foreign governments working with the group, which has yet to form a government.

    Negotiations to allow the planes to depart, involving officials of the Taliban, the United States and Qatar, have dragged on for days, leaving the evacuees in an increasingly precarious limbo, according to representatives of organizations trying to get them to safety.T


    The Biden administration has faced criticism for leaving Americans and Afghan allies behind after the final troops left on Aug. 30.

    The confusion surrounding the departure of the chartered planes from Mazar reflects the chaos in Afghanistan resulting from the departure of the United States and its Western allies and fears that the Taliban will fail to come good on their promises to respect human rights and not persecute Afghans who cooperated with the American-backed government.

    “The reason the Taliban wants to prevent these people from leaving is likely because they intend to punish them for their cooperation with the U.S.,” said Mick Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official who has been working with the group Task Force Dunkirk to help evacuate Afghans from the country. If the Taliban really are using people as a bargaining chip, Mr. Mulroy said, that “is unacceptable.”

    Representative Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas and the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, suggested during an interview on Fox News Sunday that the Taliban were preventing six airplanes from leaving Afghanistan, effectively holding Americans hostage.

    “State has cleared these flights, and the Taliban will not let them leave the airport,” Mr. McCaul said, adding that he believed the problem was “turning into a hostage situation.”

    Mr. McCaul said the Taliban wanted “something in exchange” for approving takeoff of the planes. He said he believed they were seeking “full recognition from the United States of America.”

  3. From  the Overnight Defense Report from The Hill:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which Biden has tasked with leading the resettlement efforts, has sent 300 personnel to the sites to assist the State Department and others with rigorous vetting of those seeking to make it to the U.S.

    Their appointment was welcome news to many frustrated by a lack of communication from the State Department.

    “They are still trying to figure out what to do with people across the world basically that have been strung out to the four corners of the earth,” said one source who sat in on a recent call with DHS. “It was clear they were trying to come up with a solution.”

    But it’s unclear how long the Afghans will be there.

    “We’re concerned about the length of time people will be in these countries. There hasn’t been a real answer to that. We don't want people staying in Qatar for five years,” the source said. 

    What about the charters?: What is also unclear is how the U.S will address those who left the country on charter flights to a number of other countries and who are not staying in facilities overseen by the government.

    “Wherever had visa-free travel for Afghans to go, these charter flights ended up going. That is a logistical nightmare. Where did these people end up? Where did they go? What are the legal processes to get them into the U.S.?” said the source familiar with the DHS call.

    DHS told stakeholders that it planned to use existing immigration pathways for that population — a lengthy and complicated process that advocates fear could leave Afghans in other countries for years on end.

    Operation Allies Welcome: Speaking of DHS, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas detailed Friday what’s now being called “Operation Allies Welcome,” the DHS-led effort to continue extracting people from Afghanistan, vetting them and resettle them.

    "Our mission is not accomplished until we have safely evacuated all the U.S. citizens who wish to leave Afghanistan, all lawful permanent residents, all individuals who have assisted the United States in Afghanistan," Mayorkas told reporters Friday.

    Mayorkas appointed Robert Fenton, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) career professional who briefly led the agency in an acting capacity, as head of the Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to lead the inter-agency effort.

    "This initiative requires us to call on the resources, expertise and authorities of every part of the federal government. DHS possesses vast operational expertise and a long record of leadership, bringing different agencies together to execute a single mission," said Mayorkas.

  4. From the Overnight Defense Report by The Hill:

    Biden moves to declassify, release 9/11 docs

    Biden on Friday signed an executive order directing the Justice Department and other agencies to review and release certain documents related to the FBI's investigation of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    Biden touted the move as the fulfillment of a campaign promise, and it is likely to provide some solace to families of victims of the attacks who have for years pushed the government to declassify and make public more information around the events of 9/11.

    "My heart continues to be with the 9/11 families who are suffering, and my administration will continue to engage respectfully with members of this community," Biden said in a statement. "I welcome their voices and insight as we chart a way forward."

    What the order does: Biden's order directs the Justice Department and other federal agencies to begin a review of documents and requires the attorney general to release declassified information over the next six months.

    Congressional oversight: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the panel would oversee the review "to ensure that all agencies adhere to the president’s guidance to apply the maximum degree of transparency allowed by law when conducting the review.”

