Afghanistan

The Public Has No Real Way of Knowing How Many Troops Are Actually in Afghanistan

By playing with definitions, the military is able to keep more troops in Afghanistan than it publicly reports.

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It's an open question of whether President Joe Biden will stick to the current deadline for pulling all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan under a peace agreement signed with the Taliban last year. First, though, we'll have to figure out how many troops are actually there right now.

Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the U.S. has about 3,500 troops in the country, or 1,000 more than the 2,500 that the Department of Defense has been reporting.

The Times, citing European, American, and Afghan officials, reports that the additional troops are a mix of special operations forces that have been moved "off the books" as well as "temporary" or "transitioning" units that haven't been included in the official count.

Under the current timetable for withdrawal, all troops are supposed to be out of the country by May 1.

The presence of these 1,000 uncounted troops, in addition to 7,000 NATO and allied troops has some experts questioning whether the military even has the ability to meet that deadline, notes the Times.

Their presence also highlights just how opaque and secretive the conduct of America's decadeslong war in Afghanistan has been.

"I don't think the U.S. public genuinely understands just how little oversight there is over troops deployments around the world," Adam Weinstein, a research fellow with the Quincy Institute, tells Reason. "The last 20 years has produced this culture in Washington, D.C., where foreign policy and conducting wars is viewed as this technocratic or bureaucratic process that should fall outside the scope of electoral politics."

There's an incredible amount of bureaucratic minutiae that goes into how troops abroad are counted, which leaves a lot of wiggle room for the administration and the military to keep troops deployed in Afghanistan in excess of publicly agreed-to troop ceilings.

The personnel offices of each military command that operates in Afghanistan are responsible for reporting on their own troop levels in the country, which are then aggregated by the military's Central Command, which oversees all U.S. forces in that country.

It all "sounds really straightforward," says Jonathan Schroden, director of CNA's Center for Stability and Development. "Every day you generate a count of how many people you are responsible for that are there and you report that."

However, things get complicated quickly, he says. For starters, some U.S. troops in Afghanistan are assigned to the American military's Operation Freedom Sentinel. Others are assigned to the NATO-led mission there. Each has its own chains of reporting.

In addition to that, there are all sorts of fine definitions of who actually counts toward the troop ceilings included in the U.S.-Taliban agreement.

For instance, fresh troops are constantly moving into Afghanistan to relieve those already there, resulting in both units being in the country during the transition.

"The operational commanders will argue that they shouldn't have to count all those people because they're in the middle of a swap-out," says Schroden. "But that's happening fairly frequently, so you get numbers that are higher than the supposed ceiling."

Troops that are in the country for only a few weeks, or a few months, might also not be included in the topline figure of U.S. military personnel in the country. In the past, troops in the country for as long as 90 days weren't reported, Schroden notes.

The process of withdrawing from the country can complicate things further. Additional logistics personnel are needed to do things like pack up equipment and prepare vehicles for being shipped home. Those people might not be counted as boots on the ground either.

Many of these reporting issues were less impactful when we had many more troops stationed in Afghanistan, says Schroden. It's a much bigger deal now, given how few troops the U.S. is technically committed to keeping in the country.

By playing with definitions, the military now has a lot more room to get away with keeping a larger force in the country relative to what Congress or even the Biden administration might want.

There is, of course, a good chance that the administration will amend the current timetable and keep U.S. forces in the country past the May deadline for withdrawal.

The fact that it's only the military and the president calling the shots about whether or not we actually end our involvement in Afghanistan shows just how much of a need there is for Congress to reassert itself in the whole process, says Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.)

"I think fewer than 20 percent of people who voted to deploy troops, who voted to go to Iraq, who voted for the global war on terrorism, are still in Congress," says Massie. "It's something we should at least debate."

As for the issue of transparency when it comes to troop numbers, Massie says the solution is actually pretty easy. "The only way to know exactly how many troops we have there is to have zero troops in Afghanistan," he says.

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  1. The presence of these 1,000 uncounted troops, in addition to 7,000 NATO and allied troops has some experts questioning whether the military even has the ability to meet that deadline, notes the Times.

    Said “experts” are no such thing. The military could yank most of the troops out in a weekend if they wanted; ones in the field could take a day or two longer; and the more equipment you want to bring back, the longer it will take. But certainly not two months for even 5000 troops.

    1. It’s all irrelevant. The left installed a rubber stamp in the White House for any foreign adventures they choose to continue or add.

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    2. I remember when Reason was not concerned when the bureaucracy admitted that they lied to Trump about troops that he wanted to pull troops back to the USA.

      You’d assume that Reason would have gone off on that…but you’d be utterly wrong.

