Paul Avallone published the above essay in Soldier of Fortune magazine in December 2003. He had just returned home from an extended deployment with his Special Forces A-Team in Afghanistan on what he calls an "uncomplicated" mission: "to prevent the Taliban and Al Qaeda from re-establishing themselves in the country." This essay is quite simply the most sensible argument for exiting Afghanistan I've ever seen, and which I am have just read for the first time today.
Consider it a bonus that came of asking Paul Avallone for his thoughts on "the Stan" today, nearly twenty catastrophic years later, which are published below.
I find myself with little to say about the ongoing theatrics in Afghanistan, seemingly playing out in the long Chinese kowtow the Biden regime was installed to force Mother America into, the true pervert/fake president sniffing her head as she is ground into the dirt (bowing to Allah turning out to have been just a rehearsal). Or maybe it is more spectacle for the titillation of the billionaire voyeurs of Davos, who always thrill to the rape of the US Constitution. I don't know.
For my own part, it is well over a decade since the thought "Let Afghanistan Go" presented itself as the obvious solution -- see column of that title from April 2009 -- and back then I didn't even know very much about the hell that was the inside of the US government, which is now all over the outside.
My take today really boils down to a simple grain: while the US government is making war on the American people at home, chasing us with syringes filled with poison, I feel little for the US government running from the mujahideen in Kabul, tripping over its finger-pointing.
My feelings are very different when it comes to the men the hellish US government served up as guinea pigs in catastrophic social engineering experiments in Islamic Iraq and Islamic Afghanistan, which I covered years ago in syndicated newspaper columns. What are the veterans of this disaster, which the US government perpetrated on them as much as on anyone else, thinking?
As noted above, I have turned to writer-photographer and Army veteran Paul Avallone, a great friend of this blog, for his thoughts.
Author of two books, Tattoo Zoo (2014), a brand new comedy-novella, Afghan Whammy, and other writings on Afghanistan (including a three-part series with remarkable photos, "Flirting with Afghanistan," which debuted in 2010 right here), Paul Avallone knows Afghanistan all too well, having served with Special Forces in Nangarhar in 2002-2003, and later as a photo-journalist in 2006 and 2008.
Paul Avalllone replied:
Oh, Miss West, the headlines out of the 'Stan are hilarious. I can't stop laughing, and I'm being serious. My only bit of incorrect thinking is that I did not think it was going to happen this quickly. I was giving it six months to a year before the Taliban had taken over the entire country, and I have not had any intel as to their build up (which, obviously, the US military/CIA/DIA/everyone also did not have, going all the way up to Milley and his Joint Chiefs who would have been briefing the White House just a few weeks ago that warranted WH statements of absolute confidence in the strength etc of the Afghan govt/army/etc.).
Here's a postcard I made way back in 2006. My terp/fixer had returned from a few days home with his family with the three pics of his daughter, and I was thus inspired to make my own statement from them. (Now 15 years later, he and that 19-year-old girl, her sister and brother and his wife, are still stuck in Turkey as a refugee (going on two years now), having had to escape Afghanistan as things really were going to shit a couple of years ago.):
I've already put so much of my opinions (wisdom) on the place/war in writing, from that great big monster essay that introduced me to you, Flirting With Afghanistan, (found there at the website in a photo-packed pdf), then that monster novel, Tattoo Zoo......to the point where I now simply throw up my arms and admit that it was all just a farce in the little comedy (un-monster) novella, Afghany Whammy. The quote after the title page in it sums up my attitude: "If you can't laugh at the Afghan War, gosh, what war can you laugh at?" How can one not laugh, when the three illiterate goatherds below have made impotent fools of the "mightiest world power", while making a few hundred billion bucks out of it from that same mighty MBA-laden power?
Go ahead, WaPo and NYT and NYorker and Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair and GQ and a dozen others, run that photo there and tell me why you had not thirty seconds to give me when you all thought you knew it all better than one who was not/is not of your circle? Even today, Diana, take a quick gander at this little 700-word thing of mine from 2003, and tell me of what value is it that the entire mainstream media (print and TV and streaming) will be bringing the same old tired voices (the Gen Keanes, etc) who knew nothing then and did not know it nor care to know it.
The "Dateline" above would have been around 2008. A full 13 years ago and another trillion bucks or more flushed away.....
Laughter. Any other emotion would warrant sharpening-up and wheeling out the guillotine for those who have been in charge this entire debacle.
Feel free to use any of the above, Diana
PS. from me: