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Thread: Kabul and Responsibility

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    Default Kabul and Responsibility

    "I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that's happened of late."
    -President Biden, August 26, 2021
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-...ional-airport/


    Understanding that Biden is not solely responsible for what has happened, how should each person/entity responsible be made accountable for their roles?

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Taking responsibility is what leaders, parents, managers, mature people do. This shouldnít be an anything surprising unless youíre in HS.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Correct.
    But that wasn't the question.
    With having responsibility for failure, what should be the consequences be for having failed?

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    dneal (August 29th, 2021)

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    The way you ask the question suggests you are looking for some kind of direct retribution against the person of interest.

    Consequences for failed political action can vary enormously. A lot depends on the nature of the failure, of course, as well as the intent behind the action. The Afghan situation involving US forces is historically (though arguably only nominally) an action that stems from the Oval Office. If that is considered a failed policy it is not Biden's. Similarly all the failures leading to the present day are not Biden's. However, as duly elected leader of the US he inherits the situation from his predecessors.

    So, Biden has to make decisions based on the intel he is given by his aides, and somewhat constrained by the 'deal' that his immediate predecessor engineered with the Taliban. It's possible that there is no correct solution to this highly fluid situation, only solutions offering different balances of advantages and disadvantages.

    The statement 'I bear responsibility...' also needs context. When I hear this from a national leader, and the action they are talking about is of national policy, I interpret the statement to mean that the person takes responsibility as the head of government, and for that government, and not as an individual.

    The consequence can be anything. One consequence could be an overhaul of the system used for strategic analysis. Systems like DIME and PMESI have been shown to be vulnerable to incorrect assessment in the face of non-regular opponents. That's just an example, I'm sure there are hundreds of others.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    The issue is that the immediate problem is not resolved. Apologizing for spilling the milk, while you continue to spill it, is the wrong answer.

    Humans demand vengeance. Today's mobs (left and right) are thirsty for it. Staff will be sacrificed first. There are grumblings of impeachment, but I think the country has had more than enough of that. The 25th Amendment is plausible, particularly if the cabinet realize it's them or Joe.
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    No EoC, you've inserted your own,motives.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    That's your argument because someone didn't interpret your words as you think they should? Perhaps your words or their intent weren't sufficiently clear.

    All I've done is attempt to answer your question on consequences. You can insert almost any name instead of 'Biden' in my previous post and it wouldn't change my answer.

    So, what exactly is my motive, hmm?

    And seeing as you haven't provided anything of substance yet, what do you think the consequences should be?

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    U.S. officials provided Taliban with names of Americans, Afghan allies to evacuate

    Dear god.

    ďBasically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list,Ē said one defense official, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. ďItís just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.Ē
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_of_Clouds View Post
    That's your argument because someone didn't interpret your words as you think they should?
    No EoC-
    My reply wasn't an argument about the issue, but pointing out that your post was based on a false premise that l'm out for vengeance. I'd be satisfied with justice.
    Your post contains no consequences for those who made the mistakes.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    You could have simply said that you meant justice and not vengeance and we could have moved along smoothly. You may think that what you write clearly conveys your intent, but you would be wrong.


    My post also contains no consequences. I'm not going to argue with you there, as it clearly wasn't my intention to list possible consequences - which I suspect would be an impossible task, and is why I expressed a generalised opinion.

    Edit: I also note that you did not answer your own question that I turned back to you. What consequences would you like to see happen?
    Last edited by Empty_of_Clouds; August 29th, 2021 at 11:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    EoC-
    Let's agree that the word "vengeance" did not appear in Post 1 and move along, shall we?

    I didn't outline my position because I wanted to see what the reaction of others would be.

    Looking at your Post 4, you focused on Biden alone. The initial post mentioned Biden, and his quote, and moved on to "each person/entity responsible." There's not a right/wrong response, the focus just on Biden is interesting.

    Then you focused on political responsibility. I'll not pretend to know the first thing about politics in your country. Four quickly identifiable political consequences here are (1) failure to be re-elected, (2) recall from office, (3) requesting the resignation, or the firing of, cabinet level officials, or (4) impeachment in the case of the President.

    The direct occasion of Biden's quote was the Kabul airport bombing, not some generic foreign policy. This was a disaster owned by Biden and the current military and intelligence leaders. The U.S. presence in Afghanistan was not initiated by Biden, but neither were the details of U.S. withdrawal inherited from his predecessors.

    And here I skip from your Post 4, "The consequence can be anything," to your Post 10 "... it clearly wasn't my intention to list possible consequences - which I suspect would be an impossible task...." Can anything be a consequence, yet it be impossible to list any possible consequences? To be clear, I refer to adverse, negative consequences to individuals for their failures.

    Let's call a short roll of failures in the withdrawal from Afghanistan:
    -allowing the release of thousands of Isis-K prisoners
    -being offered the chance by the Taliban to control the entire city of Kabul but choosing to be confined to the airport
    -totally failing to accurately assess the swift takeover of the country, and confidently stating there was plenty of time
    -turning American citizens back at the gates to the airport, refusing entry
    -giving lists of American names to the Taliban
    -relying on the Taliban interests (acknowledged not to be nice people) helping us and not weighing it
    acting in its self- interest (see, Isis prisoner release)
    -giving up a fortified military air base, and its armory, for a limited and constricted airport surrounded
    by a city
    - then there's the public acts personal to Biden: brushing off Afghans falling from planes as "four or
    five days ago as if there's a sell-by date for horror, the viral photo of Biden checking his watch as the
    dead servicemen come home, announcing that Americans left behind are being entrusted to the
    Taliban

    So what consequences should be imposed? America's history provides some examples. President Lincoln sacked a number of generals for their failures. After Pearl Harbor I think both an admiral and a general were relieved of command for their failures. I've never been military so I can't comment on courts martial, but "firing" generals seems very possible.

    Civilian intelligence personnel can be fired. "Incorrect assessment in the face of non-regular opponents" is such a bland term. Ever since Russia got booted out of Afghanistan there has been a constant theme of the heroic Afghan tribesmen defeating the high tech, mechanized Soviet army: it couldn't have been a surprise. Did you hear about WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, being used for communication by the Taliban? If I did, why didn't our intelligence community either shut it down, or tap it as a source of counter-intelligence.

    And as we approach Tuesday, August 31, we hear of more and more Americans being told they'll have to stay behind. Those who participated in that decision should be identified publicly, and should be sacked.

    To do nothing in the face of these multiple mistakes leaves these same failures in position to fail again in the future. It also cheapens the worth of those who died , those left behind, and those in the future who find themselves in harm's way.


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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    It often is the case that you respond with words that no one said. This is why I question your reading ability, but perhaps itís an intentional work of a troll. Now you want EOC to agree . He rightly assessed your OP. It was glaringly obvious. Next time take more time thinking before you start a thread. Or, donítÖlol!

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    It often is the case that you respond with words that no one said. This is why I question your reading ability, but perhaps itís an intentional work of a troll. Now you want EOC to agree . He rightly assessed your OP. It was glaringly obvious. Next time take more time thinking before you start a thread. Or, donítÖlol!
    Chuck,
    Sorry today's not a good day for you.
    Get some rest.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    My personal view of consequences is that they should be commensurate both with the nature of a failure and whether that failure is part of a pattern suggesting an egregious lack of good judgment. If I was the commander of anything I wouldn't want to lose good staff because they dropped the ball once. If they had a history of dropping the ball...

    EoC- Let's agree that the word "vengeance" did not appear in Post 1 and move along, shall we?
    The word 'vengeance' did not appear in Post #1. but it was implied by your choice of words.

    Looking at your Post 4, you focused on Biden alone. The initial post mentioned Biden, and his quote, and moved on to "each person/entity responsible." There's not a right/wrong response, the focus just on Biden is interesting.
    Used only to address the Biden quote itself, and to explain why I interpret the quote a specific way, nothing else. Not really that interesting, or relevant to anything else.


    I don't claim to know anything about US politics. That is why I made a general statement about consequences. Sure I could cobble together a list of possible consequences, but if I did it would always be incomplete. So I didn't, hence generalisation (again).


    Your list - there are some items in there that require explanation from the decision makers, and some that don't lend themselves to precise analysis. As I noted in my other post, there are some situations, often rapidly unfolding ones but this applies to any kind, where there simply isn't a perfect solution. These situations don't permit perfect analysis and often devolve to trying to evaluate which of the various undesirable outcomes we would prefer.

    I'm going to take one of your example 'failures':
    -totally failing to accurately assess the swift takeover of the country, and confidently stating there was plenty of time
    If you were familiar with the Millennium Challenge* you would see that this is not a failure of an individual but of a system.