    Family efforts: The issue of the classified documents has been an ongoing cause for many families of victims of the attacks. A group of those families issued a statement last month urging Biden not to attend any memorial events this Sept. 11 unless the administration released documents surrounding a potential link between Saudi Arabia and the attacks.

    The group 9/11 Families United issued a statement Friday praising Biden's executive order.

    "We are thrilled to see the President forcing the release of more evidence about Saudi connections to the 9/11 Attacks," Terry Strada, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center, said in a statement.

    "There is much more work to be done to secure justice for our murdered loved ones and to rectify the immense damage the 20-year shroud of secrecy has caused, but we now are optimistic that President Biden will be helping us achieve those goals," Strada added.

  5. 17 hours ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

    I'm not sure if subsequent posts were pro staying in Afghanistan or not , but I'll try to address what Doug's saying.


    Doug: In my opinion America and the free would will pay heavily in geopolitics for what Biden had done. In his speech yesterday he claimed he had ended the "Forever War."

    Ok, so what do you propose? Are you making the argument we should stay indefinitely because after all it's only 20-30 billion a year to employ a small force of 2500 who keep things reasonably stable in at least Kabul?

    Doug: In my opinion America and the free would will pay heavily in geopolitics for what Biden had done. In his speech yesterday he claimed he had ended the "Forever War." Then he went on to declare a new war, this one on terrorists who threaten America.

    But that's not a new war, presumably isn't that what we say we've been doing for the last 20 years? But we  don't know the working reality of that statement. He's done the deed and how do we know he's not just trying to assure the hawks that America just won't roll over in the future. We don't know how much commitment that statement entails.

    RE New Yorker article:200,000 people Doug?  So we're a lot better at making friends than I ever thought we were! So we owe it to everybody whoever co operated with us? I'm not going to trust the Taliban , but is there any point in them seeking reprisals on 200,000 people? They've got a country to run and have to understand to keep it from crumbling they are going to need some cooperation from world community.

    Doug: China now knows it can move against Taiwan. The terrorists now know they can move against America's homeland, maybe as proxies for China and Russia. 

    I'm not sure what you mean specifically by the Middle East terrorists moving against the U.S in our homeland as proxies, but we certainly can't be sure to be safe , from terrorist attacks based within the U.S..

    China moving against Taiwan is the big one, isn't it? But of course Taiwan has the "silicon shield" . In some senses Taiwan Semi conductor has the  whole world hostage and if it was, for any reason, to stop production, the world would be shut down. So they hold some chips against a Chinese invasion.

    Of course, you have an impressive resume Doug. I've won a couple of Mandarin Speech contests and was considering being an interpreter many years ago, but decided i didn't want to go that route. But it did leave me some knowledge about the Chinese culture. This could sound Pollyanneish , but they've had a long history of being invaded but not being an imperialist power. They seem to be intent on taking over the world economically using far less weapons and bombs than our history shows we have. We'll see if that's where history's trending. We largely gave them Hong Kong. But in the meantime,let's hope we'll l be hearing mostly a lot of saber rattling about them taking over some largely uninhabited South Seas Islands.



    The bottom line is that virtually everyone who closely follows foreign affairs as much as domestic affairs believes Biden has committed a geopolitical error of incalculable magnitude that puts our country in mortal danger. I concur in that assessment. Every office holder who is a Democrat will suffer politically even though each one played no role in what he did. Biden's judgment in implementing policy, foreign and domestic, must now be scrutinized carefully. 

  6. From the Overnight Report from The Hill:

    American and Afghan allies left behind in Afghanistan have entered a fraught and uncertain period of limbo following the definitive conclusion of U.S. military evacuations out of the country.

    Advocates estimate roughly 150,000 vulnerable Afghans still remain in the country after a U.S. evacuation effort ended early Tuesday, while those who assisted the U.S. military who may now wish to leave with their families could add another 100,000. 

    Many who remain have gone into hiding over fear of violent retribution by the Taliban, likely targeted for work alongside American and coalition forces that battled and killed members of the Islamic-fundamentalist group over two decades of war. 

    Confusion and fear: These groups of people face overwhelming confusion and fear over how to leave the country, from practical matters of appropriate travel documents and questions over when airports will reopen and how they will function — to the uncertainty of whether the Taliban will respond to international pressure to ensure safe passage.

