Current Events: Hollywood, Politics, and the Lost Art of War

I don’t want to dwell on this, since there’s nothing I can personally do – I don’t have the skills and resources needed to pull innocent people out of the ongoing massacre. But watching the catastrophe unfold in Afghanistan, I’m struck with a deeper, endlessly more horrible version of the sickening feeling I got watching Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. The feeling of, didn’t you ever watch the show? A fanfic writer could have done better!

If this sounds flighty, let me explain.

Writers – good writers, seek to know their subject as well as it can be known. They dig into terrain, economics, characters; anything they can think of to make their stories more real. Some of us are better at it than others, some have access to better sources or an intriguing slant on a situation – but we all do our research.

You didn’t need a degree in military tactics or decades of diplomatic experience to see this coming. All you needed was the internet and a functioning brain.

The Taliban, after all, has never been shy about saying exactly what it wants: an Islamic caliphate, ruled by sharia law. All else follows from this.

If you need an intro to sharia law, and what Muslims will do to establish it, I suggest Robert Spencer’s The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran. Because if you’re not living under sharia law yourself, or if you are but you tolerate anyone around you not doing so, you are an infidel. As far as the Taliban’s concerned, that’s everyone inside Afghanistan who’s not them. Meaning it is completely legit, in their eyes, to bribe, blackmail, or lie to anyone who’s helped Americans or even just helped girls learn to read, lie and tell them they’re safe – as long as the Taliban fully intends to subdue and execute them afterward.

Are you beginning to see the shape of the horror here? The utter and absolute bloodbath, the death of hope as Sharia commands absolute submission, with decapitation, rape, and torture the punishment for “crimes” such as poetry, music, or playing chess?

(Yes, chess. I’m guessing Muhammad wasn’t good at strategy games.)

But let’s pull back from that. Let’s just look at the situation on the ground as it stands (it may change tomorrow) of blood, chaos, and thousands of people trapped trying to get to one airport still partly under our control, suffering gunfire and suicide bombs. That’s horror enough.

Let’s just consider evacuating people from a hostile area. Because no one evacuates a safe area. No one – no one in their right minds – believed that Afghanistan was safe, or that anyone there really liked us. That’s why our brilliant minds at State said we were pulling out, right? Because they didn’t want us there.

People being people, when someone doesn’t want you in a place they may express it in violent terms. Islam being what it is, declaring that infidels are to be treated in ways the ASPCA would arrest a dog-owner for and throw away the key, violence to retreating enemies is a given. Anyone contemplating withdrawal from Afghanistan should have planned out scenarios for “what do we do if they start shooting us before the deadline”.

I am in no way, shape, or form a military expert. But it doesn’t seem like it should take expertise to declare, get the sensitive equipment and papers either removed or destroyed. Get the civilians out first, before you start taking troops out. And for the love of God, don’t give up a secure airport you could hold for one that’s surrounded by a city. First law of urban warfare – concrete and steel eat people.

This is what I mean when I say, a fanfic writer could have done better. Because every writer I know could have come up with a better plan than the complete and utter FUBAR we’re seeing now.

This… fiasco, strikes me as the Hollywood cinematic version of a Plan. “We’ll walk away and the bad guys will just let us, because we are That Awesome.”

Well guess what? The Taliban’s seen what the U.S. is willing to do – and what our politicians aren’t willing to let us do – for 20 years now. They’re not impressed.

I’m not impressed either. I’m angry. This did not have to happen. Yes, people were going to die whenever we pulled out – but this level of horror? Did not have to happen.

And our “brightest minds” in government who made it happen, will probably walk away untouched.

2020 was horrible. 2021 is a waking nightmare – and people are deliberately making it that way. How do we make it stop?

36 thoughts on “Current Events: Hollywood, Politics, and the Lost Art of War

  1. The soap box is being dismantled, and the jury box and the ballet box have both been corrupted.

    No one wants to talk about what it’ll take to make it stop, because domestic enemies of the constitution may be listening.

    -Albert

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What it /may/ take.

