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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Prolonged Wars Are a Failure of Leadership.

Afghanistan is quickly nearing collapse as major cities across the country, such as Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province,  fall to Taliban militants.  So swift was the takeover, that just weeks from a total US withdrawal, only three major cities, including Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, remain under Afghani government control.

The question has to be asked – How did this happen and what does it mean?

Here’s my quick analysis.

America first began targeted attacks against the Taliban on October 7, 2001 as a response to their harboring of Usama Bin Laden and others responsible for the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

The US new that Bin Laden was responsible but what congress did was to pass a very vague Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) that delegated the president to take actions to combat terrorism efforts against the US and bring those responsible for the 9-11 attacks to justice.

Usually when things go wrong you can trace the problem back to its source. I would argue that any reasonable person might say that the AUMF is where everything went wrong for a number of reasons. One reason is that it was an abdication of congresses power to wage war. Here’s why that’s important: war requires the sacrifice of the people – sometimes their fortunes but in many cases their lives. This is why congress should tightly control when, how, and with who the nation goes to war. Not only do we have a congress that is unaccountable, but we have had four different presidential administrations that have had to deal with a war from nearly 20 years ago. This war had no clear objectives, metrics for success or necessary objectives to accomplish in order to actually win.

Fast forward to the present day and we have a presidential administration that seems to have lost all sense of what this war is about and who the enemy is. This is probably why when when she was asked about the Taliban’s military reemergence, President Biden’s Press Secretary, Jen Psaki, actually said that the Taliban needs to “make an assessment of what they want their role to be in the international community.”

If you were to ask anyone in the world who was involved in the invasion or supported in back in 2001, the consensus would have been that the Taliban should have NO role in the international community.

When you don’t follow the constitution, you set yourself up for failure which in this case looks a lot like having the Taliban take over Afghanistan. Allowing them to take over with American equipment we left on abandoned on fully functional bases is about as close to defining failure as you can get.

Paul Curtman is a veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps, an author, conference speaker, and statesman. For nearly 20 years, Paul has helped lead and develop leaders in the United States military, public service sectors, and business. Paul is a strong advocate for personal and economic freedom as well as the strength and integrity of the free market system. He is a Fellow at Club for Growth in Washington D.C. and currently lives in Missouri with his wife, Ruth, and their four children.


  1. Paul, Thanks for the thoughts.
    I’m outraged that the US Army keeps leaving war machines behind to certainly be used by the enemy to do more harm than if the US had Never Come To Save Them!!!. Unfortunately these governments that just crumble when US Army leaves, are so incompetent the US needs to take their war machines with them.

    Have you noticed that when there is a national crisis, our Representatives panic and make really stupid, emotionally charged decisions??? And when there is money to be made by influential corporations, politicians sell their soul to the devil?
    Legalizing Monsanto to patent seeds for food..!!!
    The Patriot Act, legalizing government spying on US Citizens. Completely doing away with our Right to Privacy.
    As Paul outlined above, (AUMF). A seemingly open ended authorization to wage a never ending war. I agreed with going after Bin-Laden and all his helpers. And I agreed with wiping out all his training camps, but there should have been a point where our objective was accomplished. A Matrix for success, as Paul stated.

    The US needs to respect that other peoples have customs different from our own and leave them in peace. Besides, our customs have been grossly perverted over the last sixty years. Judging by christian values of the nineteen forties. Who are we to tell other countries what is right and wrong. That’s not an endorsement for the practices of the Taliban.

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