  2. “By playing with definitions, the military now has a lot more room to get away with keeping a larger force in the country relative to what Congress or even the Biden administration might want.”

    By playing with definitions, the entire government, not just the military, can do whatever the fuck it wants to do. The Supreme Court plays with definitions. The IRS plays with definitions. The DOJ plays with definitions. Congress plays with definitions, by definition.

    In a society where language is infinitely pliable and words have no fixed meanings, arbitrary governance and tyranny are inevitable. And if you do not think all this bullshit starts at the bottom, you are wrong. If we cannot, even in principle, agree on the difference between a man or a woman, everything else is fair game too. When you invert reality enough, it is no longer just about who uses which bathroom or which pronoun — no, you completely lose the capacity to govern or make decisions.

    Welcome to 1984, boys.

    1. It’s nunya.
      Nunya bidness.

      1. The era of civilian control over military affairs is decidedly over. The never ending wars and secret operations were, for decades, the most obvious symptom. Now, we have blatant politicization and loyalty tests. In my view, we are less than a decade away from the military being nothing more than a partisan weapon to be used to suppress dissent and eliminate dissidents. As the military’s capacity to act abroad diminishes, it will ramp up its capacity to act domestically. Within fifty years, the country (or, whatever is left of it) will be under complete military control.

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    2. Don’t forget dictionary.com.

    3. “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ ”
      Lewis Carroll published this in 1865.

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    4. You neglected to mention the problem of a pliant media, that appears to have zero interest in holding anyone to actual account now that OrangeManBad is no longer around.

      Oh, to be sure, some of the writers here at Reason will engage in some pro forma bitching and whining, but would they ever stop to note that the current ‘President’ is plainly and obviously non compos mentis?

      Not a chance.

  3. This is the US military who stood down to make sure none of its personnel held ‘improper’ beliefs? The same one which withheld promotion recommendations for fear Trump would not agree?
    Which end is the dog and which the tail?

    1. Funny part of the promotion thing was clear TDS because Trump had lots of women in positions of power

      1. The joint chiefs, supreme court justices, the entire press, most of america…damn, everyone has TDS, according to cultists.

        If everyone is so badly affected by this one man, then perhaps it would be far easier to just have someone else as president? Perhaps he isn’t the best leader, since he seems to affect everyone around him so negatively?

        Nah,must be everyone else’s fault. Trump is a poor, poor victim. Just like every other thing he has ever done. Not his fault.

        1. So Trump didn’t place a lot of women in positions of power in his army? Or do you not really disagree with the point, you just wanted to say “cultist” again?

          1. Administration. Ducking phone.

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            2. Meh. “His army” isn’t wrong, per se.

        2. Your psychological ineptitude and emotional caterwauling really isn’t a consideration when dealing with reality.

        3. DOL thinks the bureaucratic establishment is a benign entity, which won’t break the rules and lie to protect its interests from uppity outsiders.

          Why are you still visiting an ostensibly libertarian site again, you authoritarian fuck?

          1. He seems to be trying to gather intel on who some of us are so he can tell his buddies with the Apache helicopters where to go to mow us down.

            1. He has no buddies.

              1. I’m just talking about his fantasy.

        4. Don’t you know, DoL, that’s just because most people are too sensitive too meanness. The enlightened can see past mean behavior; and totally by coincidence have pretty mean-spirited personalities themselves.

          1. When confronted with confirmed facts, TDS-addled lefty shits attempt to diver attention. Some might call them dishonest, and they certainly are. But more importantly, they are not mentally equipped to separate reality from their fantasies.
            These are people with IQs not close to three digits; true mental midgets and proud of it besides.
            You pile of stinking lefty shit? Fuck off and die a slow painful death.

            1. He really is the poster child for ‘sea lioning’.

              And yes, let’s hope he dies.

          2. Dee, you bitch!

          3. Jesus sarc, do you ever stop crying about how mean people are?

          4. “have pretty mean-spirited personalities”

            People are actually nice to you when you’re not constantly trying to gaslight them. Have you ever thought about not lying for a change?

            1. Who was the guy a few years ago always complaining that people were being mean? Same guy new sock? Or just a habit these people pick up?

        5. “The joint chiefs, supreme court justices, the entire press, most of america…damn, everyone has TDS, according to cultists.”

          When confronted with confirmed facts, TDS-addled lefty shits attempt to diver attention. Some might call them dishonest, and they certainly are. But more importantly, they are not mentally equipped to separate reality from their fantasies.
          These are people with IQs not close to three digits; true mental midgets and proud of it besides.
          You pile of stinking lefty shit? Fuck off and die a slow painful death.