      Human behavior is not the deterministic state machine that our opposition thinks that it is. Opposition is religious in their little heresy that is also an animism of models forecasting human behavior.

      As Christians, one of the things Christ is calling us to do is work on the theology of rejecting the heresy that underlies the people I am opposed to politically. Christ’s goals are not political, are not /necessarily/ about me achieving /anything/ in this world, so long as I hold to Him at any and all costs. But some of the political matters are entangled with coercion to do Evil, to turn away from Christ, and those matters cannot be entirely uncoupled with the big picture. I’m badly educated in theology, and am not yet in a place where I could even think of adding to the body of knowledge within theology. But I can attempt to live a spiritual discipline of Christ, the spiritual discipline of not resting faith in predictive models of human behavior. Predictive models of human behavior are in a category of models for which we have no sound secular reason to have unconditional trust in.

      Generally, as Christians, we should only trust models to the degree that we have purely secular or purely Christians grounds for trust in the model. Purely Christian grounds for unconditional trust must partly be founded on a complete theological understanding of the the question. As for secular trust, modeling techniques have trade offs, and experimental evidence in favor of trust for a particular model and circumstance. Knowing enough about a particular problem, model, and circumstance to know, secularly, what level of trust is appropriate, may require a level of knowledge that is ‘sound relevant doctorate’ level, or higher. Unconditional trust should never be our default level of trust.

      We can trust the prediction that these are worldly people, and may be deliberately trying to lead us astray.

      We should not trust that it will bear results, but it may be worth working on establishing a new procedure for elections, of inspecting machines prior to the election, and traceable chain of authority after inspection, and that funding this is vastly more expensive for electrical machinery than for mechanical machinery.

      Swan Lake is obviously pointless for this purpose. 🙂

      At the very least, we need to look carefully at what practical steps we can take, and pray very carefully over our thinking.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m no military expert myself, but my Dad served in the US Navy (Seabees to be exact) for twenty plus years and we often have discussions about such subjects. He and myself are of the opinion that the best way to deal with these groups is to treat them as America did with Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Mostly since that’s what they do. (Eye for an eye is part of their culture after all)

    If you’ll pardon the mimicry, the Taliban are a bunch of predators, and you don’t deal with predators but walking away and hoping they won’t come after you; giving them what they want doesn’t work either (ask anyone who owns a dog). You deal with them like the British and early Americans did with wolf populations; at least until it was decided that it was a good idea to reintroduce the wolf in mainland America.

    Whose idea was that anyway?

    On a side note, I shared your American Ronin posts with my family and they loved it. Especially the tidbit about melting lead statues of George III for ammunition.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. ‘Twasn’t me who thought wolf reintroduction without making them terrified of humans was a good idea. I blame Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac and other such types. It’s amazing how many people who supposedly wish predators well never consider the ultimate outcome of people having to live with them.

      I do wish wolves well – well enough that I think they ought to know humans are a reason to be miles away!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed. I like wolves – as long as they’re in the wild and know darn well that humans are bigger, badder predators with whom they should not mess. And it’s debatable about whether or not they needed to be reintroduced at all; I hear there was a phrase of “shoot, shovel, and shut up” with regard to wolves in the American west some years ago. Something about the Usual Suspects not taking kindly to ranchers and farmers pointing out that their livestock was being eaten by something canine which, when shot and killed, looked suspiciously lupine. And these guys would know the difference between a wolf, a coyote, and a feral dog quite easily.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. It turns out that, while people’s backs were turned, they’ve been reintroducing wolves to Michigan.

        Seriously, some people want humans and farm animals to die, and they don’t care how messy it gets.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If someone were to relocate a bunch of wolves to the richest DC suburbs, I suspect that Our Intellectual Betters ™ could be persuaded of the errors of wolf reintroduction.

        After all, there are so many deer there that they are a menace, and what better way to control prey populations than to introduce their natural predators?

        What? Wolves are both smart and lazy enough to go after smaller stupider prey like pets, you say? Who would have guessed! /sarcnotsarc

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Not commenting yesterday was a combination of busy and tired.

