Discover more from The View from the Front. By Stan R. Mitchell.
The Stan R. Mitchell report for 2/15/22.
Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start!
We begin this edition with Ukraine. Russia is claiming to be pulling back some troops, but I’m beyond skeptical. And NATO sees no change yet. (See story below.)
Worse, there’s this:
Robert Gibbs provided a great summary of the situation today in his newsletter:
There are things we know and things we don't know. The White House has said that an invasion by the 140,000 plus Russian troops sitting at the border with Ukraine could move across the frozen ground as early as Wednesday, as did Ukraine’s President (though he claims he was only kidding — hilarious!). While at the same time there seems to be a furious back and forth across Europe to try to prevent the invasion.
In just the last 24 hours, we’ve seen some interesting developments. Vladimir Putin and his chief of foreign affairs say there’s more time and reason to talk, while just this morning Russia’s Defense Ministry has said some troops were being pulled back from around Ukraine, even as large-scale military exercises continue. Is Putin changing course and suggesting he won’t invade or is this a diversion on the eve of an onslaught? Only time will tell.
I personally think this is a final feint. A lame attempt to get Ukraine to drop its guard.
There is already some news that web attacks have begun.
There was also just this a couple of days ago:
Should the invasion happen, below is a good look at how it will go down. NBC News shared this on Instagram:
Lots of countries are still hoping to stop this from happening. (Or make Russia bleed so much that it never tries this anywhere else.)
Take a look at this:
That tweet is from Lithuania's Minister of National Defense.
Britain has ramped up its weapons supply as well. (And Britain was already stepping up to the plate with some pretty serious armament support: UK supplying Ukraine with anti-tank weapons.)
Moving on to a different topic, but one that’s somewhat on the same page.
The tweet below sort of launched a rant in my mind that I want to share. Not against him, but against my own pent-up feelings on the matter. (I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because I’ve certainly fought — and arguably lost — this argument enough in the past.)
First, here’s the tweet:
Regarding the topic of the tweet, let me say that in my eyes, President Biden looks unreasonably stubborn and defensive about the reports. It seems to me that he’s increasingly coming across as a grouch, who doesn’t want to be questioned or second-guessed about anything.
It’s not a good look.
Back to the three points above.
I definitely agree with 1 and 3.
1: The Generals were painting a false picture, and have for decades. 2: The White House completely mishandled the evacuation. (Even still, the military somehow managed a remarkable feat, but some flexiblity by the White House at the end would have been nice. Also, some more empathy from the President when discussing the horrific scenes witnessed on television screens around the world.)
But it’s point number 2 that I really want to discuss. “Biden was right to leave Afghanistan.”
In some ways, that’s a valid point. From a purely political perspective at first glance, the American people had definitely given up and tuned out. So politically speaking, leaving was the right decision.
And let’s restate again for those who forget. Both sides wanted to leave (Dems and the GOP, and let’s further remind folks that Trump’s timetable to leave was even shorter).
Despite all of this, I'm not convinced leaving was the right decision.
My vet friends weren't sick of going. I know many who served multiple tours there. And they were volunteering for more.
And we could have continued to train, support, equip, and lead Afghan forces. Especially providing them with crucial air support.
But I will be realistic. I'm not sure Afghanistan could have stayed a country as its borders are currently drawn; it’s true that the Taliban were winning; the country is the size of Texas.
Fine, let part of it go the way of the Taliban. But I'm also not sure that a moderate Afghan gov't couldn't have held out in say five or six of the major cities. And it would have been nice for women, moderate Afghans, etc, to show what was possible in such an impoverished and under-educated country.
It’s true this may have required us to surge some more troops, but I say again, our military would have paid that price.
What happened instead was beyond awful and horrific. Biden's presidency was knee-capped. He looked weak. And that’s a fact.
Additionally, Putin and China now see flashing, caution yellow lights, instead of bright red “do not go” warnings.