        6. Your list of “everyone” was establishment leftists

        7. >>If everyone is so badly affected by this one man, then perhaps it would be far easier to just have someone else as president? Perhaps he isn’t the best leader, since he seems to affect everyone around him so negatively?

          dude lol go mom it up somewhere else

          1. “The whole Nazi/Communist Party didn’t like the guy, which definitely means regular people shouldn’t either!”

            1. my mom used to scold like that … “are they really your friends if … ?”

              1. Lol

                Thread fail by me.
                Meant to be response to the comment above yours.
                But yes, “are they really your friends if…” is a classic.

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    2. Also the same military that lied to the President about how many troops were in Syria so that when he ordered them to reduce the number they didn’t have to actually withdraw any troops.

      1. What difference, at this point, does that make?

    3. Sevo – perhaps you should sniff around to find out which end is the dog and which the tail?

    4. No one withheld promotion recommendations. That’s more ‘amomymous sources said’.

      Especially when the two women at the center of this bullshit had already been promoted once by Trump.

  4. My prediction: No way in hell we are withdrawing in full by May. We may even have another little troop level surge.

    1. I don’t disagree, but as the both of us aren’t experienced woth the military from anywhere but fhe outside, I’d be interested in a more informed take.

      1. I know I know, my refusal to join the Trump cult means there is no way I could be a veteran.

        I have to laugh at you cultists literally thanking someone else in the comments for their service, while deciding I must be lying, based entirely on Truump support.

        At least you guys are consistent. Wrong, dumb, misanthropic, but consistent.

        1. Didn’t you offer a bet?

          I accept.

          Escrow and lets roll.

          1. I don’t know you, but ok.

            Who do you nominate as our neutral? We can use tedbets.com, but that means we have to trust each other to confirm the bet outcome.

            1. Hey DOL, remember when you challenged us about your stolen valour, and I took you up on that and then you ghosted?
              FYI, I’m still willing to take that challenge.

              1. I can translate that 214. I can also call the units directly, no problem. I also have contacts at Special Warfare Center at Ft Bragg.
                If it is one thing that retired SF guys love to do, it is bust out phonies. We have an entire network, as do the SEALs.
                Let’s do this.

                1. Did you see this DOL?
                  We’re ready for you to step up, anytime.

                  1. (Pops popcorn, starts munching.)

                    This should be good.

                    1. He’s responding still down below so there’s no way he didn’t read this.

        2. Serious question DOL: do you think Zeb is part of the Trump cult?

          1. Afraid to answer like the bitch you are.

        3. And yet you aren’t a veteran. From your stolen valor name and several other ignorant comments you’ve made about service and weaponry, I’ll guess the closest you’ve come to the military is watching your dormmates play Call of Duty while you cower in the corner with a soy milk, a tissue, and some ear plugs.

          1. That said, I agree with your conclusion about adding more troops, but not for the same reason. Afghanistan was Obama’s favorite war, second only to those he started. And as we all know, Biden is Obama 2.0. Gotta start bombing those weddings again and drone missiles flying again or Big O might be displeased.

          2. Remember when he got the definition of “blue falcon” wrong?

            1. The tear gas vs CS brouhaha was really funny to read.

              I haven’t served, never claimed to, but I do enjoy learning from you all who did.

              1. Neither did I, nor do I claim it – but I still know what calling someone a “blue falcon” means, which makes claiming service and not knowing tough to explain.

        4. Real veterans can generally sense our own. So definitely not you. Or SQRLSY.

        5. Their disbelief in your status has nothing to do with Trump and everything to do with your outrageously left viewpoint, all the while displaying the Special Forces motto in your screen name.
          Unless you stayed a closet liberal during your entire time in SF, you would be run out of any team room or company that I have ever been in. You would be the “turd in the punch bowl”.
          I only knew one Democrat in Special Forces during my 16 years in Group. He was not a liberal, but his basic beliefs ran counter to everyone in the unit. Your beliefs are much more xtreme than his, you would be quickly deemed “not in line with service in this unit”.
          At best, you were a support guy that was badly treated by the operators.

          1. There’s a reason he didn’t answer my simple question above.

          2. DOL is a paid troll. His job is to post comments accusing everyone even slightly to the right of Stalin of being a “Trump cultist,” or a “Trump dicksucker,” or a “Trumpanzee.”

            He has never served in the military in any capacity. At best, he is maybe a high school gym teacher that managed to get his hands on a student’s copy of The Essential Chomsky, and has read nothing else for the past ten years.

          3. 9 years on teams. My viewpoints are hardly extreme. I’ve known teammates much more liberal than me, a few registered democrats. I’m still a registered republican. Trump is a traitor and so are his supporters. Remember your oath.