    Today, I am in agreement, and am reluctant to start speaking on exactly why.

    My normal custom when events such as these are current is to spend time on the internet, reading, writing and brooding. This is a little dysfunctional with some of my current life goals, so I had congratulated myself a little, this time, for seeing the horror and at the same time not dwelling on it to the point that it pushed everything aside. That congratulation may be premature, ATM it feels like I may simply have been deeply in denial about my level of distress.

    (I have a history of some deeply dysfunctional behaviors, and I have been working on improving for the sake of goals involving getting stuff done.)

    Today, I want to figure out some action items in real life, and /maybe/ look into seeing a loved one who is ill, and difficult to see.

    I think the years of depression which contributed to crippling me may have been a result of being more sensitive than most to some of the inhumanity of US ‘leadership’ figures. And some of my action items I’m maybe exercising some denial on, because of emotional entanglements. (Which may mean I need to confront emotions, if they’ve been responsible for delaying action on some of the highest priority items among those I’ve been trying to sort out.)

    So, I’m not wanting to get engaged here on this. But I don’t want the lack of engagement to be understood as me thinking this isn’t important, or me disagreeing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t want to write this either. The situation just had my brain locked up in so much fury and threat-of-the-Black-Dog that I had to.

      I’m trying to avoid too much news myself. But things just keep getting worse, at what seems a sandpile-collapse rate of increase.

      Currently there’s an exodus from the New Orleans area, because of Ida. I’m glad people are getting out, but I recall the local government fail in New Orleans that was Katrina, and I just know if that storm hits as predicted the people who can’t or won’t get to higher ground are going to die, in large numbers, and the news is going to use it as another club against the rest of us.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It occurs to me that I’ve never heard of a really good evacuation.

    Part of that might be reporting bias, with smaller problems they might say “nearby towns were evacuated” and move on.

    But I’ve never heard of a case where they said “10,000 people got out swiftly and neatly, then everyone had cake.”

    It is to the point where any time I hear “evacuation” I cringe because I just assume it will be a shit-show.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re not wrong. The good ones here, hurricane-wise, are when people pay attention to the weather in advance, decide in time to either stock up and ride it out or leave, and execute such plans.

      It’s the ones who either can’t or don’t plan who end up “evacuating”.

      I suspect the same holds in military terms. If it’s well-done it’s a “withdrawal”, not an evacuation.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Meaning it is completely legit, in their eyes, to bribe, blackmail, or lie to anyone who’s helped Americans or even just helped girls learn to read, lie and tell them they’re safe – as long as the Taliban fully intends to subdue and execute them afterward.

    There’s a reason that Harvard graduate lady with the international robotics event got scared and started doing the call-old-roomates-that-may-be-in-the-region to get the girls’ robotics team out.

    If the girls’ crimes (education, going around the world, being without an approved male relative when in a room with any unrelated relative– even if they were in a huge, mixed group in full public) were found to be worthy of execution, as they likely would be, they would be raped before being killed in order to prevent them from going to heaven. Likely tortured to death after that, too, instead of a clean death.

    And yes, a fanfiction writer would’ve done better, but that is in part because of different stories.

    When your story can be rephrased into anyone who acts decent and civilized is inherently wrong and bad, guilty of anything they are accused of– while those who would have to behave better to rise to the level of barbarism only do so because they are so wronged by the civilized– this is the kind of “plan” you come up with. It’s like pulling cops out of minority neighborhoods so the criminals will no longer be driven to violence, then being shocked that there are more dead children and other innocents.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. *Nod* Everything I’ve researched says you’re exactly right on what will happen to those girls if they don’t get out. It turns the stomach.

      And right. The progressives have a broken story in their brain, where they’re the Heroes and the rest of us yelling about the oncoming storm are the Villains. How… convenient for them.

      To use clean language, this is going to be black hole levels of suck.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Reports are coming out that the State Department is telling countries around Afghanistan to not allow private planes that have been saving hundreds of citizens and allies, and their families, to land or refuel.