I would argue that part of the Ukraine mess happening is because Putin sensed weakness. Furthermore, part of Biden’s plunging poll numbers is because Americans saw weakness.
And then they saw a man acting like an un-caring jerk. People may have liked that in Trump, but they knew what they were getting when they voted for him. Biden was partly elected for his empathy and caring.
He showed far too little of that.
Sadly, at this point we have most certainly flushed 20 years of effort for nothing. We lost lives and billions and billions of dollars. We lost loads of credibility as world-wide, people saw that you can’t trust our country. Why spy on your country for America when we might abandon you in a heartbeat as we abandoned thousands of interpreters in Afghanistan? As we also abandoned the Kurds in Syria? (Headline: The Kurds Have Paid Dearly for Trump's Recklessness.)
We basically fled Afghanistan, and we asked permission for safety from the Taliban. We abandoned the Kurds, after they served as reliable partners in the fight against ISIS for years.
These are the moves of a shaky power that lacks the will to commit and stay. And I know there are counter-arguments that we’d have to leave eventually, but I will also say that I'm pretty sure there's data to say that the number of suicides of American servicemen and women have skyrocketed since our departure.
I will also say, before we end, that it’s not just the Generals, the public, Trump, and Biden who are to blame.
It’s also President Bush. He was abandoning Afghanistan, moving forces out of the country, just so he could invade Iraq. And he did this before we had even found bin Laden, the entire reason for invading Afghanistan in the first place.
There’s been a lot of people selling out Afghanistan, and it’s not all on Biden. But he’s the one who got stuck with the bill.
As a final point, I’m not alone in my assessment of the pain from this still attached to President Biden.
Mike Murphy, who’s far smarter about this stuff than me, mentioned in his newsletter, while discussing Ukraine, that “for a POTUS suffering from a weakness narrative, handling something like this (Ukraine) is critical for Joe Biden. He’s still bleeding from Kabul (Afghanistan).”
I couldn't agree more, though I give him an A+ (or maybe an A-) so far on Ukraine.
All right, we’ve worried and ranted enough for this newsletter. Let’s end with some motivation and wisdom.
That’s it for this edition. As a reminder, please be kind and endeavor to love your fellow Americans. We need to pull this country together, and that starts with all of us.
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Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written a CIA/Marine sniper series, a detective series, a private investigator series, an action-packed Western, a leadership/biography book, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan.
About me: I am a proud vet and moderate, who wants to unite this country. I’m also a proud independent author, who used to own a small business for nine years that was probably (in hindsight) too generous to my small business advertisers on pricing and too lenient on my collection terms, since they were struggling as badly as me. I also sought to downplay controversy, understate headlines, and never create panic, all of which is a terrible way to sell newspapers (but a responsible way for a media outlet to act). Looking back, it’s clear I had (and have) a big heart and I wasn’t made to be some kind of cut-throat business executive. It’s this same streak in me that prevents me from signing any book deals, even big ones. I just don’t trust ruthless business executives at the big publishers. And even if I did, that very same company that I trusted could be bought and purchased overnight. Sorry, but I’ll pass on that. The truth is that while I’ve relented and signed some distribution deals, such as the one I did with Audible for my Nick Woods series, I’m just not willing to be owned by any of the big publishing houses. If I want to speak out on China? I will. If I want to send free books to military members? I will. (And I have.) I don’t ever plan to be owned by some New York publishing house. My success to this point has been made by doing it the right way: gaining one new reader, one new subscriber to my newsletter, one new contact from Twitter or real life. By sharing love and understanding and (obviously) good stories with killer writing. So join me on my journey. Let’s build a community of like-minded Americans, who believe in this country and in our fellow citizens (even those on the other side of the aisle). People who believe in small businesses and independents on their own journey, whether it’s owning a small farm or staying independent in their creative fields. And when it comes to politics? No name calling. No screaming. Just honest discussion and a genuine search for the truth. In the end, we truly all want the same: good government, unity, and ethical leadership.
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