Lloyd Austin, master of defeat

The fiasco unfolding in Afghanistan was all so predictable.  In fact, I predicted it a while ago — Biden's stupidest mistake.  Yet it's still gut-wrenching to go through this humiliation and to think of the terror that is already being unleashed.

At least Biden is finally exposed to the world as the amazingly stupid and corrupt human being he has always been.  Also being exposed is Lloyd Austin, a modern-day cross between generals George McClellan and George Armstrong Custer.  It was fascinating to see 60 Minutes rebroadcast its profile of the Defense secretary.  Nothing about what he had accomplished or what he wanted to do in the job — just bellyaching that he got no respect and we must have more black generals, etc.

It is so obvious Austin was fast-tracked as an affirmative action darling of the Pentagon.  You can tell this just by looking at his decorations.  He never won the Combat Infantryman Badge as a junior officer, so he never really led troops in battle.  Yet he effortlessly made four-star rank.  And as a brigadier general in 2003, he won the Silver Star, the military's third highest award, which is only for valor in battle.  So how did he win this medal serving behind the lines as the assistant division commander?  Did all the other soldiers serving at the division headquarters also win the Silver Star?  Guess not.

If you know some military history, you know that this medal is problematic.  It was created specifically to be awarded in WWII not to need a lot of paperwork because men were going unrecognized for heroism simply because staff soldiers in battle areas had more pressing duties than following up on medal citations.  But that good idea was often abused.  Sometimes undeserving awards were made — Lyndon Johnson and John Kerry being the most conspicuous.

It's doubtful whether that medal — or any of the other ribbons Austin flaunts — are going to save him from the hook in the very near future. 

Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Ky.

Image: French Embassy.

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