        Since the Pineapple Express made them look bad, or something.

        This is after the 82nd aligned officials at the airport started turning back American citizens, with passports, over a day ago.
        https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/stranded-congressmen-others-accuse-biden-blocking-us-citizens-kabul-airport-leaving-beaten-taliban-terrorists/

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, of course. Of course. Classic narc behavior. “I said it was impossible, you’re proving me wrong, now I will MAKE it impossible so you don’t make me look bad.” Never mind it’s people’s lives at stake. All that matters is the narcissist’s ego. They’d sacrifice the world to keep that whole.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. But it doesn’t seem like it should take expertise to declare, get the sensitive equipment and papers either removed or destroyed. Get the civilians out first, before you start taking troops out. And for the love of God, don’t give up a secure airport you could hold for one that’s surrounded by a city.

    Part of why I have not spoken much on the topic is because…. these things?

    They are standard.

    They had to be specifically, and deliberately, violated.

    For the classified materials left:
    There have to be orders with really high level authorization to break those standards, and each classifying department’s head had to give it for their classified material.

    This is… truly unspeakable.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. The best thing we’ve learned from this is that a lot of Westerners from all sorts of countries are capable of thinking and acting outside the box, and that a lot of Americans are extremely creative about doing the impossible to pull something out.

    But yeah, this bad habit Americans have, of letting everything go totally sideways before we start doing things correctly– that’s got to stop, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thing is, in all seriousness, how do you /tell/ if things are not done correctly if they are not going sideways?

      There are a lot of things that /are/ working, and being sure that they are working is not my business, and I don’t need* to be a busy body and go make it my business to annoy people by reading the entrails of what they are doing, and going over them in tedious detail.

      Americans have some very different opinions so in the very early stages of things going wrong, we can disagree about what the early clues mean, and what we should do in response. A little slowness to act is an acceptable price to pay for a variety of opinions, and avoiding the costs of uniformity, especially enforced uniformity.

      When the bridge has collapsed, or the car is on fire, or the substation has exploded, we have a bit of a consensus to act on.

      It is correct of us to make decisions on practical grounds, and it is correct for us to ignore consensus in our private business, and maybe to wait in public business.

      What is the alternative to doing stuff correctly after an item goes totally sideways? Are we to let experts decide the matter from theoretical considerations, and as laymen tug our forelocks and bow to the theory? I’m very sure that such alternative is worse than what we seem to do.

      *Okay, maybe I want to, maybe even have some compulsion related to psychological issues, but there are almost certainly a bunch of items of other people’s business that I do not meddle in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It is common to summarize the situation now as ‘everything is horrible’, but that summary isn’t literally true.

        But it is convenient to two factions, so it is common. Faction A looks at a lot of faction B activities, and sees a horrible result from each activity, and summarizes it all thus. Faction B, in my opinion, has many horrible people, and they want to convince us that the default is horrible enough that they are better.

        There are in fact a lot of stuff right now that is good, that is working, that we don’t notice because it is less of a change, and because we take it for granted. I have power right now, and internet access. Etc.

        In August of 1861, the war had been going since April. In August of 1941, the war hadn’t started yet for America, but 1942 was starting to suck for Americans, and 1943 really sucked.

        It is really not fun now, but in a lot of ways we haven’t yet hit that level of suck. (Joe Biden and Jinpeng Xi are as evil as Benito Mussolini and Hideki Tojo were. So it may seriously suck before it is all said and done.)

        A lot of things are actually working as they should be, more or less, but as Americans our expectations are greater.

        Which is not to excuse the folks implicated in what we are objecting to. The folks implicated are not, by and large, responsible for the other good things. It is in fact concerning, and maybe a little surprising, how much of the things they touch are ruined and turned to wicked ends.

        I would have had a much worse time, these past few years, if I had not retained some awareness of the limits of their power, and of them not being the whole of humanity. I’ve probably forgotten this a bit too much for my own mental health, and was in need of a reminder.

        Like

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