The End of US Military Power

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The humiliation of the United States in Afghanistan has been a long time in the making. What we just witnessed wasn't a mere tactical defeat. We are watching decades of institutional rot in the military itself expose the United States Armed Forces as a spent force. That's not to say the USA's tanks, fighter jets, and naval ships don't remain the most fearsome in the world. The US can still drop a Hellfire missile on a target from the sky based on nothing more than cell phone data. 30 properly equipped and supported US infantrymen are still worth 100 or more of just about any other fighters anywhere on Earth. But it doesn't matter. US military power is now in a terminal death spiral, and it's unlikely to pull out.

What has happened to the military is much like what has happened to many Fortune 500 companies like GM, GE, IBM, and Intel. The leadership (both civilians and officers) is far more concerned with enriching itself, burnishing its progressive credentials, and hobnobbing at black tie social functions than maintaining operational excellence. The ability of the organization to execute its basic tasks is assumed to be an inherent characteristic. It's so inherent, in fact, that it's not really important to keep recruiting the kinds of people that made it excellent in the past. You see, a core part of the progressive worldview is that people are merely homogenous raw material that gets molded and shaped by systems. Those systems don't even need any particular care and attention. Just keep them funded, keep the organizational structure intact and, most importantly, eliminate any "systemic barriers" that prevent you from gathering that human raw material from every conceivable source, even 5'4", 210 lb, 87-IQ black girls, and the system will keep on doing its thing.

The Afghanistan failures aren't just, "Oh, there was chaos, well, it was unexpected." During the Cold War, the US military constantly planned and rehearsed what they were going to do if Soviet convoys ever rolled across the border with Germany, or if missiles started flying, or planes suddenly showed up off the coast of California, or a variety of things. They weren't ready to start planning. They weren't ready to make phone calls. They weren't assuming they had a few weeks to get things together. They were ready to mobilize and start shooting immediately. Crisis readiness is, at least in theory, a part of the military's core competency. Failing to have anything resembling a plan for evacuating U.S. citizens to safety in the event of the Taliban retaking the country isn't just a very visible screw-up; it means the military, as an institution, has been rendered fundamentally incapable of doing its job.

Planning isn't the job of grunts and pilots; planning is the job of leadership. This is as true of the military as any other large organization, and the only way to get to the point where an organization's core job is no longer executed at any level is for the leadership function to have completely rotted away. Fixing this problem is nearly impossible, because if the entirely leadership edifice is rotten, then you simply can't relieve enough people of command to fix the problem. Since the 1990s, military leadership is selected almost entirely based on political orthodoxy, not operational competence. In Afghanistan, Mike Flynn was in fact relieved of command for being competent in the face of politics. Contrast this with WW2; Patton was a political live wire, but he was undeniably competent. Consequently, Eisenhower simply couldn't relieve him of command, as much as he pissed off Washington. Patton got shit done, and shit not getting done was not an acceptable outcome to anyone.

"Shit not getting done" is an acceptable outcome in the modern military. It's not just a matter of political orthodoxy taking precedence over competence; political orthodoxy now precludes competence.  You can have competent infantrymen, or you can female infantrymen. Take your pick. You can spend a sailor's time teaching him surface warfare, or you can spend his time teaching him to celebrate homosexuality. Take your pick. Your officer corps can spend its time and energy developing and rehearsing contingency plans for the event of shit going absolutely sideways in a theater of war, or it can spend its time and energy developing PowerPoint slides on white supremacy and the dangers inherent in recruiting soldiers who love their country too much. Take your pick.

The failure of the Afghanistan army is an even more severe failure. It's the common wisdom now to say that it's impossible to organize an army that will take and hold Afghanistan. This is an utterly moronic claim, because the Taliban has done exactly that. What is impossible is to organize an army the way progressives think an army should be organized. Expanding on what I said earlier, a core tenet of progressive ideology is that differences between one individual and another are purely cosmetic, but what a person is capable of, their beliefs, their habits, and behaviors, are shaped purely by the institution. Loyalties shaped by family, tribe, religion, and history don't even play a part in progressive thinking, let alone heritable characteristics. All that's needed is to pass somebody through the proper institution and carefully teach them the right things, and they will simply become another cog in the progressive state-industrial machine. In the progressive mind, if you take the same training programs and government structures that turn a Mississippi farm boy into an effective and disciplined infantryman and simply repeat them in Afghanistan, they will accomplish the exact same thing with a Pashtun goatherder.

It's absolutely forbidden to even acknowledge what the real drivers of loyalty are. If we say that a Mississippi farm boy's loyalties are in any significant way different than a Pashtun goatherder's, then the immediate conclusion is that open borders and free trade are dangerous, and that both which people we allow to come to America and where we allow our companies to do business must be limited based in part on how who they are and where they're from shape their loyalties. The US military is allowed to train men how to fight. It's allowed to give them the tools to fight. But it is not allowed to know or say why they fightFlag officers think they can publicly declare the core of the US fighting force, the white, right-wing, rural-born man, to be an enemy of the state, and this will have no consequences on the effectiveness of the US military, because they can simply replace him with black women and illiterate Central Americans, who will be just as effective and disciplined a group of warriors as white males have been for millennia once they go through the proper training programs.

The push to globalism is a push to a deracinated, atomized population where nobody has loyalty to anything. For the progressive ruling class, a son disowning his father because he voted wrong in 2020 is a feature, not a bug, of this system. That such a young man is hardly the sort to lay down his life for his country does not even enter into their thinking. That a devout Muslim soldier might feel deep loyalty to other Muslims across the world, more than he does to his comrades in the military, is a forbidden thought. That a Mexican recruit might not be willing to take up arms against his real homeland, should the cartel situation ever escalate into a full-fledged crisis, is not an allowable thought, just as we are not allowed to ask whether ethnically Chinese scientists at government labs could be security concerns. But our elites, including the senior officers of the US Armed Forces, are unconcerned. In fact, they are entirely unaware that men with no loyalty don't make good armies.

That our senior military leadership cannot understand why the army it built and trained for 20 years in Afghanistan immediately dissolved and, in many cases, switched sides as soon as the Taliban conflict escalated shows that our military is run by people who do not understand what armies are or how they work. The operational failure of the Afghanistan evacuation was bad enough as a crisis of competence. But the rot is so much deeper than that. The military is now run by people who are incapable of building a military. To the extent ours even works at all, it is the legacy of better men, organizational inertia that is still producing effective warriors to some extent. But the fools are tearing this apart, bit by bit, and we're at the point now where there isn't a whole lot left to destroy. It will not be long before the United States is not unlike Russia, Brazil, or Germany is today: a large, populous country incapable of fielding an effective military. The operational failure of Afghanistan caught the brass and the politicians by surprise. At some point, there will be a tactical humiliation in which the body count shocks the world. They've made this inevitable.