    *WIKI for a brief breakdown. Of special interest is the sections titled 'Exercise Action' and 'Exercise Suspension and Restart'. LINK



    As for your final couple of paragraphs, I would say that a consequence also needs to be evaluated, much like a failure does, and should only be applied under reasonable assurance that the rate of similar failures or further failures are reduced. This is not always possible no matter what the consequences are, and so I return to the uncomfortable feeling that much of your argument here is still implying a search for a scapegoat.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Quote Originally Posted by kazoolaw View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    It often is the case that you respond with words that no one said. This is why I question your reading ability, but perhaps itís an intentional work of a troll. Now you want EOC to agree . He rightly assessed your OP. It was glaringly obvious. Next time take more time thinking before you start a thread. Or, donítÖlol!
    Chuck,
    Sorry today's not a good day for you.
    Get some rest.
    Iíll have plenty of time while you attempt to respond to EOCís post, but donít worry as Iíve had a wonderful day. 👍👍😉

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility


    "...uncomfortable feeling that much of your argument is still implying a search for a scapegoat."
    Your discomfort is the result of your "feeling" being a search for an absent implication. Perhaps projection on your part.
    A scapegoat bears the sins of others placed upon it. Nowhere have I suggested that an innocent take the blame for another's failure. It is enough that a person be responsible for their own actions.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Iíll have plenty of time while you attempt to respond to EOCís post, but donít worry as Iíve had a wonderful day. 👍👍😉
    Happy dreams

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Quote Originally Posted by kazoolaw View Post

    "...uncomfortable feeling that much of your argument is still implying a search for a scapegoat."
    Your discomfort is the result of your "feeling" being a search for an absent implication. Perhaps projection on your part.
    A scapegoat bears the sins of others placed upon it. Nowhere have I suggested that an innocent take the blame for another's failure. It is enough that a person be responsible for their own actions.
    You may think that you haven't implied this, but in the way I receive your words the implication is there. How often has a performer complained about not being understood by their audience, when often the problem lies in the ambiguity of the performance? This is what happened in this thread.

    Scapegoat was incorrectly used by me, and the meaning of my statement was thus confused. It's easy to do. We all make statements that can be interpreted other than what we intended. Nobody is immune to this.


    I am going to make a personal comment here regarding threads in this section of the forum. While it is something of a free for all with regard to the subject matter and what positions we may take and so on, it is disappointing to see how often participants resort to name calling, labelling with psychological characteristics based on (at best) the most amateurish attempt at remote analysis, direct insults, and the general impugning of other people's intelligence when they disagree with a proposition. None of these behaviours helps in encouraging and developing discourse. I am sure I am guilty of doing this myself on occasion, though I try not to, but there are some people here for whom these behaviours are at the heart of their communications. The same goes for the passive-aggressive posts.

    This thread is a classic example. One poster believes his words are clear in meaning, and another does not. Is one right and the other wrong? Only from their own perspectives. It is important to consider other perspectives. In this thread I accept kazoolaw's additional explanation that he wasn't writing about a search for vengeance. It is incumbent upon him to accept that another person may see a different interpretation of his original words. If you can't accept that other people may see and interpret things differently then you cannot have a reasonable discussion. In my opinion of course.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    Would it have been so difficult to just ask for clarity? You know, "hey, do you mean this, or something else"?

    Instead, you inferred something not intended (and therefore not implied).

    No hurt, no foul. Can we get back to the topic now?

    At the end of the day, the buck does stop on the President's desk. He's answerable to the people. Is your question the manner with which he will answer for it? and who else might be part of the collateral damage? I suppose it's those cabinet level positions that directly advised. Natl Sec Advisor, SecState, SecDef, etc...
    Last edited by dneal; August 30th, 2021 at 06:42 PM.
    Be your own tenth man.

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    Default Re: Kabul and Responsibility

    I am reading an interesting an historical accounting op-ed about the US and other nations activities in the region. All of those efforts have failed. Other presidents said they were going to pull out, but only Biden did. Not to be trite, but there comes a time to fish or cut bait. It could have been different, Biden could have renegotiated a new and perhaps better deal for withdraw. The question I have is, would it have mattered? Sometimes we don't create the mess, but we have to clean it up. It is hard to be criticized that we didn't clean it up the way we did.

    I do appreciate EOC's last comments, but it might be casting pearls before swine in some incidences. Yes, we could ask for clarity, but the responsibilty does not lie with the reader.

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