            1. Bullshit.

            2. You’re a bitch that doesn’t answer simple questions because they’ll expose you as a liar.

          4. I was promoted ahead of my peers, rated top 10% on every ncoer, and awarded for valor. My rep is spotless.

            You are a trump cultist, therefor a dumb fuck, and probably assigned to shitbag teams, judging by your description of Afghanistan as safe.

            1. And bullshit.

            2. Fuck dude, youre still playing toy soldier?

            3. I’ve never met an SF guy that brags about his awards and promotions except two losers that put each other in for fake silver stars after the battle of Halabja. I hangout with guys with real silver stars and DSCs, one of my brothers was put in for MOH. I have never heard any of them brag about the award, but they talk about the act. I threw mine away. They mean nothing. They gave Air Force drone pilots Bronze Stars although they never left Colorado. Don’t forget, I wrote awards. They forced us to.
              What SF guy doesn’t get promoted early? Top 10%? You read someones NCOER, good for you. They put top 10% for everyone that isn’t rated the best. I’d love to compare NCOERs with you, my Captain added “kills” to the “Competence” block. Now THAT, Cupcake, is an award.
              Your only comeback is Trump cultist. Have you ever seen me praise any President, Cupcake? I hate all politicians. Not equally, but I do hate all of them. For all Trumps faults the VA did get better, it could not get any worse. Bernie is at fault for that.
              When I was in Afghanistan I was a contractor. I spent more time outside the wire than the A-Teams because Obama had everyone sitting on their hands.
              What team, what year? Let’s go from there. A team filled with registered Democrats? Sure thing. Drop that team number and dates, son.

              1. What is your wager? My only demands are 1:1 cash odds, and that you report honestly back at the next day’s roundup and whenever asked on this board what I confirmed to you without doxxing my name, my teams, or my business.

                Catch me @ DeOppressoLiber42069@gmail.com. Reply to one of my comments to let me know if you email.

    2. Have to surge to pull out. know what i mean, nudge nudge wink wink

      1. Seriously they did say that about Iraq so they will say it here also

        1. They said it for Afghanistan too, way back in 2010.

          The next “surge” will be smaller, almost entirely SOF, but they will use similar language to justify. The taliban has violated the agreement, which we could just ignore, but won’t. That will be all the justification Biden and the profiteers need to keep it going another 4 years at least.

          1. Amazing how a surge to leave just gets bigger and never leaves.

            The thing with surges is the host nation doesn’t know if you are pulling out or preparing for another asualt. dam so many double entendres

            1. Which as anyone who has ever heard of Pavlovian or respondent conditioning understands, works to keep your enemy even more motivated and the local forces less trusting than if you just left and let them get on with whatever.

              The reality of it is that neither the US or Russia before us have done a damn thing except to equip a bunch of goat-herders with computers and the ability to operate modern warfare equipment, making them dangerous to the rest of the world, not just to their little girls [which hasn’t changed either].

              1. Or their little boys. Under Obama, one of service members was prosecuted for beating an Afghan militiaman for keeping a 12 year old boy as a sex slave.

                https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sdut-green-beret-sexual-abuse-afghanistan-2015oct17-story.html

                1. They were handing out pamphlets to the troops about accepting pedophiles.
                  Dostrum, the warlord for the Northern Alliance always had a little boy with him. Always. The man is a Pedophile on a whole different level. It is weird that they don’t mention his “vices” in the book “Horse Soldiers” or the movie “Twelve Brave Men”. He is a hero in Hollywood.
                  He lives here now. Nice, huh?

                  1. “Dostrum, the warlord for the Northern Alliance always had a little boy with him. Always. The man is a Pedophile on a whole different level.”

                    Is that a Pashtun cultural trait? I’d thought it was more a Tajik and Hazara thing? Uzbek too, given Dostrum. Albeit it seems to be prevalent in parts of NW Pakistan.

                    Also thought the Taliban frowned on it. It’s at times like this, I miss talking to “Swiss Servator.” He was great, well in general, but especially in these threads.

                    1. He can be found at Glibertarians dot com

                    2. It is a Muslim trait. There is no other way to explain it. Arab Muslims do it. Caucasian, (Afghan) Kurdish, Shia, Sunni. I lived and worked with all of them for years. I never befriended a single one in the Middle East. I never saw it in Bosnia, but I wasn’t arresting people.
                      I captured a half dozen high level Imams in Iraq. Every single one of them was a hardcore pedophile. Their cell phones tell the tale. The parents of the kids are too scared to say anything.
                      Those same Imams recruit the car bombers with sex. They befriend a goat herder that is the child of incest. The Imam targets him because it is too easy, the kid has the IQ of a carrot. The kid’s parents don’t care, he is usually a younger son, is mentally challenged, inherits nothing, and will never amount to anything. If he becomes a martyr, it is for the best.
                      The Imam gets the kid into the Mosque basement where he shows him porn (the kid’s first time seeing a woman’s body) and tells the kid about the 72 virgins. Oh boy, thinks the kid, no more sheep herding and I’m going to get laid. If he isn’t immediately “on board”, they add heroin to the mix. They tell him that it is a sacrament that will help him to understand how heaven feels. By the time the Imam is done with him, that kid can’t wait. But just in case, there is always a “command det” in the car if the kid loses his nerve.

