FAIR WINDS AND FOLLOWING SEAS ... to the Marines and Navy corpsman who perished in the attacks on the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. There will be more dead, on both sides, before this ends. I couldn't imagine a worse withdrawal occurring if one purposely planned to enact the course of action least likely to succeed, but here we are. A larger than platoon-sized element is no longer in the fight because of being killed in action/injured and families back home here in the United States are grieving.
This doesn't just fall on President Joe Biden, although as commander-in-chief, it's ultimately his responsibility. This falls on the shoulders of everyone who made the decision to not only close Joint Base Bagram, but also pull out of Afghanistan in the most tactically unsound way anyone could imagine.
Bombing in Afghanistan:Ohio Navy medic Max Soviak of Sandusky area killed in Kabul airport attack in Afghanistan
Withdrawals should work the opposite of how this one has – secure/destroy sensitive equipment/materials, evacuate all civilians/staff, remove functional capabilities from any military arms/equipment left behind and, lastly, exfiltrate all military personnel. Everyone involved in the planning and execution of this catastrophe should, at the minimum, resign/be fired.
I was a noncommissioned officer in the Marine Corps and spent nearly a year in Afghanistan. The biggest challenge of my time there was the Bowe Bergdahl desertion and rescue attempts that followed. My deployment was based primarily in Kabul and I made the drive to the airport there so many times I can't recall an exact number. Sometimes it was in a vehicle by myself in the middle of the night, others as a driver in a convoy. Anyone who thought leaving that airport as the last exfil point in the country deserves to at least be fired and publicly humiliated. There are many reasons that is the worst possible place to defend, some of which you're seeing unfold today.
While I grieve those lost and ponder what the hell we were ever doing there, I promise all of you I never in a million years saw the final withdrawal from Afghanistan going this poorly. It's not only an insult to the thousands who died/were wounded, it's a gut punch my generation will never forget. We gave this country everything we had, and now we're watching it burn to the ground while our brothers/sisters in arms perish trying to secure a clean break. This is unconscionable.
Lastly, Marines can do static security, but it isn't what they're trained for. The stated mission of the Marine Corps during my time was to "seek, close with and destroy the enemy through fire and close combat." Sitting at a gate in an already compromised position while waiting for an attack to happen is not the purpose of the Marine Corps.
Now then ...
THE REDS CAN STILL DO THIS ... while they lost one winnable game Tuesday night, got steamrolled Wednesday and salvaged a win yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds are still in the playoffs. A single-game battle in Los Angeles isn't appealing, but it's the reality of the situation.
As Doc wrote yesterday, this team needs to continue adding to the roster. Forget standing pat and thinking this year's successes will be repeated, go out and improve. I use success because they're going to be playing meaningful baseball in September, but winning the NL Central should be attainable, not clinging to the chance of a maybe on a one-game wild card.
SAINT JOE IS A GO ... Joe Burrow will take snaps Sunday. I agreed with Doc when he wrote they should hide the second-year quarterback's helmet and not let him on the field until Week 1. However, if Burrow really feels like he needs the team to hear him in the huddle and he needs to see live football before the Vikings come to town, let him have three plays – one handoff, one five-wide shotgun look and one of his choosing.
I hope he doesn't take a bad step, slip and twist anything or get hit with any meaning, but if you're going to go out there you can't go halfway. Anyone who's played football knows that going anything less than full speed puts you more in danger. So, let it rip for three plays. If he makes a first down, pat him on the backside and tell him to walk carefully to the bench.
TUNE O' THE DAY ... In honor of my Marine brethren who laid down their lives, here's the Marines Hymn. I'll leave you with this verse if you don't have the time to listen to the whole thing:
"If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines."