82nd Airborne commander tells Brits to stop rescuing stranded nationals because they're making the U.S. look bad?
So much for the U.S.-U.K. alliance.
The commander of the 82nd Airborne, in a story I hope is wrong, has reportedly told this to the Brits, according to the Washington Examiner's Tom Rogan:
I understand that the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division has told the commander of the British special forces at the Kabul airport to cease operations beyond the airport perimeter.
Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue has told his British Army counterpart, a high-ranking field-grade officer of the British army's 22nd Special Air Service Regiment, that British operations were embarrassing the United States military in the absence of similar U.S. military operations. I understand that the British officer firmly rejected the request.
If that story is true, heaven help us.
It's got some amazing temerity, number one, which has got to be going down badly with the Brits. Who the heck micromanages someone else's operations for any reason whatsoever, let alone something as urgent as this? Allies respect one another.
Two: It's perfectly true: The British are making the Americans look bad, not based on the competence or valor of the troops, but because of the leadership at the top. The Biden administration is the one keeping the 82nd Airborne (and Marines), which are perfectly capable, of going out into the city and rescuing Americans. Its priority is avoiding a battle with the Taliban, or a Saigon-style helicopter lift-off. In other words, it's focused on optics, not results.
Three, the British, (and French and German forces) who are going out to hunt for their nations' nationals had never been told about the Biden administration's sudden pullout or the intelligence describing a swift downfall of Kabul in the first place, so they're engaged in triage based on the Biden administration's failure to communicate. The goodwill toward the U.S. in light of this desperate cleanup has got to already be burned.
Four, what the hell are the U.S. forces over there for if it's not to rescue nationals? Is someone unclear on the concept? Why is Donohue telling the Brits to stop instead of getting on the horn with Biden and screaming at the dotard to let the 82nd Airborne do what it does best? The Brits are out there rescuing anyone they can -- nationals, allies, Afghani collaborators, very likely some Americans. The Americans are guarding the perimeter of the airport without going outside, making the airport actually irrelevant to people who need to flee, and U.S. officials are telling stranded Americans, more than 10,000 of them, that they're on their own. In the meantime, the Taliban has set up checkpoints -- and thugs going around with whips -- all around the circumference of the airport, stealing Americans' passports and not letting Americans with documents inside. Airplanes are not filling as a result, and planes that go are either half-empty or filled with unvetted Afghanis instead of Americans.
Getting into the airport looks like this:
Care to get in through that?
Some observers say they suspect a Biden deal cut with the Taliban for U.S. troops to not go out of the airport in exchange for no attacks on the airport as the rescue is underway. AT contributor Denton Scratch, today has some excellent background on how this picture looks, and here's a tweet showing a map of the civilian rescue plan which looks consistent with Scratch's posted civilian evacuation protocol. (Note: Apologies for the tweeter's mind in the gutter.)
Yet there's no way to coordinate this? Have the Brits go get them and have the Americans guard the perimeter? Probably not, given that Joe Biden has not been taking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's repeated phone calls in recent days. He says he's now taken one, and one can only guess what that was like. The U.K. parliament in a bipartisan vote has condemned Biden for contempt. This is ugly stuff.
There have been reported tensions between the 82nd Airborne and the Brits earlier:
Things are so bad between US and UK forces at Kabul Airport, #Afghanistan, 2 Para have been tasked to observe US forces in case they leave at short notice.— Alex Tiffin (@RespectIsVital) August 18, 2021
2 Para OC had a screaming match with 82nd Airbourne CO.
Paras VERY unhappy at treatment of Afghans by US forces.
Now the Brits are making us look bad? And the French, and the Germans, for simply getting the job done?
It points to some important things:
One, Biden isn't all there. The man who said "American is back" and promised to restore the NATO alliance has pretty well killed it off with this kind of crap. Whoever is ordering him around is focused on news cycles, not getting anything done.
Two, the military leadership needs some hosing out. The general who reportedly made the indecent request to the Brits is one Maj. Gen. Christopher Donohue, who, while not a paper-pusher, is obviously well in with the wokester academic crowd as well as a careerist, based on his official biography. He appears big on fitting in rather than doing what's right.
It's sad stuff. Brits, French, and Germans are undoubtedly making their own plans now and they're going to extend beyond this Biden Afghanistan mess to impact the U.S. in the future. It won't be good for America. When the Brits are choosing morality over American indecent proposals, and it's the French who are making you look cowardly, you know the U.S. is in trouble.
Image: Official portrait, U.S. Army
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