          2. WRONG, Cupcake. They have a skeleton crew there now. Surge what? I speak with a team sergeant in country on a weekly basis. You don’t know jack, Girlfriend.

            1. I know what they have there now, which is why an increase would be more than what they have now. Dumb fuck. And I speak with my friends who are mostly past the team level now, but I’m not about to spread the inside scoop around this shit hole.

              1. Hey S-T-O-L-E-N V-A-L-O-U-R.

                Several of us have taken your bet.
                Talcum-X volunteered to help verify, saying:

                “I can translate that 214. I can also call the units directly, no problem. I also have contacts at Special Warfare Center at Ft Bragg.
                If it is one thing that retired SF guys love to do, it is bust out phonies. We have an entire network, as do the SEALs.
                Let’s do this.”

                So let’s do this.

                1. No chance. This is always the moment where he ghosts.

              2. Yep. Support Officer. No worries Bud. Sooner or later, you will bring the attention of an SF “ethical hacker”. Good luck with that.

              3. “Past the team level”. Oh brother.

    3. My prediction: You might get to forth grade some time in the next several years of third grade.
      Fuck off and die, asshole.

    4. Well, a Democrat was voted in, so an increase in troops was such a blatantly obvious result it’s hilarious.

  5. What matters is how many troops we have in after May. It will be far more than if Trump were president.

  6. Biden needs another war to distract you from growing chaos at home. Expect it.

    1. Afghanistan would be a pretty dumb distraction. It’s been going on for 20 years and no one cares.

      1. No I care.

        1. I do too.

          “No one” as in the aggregate. Afghanistan doesn’t even poll in Americans’ top 10 issues, as far as I know.

          1. So you were lying when you said no one.

            1. Look up pedantry, and then stick the dictionary up your ass.

              1. Perhaps you should, you illiterate fuck, because R Mac isn’t being pedantic.

                Also, “Afghanistan doesn’t even poll in Americans’ top 10 issues, as far as I know

                Lol, what a piece of work you are.

              2. Look up assholishness and own it.

                1. He’s a liar too.

              3. I hate you, but +1 on this

          2. They are gonna care when the body bags start coming home.
            If they are allowed to know about it.

          3. Why would it? Statistically, I was in more danger in Chicago than I ever was in Afghanistan.

            1. Sounds like you were with shitbag teams assigned to quiet, shitty missions.

              1. No you don’t. Your bet was accepted, and you ran. Save the shit talking and no I don’t trust you so no tedbets.

          4. “Afghanistan doesn’t even poll in Americans’ top 10 issues, as far as I know.”

            Nor does climate change.

      2. 20 years with the US playing the game.
        You might ask Kipling how wars in tribal lands go; and the British were there to conquer.

        1. If I want to know about a war, I don’t often ask poets.

          1. Homer?

            Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen too.

          2. Yes, because what would a British-Indian (their term) who grew up in India and then worked for a newspaper in India know about the wars of empire?

            1. Fuckall like most reporters.

  7. This doesn’t even get into the “contract security” , really mercenaries, hired to “guard” things and escort officials or special equipment by the manufactures. its a whole f up world and we need to outlaw all contract mercs since they fly under the radar as for as expense and purpose.

    1. $800 a day was really great to do absolutely nothing. I just got a call, whatever Biden is brewing is about to start. The offer is $1500 a day. “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”.
      When there is no honor, cash will do.

  8. If trump was reelected the number would have been 0 in a short time

    1. I don’t know remember when Trump thought our troops were out of Syria and an Admiral admitted to just moving them around and Lying to Trump about it. I was amazed that admiral wasn’t fired post hast but Trump was busy at the time with more impeachment BS

      1. Honestly, in my mind at that point everyone under that General was a traitor for not following orders and handling that General.

        1. the men on the ground may not have known of Trumps orders.

          1. To be fair, that was probably true until the point where it became public knowledge, and then the excuses were gone.

            1. Let’s actually be fair here. If you’re on the ground in Syria, all you have there is your buddies and chain of command. That’s it. And you’re gonna do what…. pick up your duffel, desert and walk towards Turkey cuz you saw a story in the NYT found at the local 7-11?

