Point of View Columns

Failure is an Orphan

It has been said that success has many parents but failure is an orphan, Said another way, it is pretty clear that when things go right everyone is will to take credit. However, when matters go off script, virtually everyone finds that they have the natural ability to moonwalk away from the smoking wreckage.

Historians tell us that the true test of presidencies is during times of stress – Think Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, or Roosevelt in 1936 when the economy had hardly begun to turn around…and then, of course there was Pearl Harbor. Think Lincoln and the Civil War or Washington in his second term when a lot of Americans weren’t so sanguine about even the concept of a truly United States. All of these presidents have come to be known by historians as having been successful at their job by overcoming what seemed to existential challenges at the time.

And now it is the turn of Joe Biden to demonstrate that he is closer to being a Roosevelt than to a Hoover. The fall of Afghanistan has turned out to be a poorly choreographed catastrophe that didn’t have to be a catastrophe.

Somehow the Taliban was able to conquer and control the entire country of Afghanistan in just few weeks. And now over 15,000 Americans are now trapped, along with over 50,000 Afghans who supported Americans, in what could turn out to be Taliban Hell. We have been witness to Afghans literally holding onto the wings of departing Air Force transport jets and then falling to their deaths from a thousand feet in the air rather than face the certain wrath of the Taliban. The horrors seem to continue unabated.

Afghan women have already been beaten and berated by the Taliban. Afghan girls have been forced into marriage with Taliban fighters-which are actually rapes. And through all of this the United States seems to be helpless and hapless.

And President Biden has to own this. Of that there should be no question.

So the issue is whether the Biden Administration can accept its mistake in planning the American exit from Afghanistan and now do something about it. It is not about damage control – it is now time to find a better way to save the lives of men, women and children as the time bomb left by Trump continues to wreak damage on Afghan men, women and children and the Americans who are still in that country.

To date, and understandably, President Biden has been defensive and steadfast in his belief that this situation could not be avoided. That is a stunning admission by the Commander in Chief of the most advanced military in the history of the planet. And it is not a credible response.

Obviously this disaster could have been avoided with better planning. An honest assessment of the capabilities of the Afghan military and the history of this place called Afghanistan, not based on press releases,

Just because there is a place called “Afghanistan” on the map, that doesn’t mean that most of the people in that part of the world owe their allegiance to the nation before their tribal origins. And when push came to shove, as it did over the past few weeks, the members of the military either went tribal or went missing.

Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, it is now time for the Biden administration to admit parentage of this debacle and then be as smart as the American people expect it to be.

Every problem has a solution. Denying that there is a problem, or that a problem was inevitable is not a solution.

It is now time for Team Biden to find that solution.


7 thoughts on “Failure is an Orphan

  1. Jerrold says:

    Interesting, Wallace, and to the point.
    It’s frustrating that President Biden hasn’t accepted responsibility for botched withdrawal, blaming poor intel when it appears the failure of the Afghan military was already acknowledged.

  2. Yoli says:

    Who is Responsible the Commander and Chief President Biden or his advisors? I believe the Americans should have been evacuated first and perhaps those who supported the Americans.
    If I’m not mistaken our children going off to war are being depleted, How many wars must one country fight and, lose our most precious resources our children. These are Civil wars America is one country soon there will be more young people hanging out on the corner than in the military. Especially since they are enlisting for a 401k and not a pension. Anyway Good work as usual Wallace

  3. Kathy says:

    Agree fully with your position. We should have been prepared, the greatest military in the world with the greatest technology, why did we announce our moves to the world before we got our citizens and allies out?

  4. Summya Khatoon says:

    Prof. Ford, it was a great read, and I really appreciate your concerns.

    Here is a different perspective!

    Just a clarification: I’m against all the terrorist organizations that kill civilians.

    The Taliban were welcome into the country, city after city. This is how they captured 7 provinces in 5 days. Yet, we choose to believe baseless stories by the West. Funny story, CNN while, airing the entry of IEA (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan a.k.a Taliban), had captions ‘Humanitarian crisis’, and at the same time in the videos, the civilians were chatting and taking selfies with so-called ‘oppressors.’
    Character assassination is an old strategy to develop a negative image and gain public support.

    Furthermore, It’s very hypocritical how no one was there to scream at the top of their lungs when American troops were playing their live version of COD in Afghanistan. It would’ve been great if people had also spoken up against America’s invasion and human rights violations. There is nothing that the Taliban can do to make Afghanistan’s situation worse than it was, during the 20 years of the American invasion.

    Now is the real test for the new Afghan government IEA. So far so good. We pray that they uphold justice and fulfill their promises.

    On the other hand, To properly understand the unjust, biased, and rigid propaganda of the West, one must think of this:
    How many times in your life have you heard about the causalities Japan suffered when the USA dropped Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 400000 human beings (Thousands of animals too). I guess once in a school it was barely mentioned. Do you remember the dates that happened?
    On the contrary, we hear every year, if not every month about 9/11. The 9th September – ‘The saddest day in human history’ – is viciously engraved into our minds.
    Where is the yearly remembrance and minute of silence of those Japanese and all those causalities of war?

    In 23 years (three US presidents), they invaded 9 Islamic countries, murdered 11 million Muslims, and nobody calls them terrorists.
    The US calls a drone strike that kills 10 Afghans, several children – a ‘mistake’. Over the years, they have also called similar strikes in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and other Muslim Countries – killings of thousands of innocents – a ‘mistake.’

    This abnormal behavior needs a screeching halt. I wonder why the United States doesn’t keep its nose out of others’ affairs and look at the state of their OWN country first (Education, Healthcare, Racism, Crime, Unemployment, Terrorism, and Environment & Green Issue and the list goes on). Work for their people first and stop using their people’s hard-earned money just to kill innocent people in the middle east countries for no good reason.

    Let everyone (in the United States and other countries) live in peace!

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