The Fall Of Imperial America

The Fall Of Imperial America. By Rod Dreher.

Pat Buchanan was right:

First, let me acknowledge that Patrick J. Buchanan, a co-founder of this magazine, told us so. He called it all back at the beginning. He warned us not to engage in nation-building. He warned us not to make war on Iraq. But our elites of the Left and the Right — especially the Right — treated him as a heretic.

Today, we are living with an Iraq that is dominated by Iran, with a Syria that has been dismantled among the Assad regime, the Turks, and the Kurds, and with an Afghanistan that is once again ruled by the Taliban. …

Where the blame belongs:

Senators and elected officials don’t know much about war. They depend on expert advice. As the Washington Post documented in its publication of the Afghanistan Papers, the military brass lied. Excerpt:

A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable. …

We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.” …

A friend of mine who is a veteran of Afghanistan told me so this morning, his voice breaking with emotion recalling all his comrades killed in the fight. “For nothing,” he said.

Religion is not just supernatural tales for pre-moderns, as the conceited PC mob would have you believe. Religion is predominately about psychology, meaning, and culture:

This is on the elites. This is on elites like Carter Malkasian, senior adviser to the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2015-2019. In this piece from last month in Politico, he admits that it never really occurred to these American geniuses that the Taliban were really motivated by their religion. Excerpt:

The Taliban had an advantage in inspiring Afghans to fight. Their call to fight foreign occupiers, steeped in references to Islamic teachings, resonated with Afghan identity. … The Taliban were able to tie themselves to religion and to Afghan identity in a way that a government allied with non-Muslim foreign occupiers could not match.

The very presence of Americans in Afghanistan trod on a sense of Afghan identity that incorporated national pride, a long history of fighting outsiders and a religious commitment to defend the homeland. It prodded men and women to defend their honor, their religion and their home. It dared young men to fight. It sapped the will of Afghan soldiers and police. The Taliban’s ability to link their cause to the very meaning of being Afghan was a crucial factor in America’s defeat.

This explanation has been underappreciated by American leaders and experts, myself included. We believed things were possible in Afghanistan — defeat of the Taliban or enabling the Afghan government to stand on its own — that probably were not.

The PC narrative greatly underestimates the power of religion and ethnicity, and greatly overestimates the binding force of mere propositions or ideology.

Gosh, you think? What the hell did these eggheads think that the Taliban were?! It’s like a senior American expert in 1945 writing that it was surprising to discover that the Nazis really cared a lot about race.

This is what happens when you have an elite that is wholly secular, and incapable of thinking outside that narrow box. Why did they tap Ghani as president? Because he was the most secularized, technocratic Afghan politician — somebody American experts could understand, but also someone incapable of inspiring loyalty among Afghanis.

Diversity is our strength; the USA is a proposition nation? Nope.

Our military is ethnically diverse, no doubt about it. The fact that it works in spite of people coming from so many different “tribes” is a great thing. But color me skeptical that diversity is a military “strength and combat multiplier.” That’s something a junior officer says to show the commissars that he is reliable.

Look at these guys. They lack diversity. You know what their strength was? Allah. Allah, tribalism, and nationalism.

How many meetings to plan an orderly evacuation of Afghanistan did our military brass miss so they could attend diversity training? …

We are an unserious country, and the world knows it. A friend of mine whose son is headed to West Point told me that in the boy’s packet of information that just came in there is a rainbow-flag diversity sticker.

America might not know how to win actual wars, but it sure is going to equip its troops to win the culture war against traditional morality and old-fashioned American values. …

What is it exactly that people will fight and die for? The PC US leadership need to think about this quickly, because Americans are fast running out of reasons to fight for the US. How much allegiance to the US do you suppose the illegal immigrants to the US have? What if the US military of fifty years time folds as fast as the Afghan Army just did?

A reader of this blog who is a Marine Corps veteran of Afghanistan wrote this morning to say he will be discouraging his son from military service.

A friend who is a veteran sent me a tweet by one of his Air Force vet comrades, saying that after what he has witnessed these past few days, he will discourage his son from following in his father’s footsteps. …

The Afghanistan fiasco reduces the credibility of the US elite:

We can’t unsee what we have seen in Afghanistan. We can’t fail to know the magnitude of the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of American elites. We can’t pretend to have confidence in the judgments of these people simply because we see no plausible alternative.

These are the people who are tearing our country apart by pushing neoracism and bizarre gender theories. These are the people who cannot control the southern border. These are the people who are destroying American education for the sake of a crack-brained Marxist idea of “equity.” These are the people who are failing to provide a decent future for most Americans, while making sure that their kids are taken care of.

They don’t care. They live in Clown World.

The leftist commentator Freddie de Boer has a great column up today talking about how The New York Times, our paper of record™, has no incentives left ever to tell its affluent white subscriber base — our ruling class — what it doesn’t want to hear.

Read it all.

hat-tip Stephen Neil