              Bullshit! This isn’t a Brad Pitt movie. No, even if he hears about it, Corporal Nobody does his job and waits for the big boys to work this out because that’s THEIR job. Corporal Nobody isn’t being asked to make an in the moment decision of life or death, so him deserting just books him a 10 year reservation at the Hotel Fort Leavenworth for desertion during time of conflict. He isn’t the guy who gets a fucking parade.

              1. Who said Corporal?

                1. Doesn’t really matter. The principle applies to the whole chain. Even if you suspect your orders are mistaken unless they are blatantly illegal – where the consequences of following them exceed the consequence of bucking them – you are simply not going to step out of line.

          2. There *was* an initial pull-out–I have a buddy who was embedded with the SOF guys on the train out, and he told me how chaotic it became (I’ve known this guy for years, so I have no doubt that he’s not bullshitting).

            What looks like what happened is that they did the pullout, quite publically, for the optics, and then clandestinely put a bunch of them back in a little while later and just didn’t tell Trump.

            That fucking Admiral should have had a bullet put in his head for bragging about disobeying a direct order to withdraw troops from a combat zone.

      2. I’m amazed that Admiral wasn’t prosecuted. We have a real problem in this country. It’s already been proven that it won’t be solved in the legislature, at the ballot box, or in the courts.

        It will be solved by attrition. When a sufficient number of progs are subtracted from this country, things will be fixed.

        1. Once the illusion of civilian control shatters, everything will be out in the open. The military will be running the show — here, there, everywhere.

          1. You really think so? From my point of view, it looks like the military has no interest in running this shithole country- they just want the money for the shiny new toys they can play with. You would need a famous general who wanted power to start a coup- an Eisenhower type, except he won election, so maybe Patton? We currently don’t have a Julius Caesar type in the military right now. I think a military junta would need public support in this country at this time. It seems to me that Trump supporters would be more receptive than the Dems.

            1. In my view, the conception of military rule predicated upon a prominent general leading a coup to oust the civilian government is outdated. We are not going to see a Pinochet or Franco style military dictatorship in this country. We are not going to see a strongman figure taking charge and calling the shots.

              The type of dictatorship that will take root in this country will not be all that different from what we see today. What we will see, instead, is an expansive military bureaucracy. Or, better put, a militarized bureaucracy without a center.

              Sure, the three branches of the federal government will remain, pro forma, but will exercise no real power — they will be permitted to exist solely for the optics. Think Rome, after the fall of the Republic, where the senate and courts existed solely as a matter of traditional observance, but wielding no power whatsoever. But, unlike Rome, instead of an Emperor, we will have a massive, bustling bureaucracy managed like the satrapies of Persia. A general here, a general there, and so on and so forth, operating with a great degree of relative autonomy, cooperating with the other satraps solely to prevent internal rebellions.

              The transition will be gradual, not abrupt. Like I said previously upthread, I think it should take about fifty years to reach this point. By this time, foreign wars and international adventurism will be entirely beyond the scope of our military’s concern. The military will be far too degraded as an institution to wage any serious war abroad. Domestic repression will be the sole and exclusive purpose of the military. The international stage will belong to China, India, and to a lesser extent, Russia. The United States will be a minor military power, at best, with limited regional influence.

              1. Well, in 50 years I will be 101. So I look forward to seeing how well your predictions hold.
                But yes, I see your point.

              2. wouldn’t work, right-wing Muricans won’t abide a military dictatorship

                and the left-wing just plain can’t, look at a House district map

                team red controls controls vast majority of the territory and basic productive resources — food, fuel, etc

                likely one reason why team blue is so paranoid about Jan 6

                blue is nothing but stacked vulnerabilities

                weakness breeds hysterical overreactions

  9. Unfortunately the military has a “New Threat of Previously Bow-Tied Insurrectionist Traitors Who Question Why We Can’t Beat Afghanistan and Maybe Sending Pregnant Women To Do It Isn’t a Good Idea” to deal with and as such, will have to put Afghanistan on the back burner for a minute.

    1. They can easily spend lives and treasure in Afghanistan and send conservatives to gulags all at the same time.

    2. I think Tucker stopped wearing that bow tie a while ago because he finally came to grips with the fact that it made him look like a dork.

    3. Forget combat, is it safe for pregnant people (male or female) to fly at high G’s? Don’t doctors tell pregnant women people not to even fly commercial?

  10. “The Public Has No Real Way of Knowing How Many Troops Are Actually in Afghanistan”

    Since Russians no longer control the US government, and the neocon-approved Joe Biden is President, we have exactly as many troops in Afghanistan as we need.

