The Afghanistan Narratives

Source: US Air Force We usually try to be cautious about drawing Narrative conclusions in the

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  1. Thanks Rusty —-keep us posted.

  2. The continuous spinning of narrative out of the swamp is both sad and maddening at the same time.

    Anyone remember a time when:

    1. everyone would realize that at least one aspect of the Afghanistan story is very simple: execution of the withdrawal demonstrated gross incompetence.

    2. one or more people, who were accountable for planning and executing the withdrawal, would be held accountable for the outcome

    When was the last time anyone in charge in the Washington swamp was held accountable ? On either side of the aisle ? Instead we get deflect, lie, defer, spin, finger pointing, avoid the obvious point, don’t talk about the 800 lb elephant, etc. Narrative.

    The stage is ripe for a populist uprising against the “elites” in power who are never held accountable for their failures. If there was a company whose primary focus was selling pitchforks, that stock would be a strong buy in current environment.

    What is the closest analog in 2021, to pitchforks and guillotines in 1789?

  3. It hard to believe that “experts” in the administration couldn’t see this coming. Did the military oversell that the Afghans were ready to defend against the Taliban, or was the administration not listening when told that they weren’t ready to fight? Is anyone anywhere surprised that the Afghan military and governing leadership cut and ran so fast?

  4. Avatar for mckett mckett says:

    Thanks Rusty. I would think that the death of distinction between news and opinion would imply that the transition to missionary narratives happens faster over time, right? The jockeying to frame every issue in the interest of each political gang’s overall narrative is so endemic that the talking heads already know most of what they will be proselytizing.

    On a further note the strongest feeling I have watching all this unfold is guilt. I was downtown on September 11th and like so many others lost friends and family. We (most of us) were unified in the decision made to take up the GWOT, but while our military went to war we mostly went about our lives. The mismanagement over the life of our engagement in Afghanistan as well as the past week may well be the product of raccoons but surely we have known for a while that raccoons were running the show and too many of us chose to do little about it.

  5. I have my batshit crazy conspiracy theorist idea that I’m going to keep to myself, but I have a question (somewhat on Rusty’s point 3):

    It occurs to me that the Military Industrial Complex was extremely successful in curbing Trump’s isolationist tendencies, something he harbored for four decades of public life (and they changed President Obama’s mind in 2011). And yet, in 2021 the military is obsessed with diversity training but “allowed” Biden a hasty and chaotic retreat. Why? What changed?

  6. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Yes, I think it happens more quickly, in part because of the death of distinction you mention and in part because of our new modes of media consumption. For example., we’re absolutely finding that the half-life of signals we develop for narrative structures is much shorter than for data 10 years ago. In some cases we find that the only signal that works is to bet against the detection of a mature narrative since, in some topics, that means it has already run its course.

    I also appreciate your 9/11 sentiments. It’s hard to remember how I felt, but I know what I supported (both wars) and how quickly I went back to my regular life knowing full well that members of the military were absolutely not - for decades at a time.

  7. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Without speaking too directly to my opinion on this, which I’m still forming tbqh, the framing you are describing is precisely the one forming around the civilian/military leadership disconnect.

  8. Avatar for mckett mckett says:

    Michael Lewis’ latest (The Premonition) suggested that over time the individual decision makers in the CDC became more concerned with not rocking the boat then with sounding the alarm; essentially taking an incorrect action was expected to personally be far more costly than being one of the many who did not act (or did not recommend an act). I suspect something similar at work here over the last year

  9. Greetings, fellow BCCT!

    Some possibilities I considered: security situation in Afghanistan requires US to come back in hot and use a lot of munitions; something else is about to flare up (lots of noise about Taiwan the last couple of days); suspension of Posse Comitatus onna conna vaccine deniers and/or white supremacists.

    First one is pretty unlikely, unless they pull the 25th Amendment on Joe.

  10. Avatar for kaimwa kaimwa says:

    I think in the coming months there will be a ramp up of the Al Qaeda boogeyman and how they might influence terrorist on home soil (Jan 6 agitators). Leading to an increase in surveillance military spending for domestic and terrorist abroad.

    I could be wrong but there’s an increase in Al Qaeda think pieces in mainstream news.

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