    “The last few months have been incredibly challenging and disappointing for our clients, whose risk has increased exponentially with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan,” Adam Bates, policy counsel with the International Refugee Assistance Project told reporters, noting that “the majority of our clients were not able to leave Afghanistan on an evacuation flight.”

    Who was left behind?: Out of more than 500 clients the International Refugee Assistance Project was trying to get out of the country, only about 130 were able to make it onto flights. Just a few dozen have made it onto U.S. soil.

    Rabbi Will Berkowitz, CEO of the refugee resettlement organization Jewish Family Services, said that group has 127 people on the ground in Afghanistan — 23 families that qualify for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to the U.S. who were left behind in the evacuations.  

    The organization is gaming whether people can evacuate over land routes, but is distraught over whether access to cash and communication may be cut off at any moment. They have advised the people to stay in hiding over the next few days as the situation unfolds. 

    The New York-based Women for Afghan Women was unable to secure evacuation for 500 of its most vulnerable staff. This group qualified for evacuation and refugee status for their association with a U.S.-government funded organization. 

    Also left in Afghanistan are an estimated 150 journalists working for the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, media outlets funded by the American government. That group numbers 500 people including their families, according to a congressional aide. 


  7. 23 hours ago, Kirk Gallaway said:

    Doug, you keep pounding home the political price Biden will pay for his blunders in Afghanistan.

    I've always seen  from the links you post that you have what I have interpreted as old right wing friends that occasionally pop up in your links and newer left wing friends. It seems to me Biden is being punished because the President fled and his army collapsed. To this you would normally blame American Intelligence. Personally I've always thought these agencies are like huge elephants in the room who always ended up shooting themselves in the  foot to mix metaphors. It never impresses me as something that necessarily can carry off anything in detail, much less an all imposing "deep state", but I digress. It's the arms suppliers and the contract people who are the chief  beneficiaries..
    The neocons hated Trump's rhetoric and then found  the reality of Biden turned out to be worse. If the neocons have no place else to go, that's a good development. But at least we're starting to ask some questions. If this does in fact ruin  Biden's presidency as you predict it is a victory for the neocons.
    We hear these cries of "who will ever trust the U.S, militarily anymore". If that's a greater barrier to them getting involved with us. I think that's another  good thing, as well that we have should have a lot more reticence about nation building in the future.
     The Republicans will always have the luxury of criticizing, while on one side of their mouths they'll try to act like they realize they can't be there forever for the public and the other side, they'll never really propose how they would have pulled out any differently, or pulled out at all.   JMO


    My primary interest in Biden's debacle in Afghanistan is not the political price all Democratic House and Senate candidates in 2022 and 2024 will pay for what he has done  (as the Republican congressional candidates in 1974 paid for what Nixon had done.)

    My interest is the geopolitical ramifications of his actions. I was graduated in 1960 from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. My B.S. degree was in international relations. I was trained to become a foreign service officer. At the school I was the editor of the Foreign Service Courier, the student publication. I studied under the famed Professor Carroll Quigley who taught Civilization I and II. Clinton followed my graduation by enrolling in the School of Foreign Service seven years later. When he was president each year he returned to Georgetown U. to give a lecture in honor of Prof. Quigley.

    I did not go into the foreign service but instead enrolled in New York University Law School where I got my J.D. degree.

    In my opinion America and the free would will pay heavily in geopolitics for what Biden had done. In his speech yesterday he claimed he had ended the "Forever War." Then he went on to declare a new war, this one on terrorists who threaten America. Here is one geopolitical example of how this may backfire. The Taliban, ISIS-k and other terrorist groups that will now inhabit and control Afghanistan will proclaim that for every member of their organization that is killed by drone strike or otherwise, one of the 60,000 hostages that Biden left behind in Afghanistan will be killed along with his/her family members in retaliation. These hostages are our friends, our interpreters, our supporters and Biden's incompetent withdrawal left them behind, along with an unknown number of Americans. 

    The Taliban boast that they defeated the world's greatest superpower. 

    China now knows it can move against Taiwan. The terrorists now know they can move against America's homeland, maybe as proxies for China and Russia. 

    Tony Blair was correct when he said that Biden's action was imbecilic.


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