    #LibertariansForStayingInAfghanistan
    #GiveItAtLeastAnotherDecade

  11. The sad part is that the word “all” may need defining, as in Billy Jeff’s presidency.

    To most folks, all means each and every one, but then “shall not be infringed” has a bunch of different meanings, so – – – –

  12. Gee, maybe the public would know more if we had a POTUS who actually answered questions from the press.

    Whaddaya think, Christian? Seems pretty obvious. So obvious, you missed it. Why is that?

    1. I don’t think Biden could tell you the time if he had a digital clock in front of him.

      1. Probably not, but that should not stop ‘the press’ from zealously trying to ask the POTUS questions. This is just crazy, you know that right? Not answer questions from the press for 50 days? I don’t think that has happened in my lifetime. Or yours.

        And the press conferences with the new Press Sec? Give me a break. How many ‘circle back’ non-answers can you get before it becomes a huge ‘circle jerk’ for the press (e.g. preening and virtue signaling for the camera).

        1. Feature not bug

    2. What makes you think that the press would actually ask him any relevant questions or that he could mumble out an answer that is both relevant and honest? So far the press defends his not answering questions because he’s been “busy saving us”. And besides, he HAS answered questions like “how are the dogs adjusting to life at the White House”.

      Christian also has a hard time asking questions that reflect poorly on the administration. The closest he can get is questioning how much he personally knows about the inner workings of government without actually tying it to the Biden administration.

      Now is apparently not the time to actually pose serious questions to our “leaders” when there are serious questions to be asked.

  13. Here’s how we find out. Get them all together at Bagram airport, and have them count off as they board planes back home.

    1. Here’s how we find out. Get them all together at Bagram airport, and have them count off as they board planes back home.

      Assuming the Unit Manning Docs would even be legitimate and the brass aren’t hiding people somewhere.

  14. The Public Has No Real Way of Knowing How Many Troops Are Actually in Afghanistan

    And what makes you think that’s any of the public’s business?

    1. We’re giving you a $2000 check! Shut up and put your muzzle back on, or no 4th of July cookout!!!

      1. today’s fun with violence inherent in the system: in New York you can throw a wedding again with up to 150 guests yay! all must have vaccine papers AND be masked. Excelsior!

        1. Cuomo’s daughter is getting married. That’s why it was lifted.

          1. I thought they did the mob weddings at Tahoe

            1. Cuomo couldn’t meet the high standards of honor expected from a mobster.

  15. (D) doesn’t pull troops out of anywhere

  16. “The process of withdrawing from the country can complicate things further. Additional logistics personnel are needed to do things like pack up equipment and prepare vehicles for being shipped home. Those people might not be counted as boots on the ground either.”
    They shipped an entire unit to Afghanistan straight from Iraq just to cut up the tools currently in country so that they wouldn’t incur cost for shipping them back. Then, they kept shipping loads of tools.
    During the time I spent there, I did not see one positive thing happening. It was just one big slush fund for the contracting companies. Parking lots filled with expensive equipment not being used. These scumbags are not good stewards of the taxpayers money.
    “War is a racket”. Smedley Butler

  17. “___________ this technocratic or bureaucratic process that should fall outside the scope of electoral politics.”

    Is there any area of government this doesn’t apply to currently?

  18. I don’t think the U.S. public genuinely understands just how little oversight there is over troops deployments around the world

    Well that’s because we keep electing people who don’t give a shit about oversight. And are too busy to oversee anything anyway because Congress is exactly the same size it was when federal spending was $85 per person – now $20,000 per person.

    So it should be no surprise at all that ‘the defense budget’ has now become a game. The public budget – that gets debated but is now mainly limited to being various pork-barrel projects. And the real spending for wars and such – which isn’t in a budget, doesn’t get debated, gets no oversight or accountability outside the Pentagon itself, and can’t even be found easily on google. That latter used to be truly an emergency type item – but since we no longer have valid budgets anymore, it also means we no longer have valid off-budget spending.

    And there is not one candidate for Congress – nor any political party – that actually gets into the weeds about this stuff in order to make elections about restoring accountability for even this single function of government. Such a change from even the mid-1980’s, where you could get all sorts of debate from D’s and R’s alike about even silly stuff like $600 toilet seats. Now – well over one trillion in annual spending – crickets.

    1. The latter issue re lack of debate occurs even though:
      66% of D’s; 46% of independents; and 39% of R’s would prefer to reduce spending – even in the absence of anything to ground an opinion on. Those numbers go higher for all parties once you talk about risking lives rather than merely spending money.

      Guess the donor class likes things the way they are. Wonder why.

