September 15, 2021

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE MR. BLINKEN?: Biden Administration Strategic Errors Led to Afghan Debacle.

Excerpt:

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told Blinken that if he were just reading Blinken’s prepared testimony, then he would think the withdrawal “was a smashing success. But I do read the news, as most Americans do, and we realize this is a complete debacle … what concerns me the most … is the detachment from reality … ”

In the Biden administration, political “optics” overrule reality. Blinken repeats, with premeditation, the Biden administration’s most grievous strategic error: focusing on managing political perception instead of executing policy actions that address on-the-ground facts.

And there’s more:

The debacle’s principal component was a Noncombatant Evacuation Operation (NEO). By U.S. doctrine the State Department serves as the lead agency in a NEO. However, withdrawal from a combat zone requires military forces to maintain security, which means the State and Defense Departments must constantly coordinate with allies in planning the evacuation and in all phases of its execution. Moreover, in a complex situation like Afghanistan, the U.S. president must be willing to send military reinforcements to respond to surprises — like unanticipated enemy attacks.

An experienced planner can sketch a basic NEO plan in 10 minutes, one designed to set conditions favorable to a successful evacuation.

So the column includes one. It draws on a sketch plan I made in mid-July after a couple of friends asked me how I’d conduct a withdrawal from Afghanistan. No secret sauce at all. It’s common sense and standard NEO planning guidance. See Joint Publication 3-68 for very detailed guidance. Did Antony Blinken read it? I doubt it.

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