      1. Trump, TDS-addled shit?

        1. The finely honed deductive skills of the stupid wing of the stupid party at work.

          So how does my comment fit your characterization of me as Trump obsessed and deranged?
          Was it the use of the word Trump? Nope.
          Was it the use of the word rump? Nope.
          Was it the use of the word rum? Nope.
          Was it the use of the word um? Nope.
          Aha. By process of elimination, it was the use of the letter R associating that with politics and not in a glowing butt-polishing way.

          1. chance sevo was answering your “wonder why”?

          2. “Aha. By process of elimination, it was the use of the letter R associating that with politics and not in a glowing butt-polishing way.”

            You asked a question, got an answer, and then wondered what the connection is?
            Right in line with your mental abilities….

    1. Oh yeah? Do your friends make up $150,000.00/year jobs for YOU?
      Or is he making a subtle jab at the former mayor?

    2. Yeah, the “garbage problem” is the city’s residents.

    3. He hired someone to deal with Antifa, finally?

      1. For tat he just needs to contract with ‘Ajax Rats and Roaches’. Pest control is the solution.

  19. Is there any oversight, period? It’s apparently okay for Democrats to send National Guard troops to a Republican congresswoman’s office to harass her.

    1. That part is unbelievable. I cannot believe the poor command judgment in letting that happen. That would concern me greatly, the exceptionally poor judgment. How will that officer be in battle? Will that officer get brothers in arms killed by poor judgment?

      You can be sure the world is watching. Allies and enemies alike.

      1. I do not see how they would not be court martialed post haste. They show that they will follow blatantly illegal orders (UCMJ forbids what was done) which makes them dramatically too dangerous to ever permit to set foot in an actual combat zone.

    2. I had not heard of that. Shocking, both the act and that I had not heard of it.

      1. I just accidentally flagged someone.

  20. Well the stupid TDS present here and in most politicians brains prevent them from making good decisions. Wide open southern border allowing people with diseases and terrorist leanings in, while nope you can’t get to Canada still. Never thought I’d say Trudeau was smarter but compared to wet dish rag Biden he’s a fucking genius.

    So most open borders for the vermin, ignoring China’s bad behavior, still fighting wars against muslim goat herders, destroying our energy independence, funding massive deficit spending which will lower growth and devalue currency, cash payouts to layabouts, and far left indoctrination in schools and corporations. Nothing to worry about.

    1. Biden’s entire governing philosophy is to do the exact opposite of Trump. That’s it.

  21. I seldom compliment Reason now days as they have went full woke communist, but I have to say thanks for saying “troops” and not the stupid “boots on the ground”. The left’s platitudes are getting old.

  22. Endless war? Damn right.

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

    First published in the Scots Observer on June 28th 1890.

  23. OT: Part of the blood sacrifice gun banners were looking for, has just occurred. Daily Mail, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9369859/Four-people-shot-dead-two-spas-Atlanta-hours-three-killed-massage-parlor.html

    It’s up to seven, now. Weedy looking fuck with a manbun and skinny jeans in surveillance video shots. Naturally, he’s in a carharrt jacket and a bow hunting cap in released photos. They caught his worthless ass alive. 21, white dude. Of course. No idea what he used—what’s on the to-be-banned soonest list?

    1. Jesus, those poor women. Your life sucks bad enough anyway, if you’re working as staff at an Asian “spa”, and some shithead takes even that away from you?

    2. Spurned love I’m guessing.

    3. Ratchet going brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr https://t.co/N92bMiUrWi

      1. The Tweet’s wrong. He thumped anybody, it looks like. Didn’t have to be Asian. I’d read of a White man and woman, plus a Hispanic guy getting killed in the shootings.

        Certainly looks though like he wanted to kill Asians, given his choice of targets.

    4. 15 people were shot at a party in Chicago over the weekend.
      Didn’t get much coverage.

      1. Eight of them didn’t die, either. Yeah, the ‘Hood is violent, but eight dead is still going to make the news.

    5. Obsessed lunatic customer is my first guess.

    6. if they were legal they’d have armed security

      they deal with an unstable, dangerous element, unfair to put them in this situation

  24. “Massie says the solution is actually pretty easy. “The only way to know exactly how many troops we have there is to have zero troops in Afghanistan,” he says.”
    This guy for Emperor President.

  25. No matter what, don’t hurt me and my family.
    https://www.ku-168.net

  26. They should count all American boots regardless if the are with NATO, CIA, ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, etc …. We should get out now, it’s been 20 years, enough already.

  27. are we not going to talk about the Navy being stood down for an openly political purge?

    guys this is exactly the route Venezuela took

    1. weak parties and strong partisanship leads to no adults in the room

      every institution is now politically weaponized

      remember, half the West sang the Chavista’s praises

      and they’ll do the same here

  28. These people kill thousands for no good reason, so why should we be surprised that they lie about it, too?

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