Competence Check: Learn To Communicate, You Inarticulate Boobs.

I’ll make this quick.

Sullivan and U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne, spoke with ABC News’ Ian Pannell yesterday at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport about the evacuations taking place there. As the Taliban is taking control of the country, Sullivan said that his Marines are managing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, saying, “I think whether you’re in a combat situation or a humanitarian operation, the human element is always there. But this event is an unprecedented event. I have my years of deploy[ment] into combat and to other crisis areas… I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Then the two Ethics Dunce Congressmen, Seth Moulton, a Bay State Democrat, and Republican Peter Meijer of Michigan, both Iraq War veterans as the news media keeps reminding us (as if that excuses them), made a secret, unapproved visit to the Hamid Karzai International Airport on Tuesday “to conduct oversight” on the evacuation. They also said it wasn’t grandstanding. Of course it was grandstanding. The Administration’s anger at the two as well as Speaker Pelosi’s criticism was 100% appropriate.

But I digress. Moulton, who tweeted his reactions, wrote at one point, “I visited Kabul airport to conduct oversight on the evacuation. Witnessing our young Marines and soldiers at the gates, navigating a confluence of humanity as raw and visceral as the world has ever seen, was indescribable.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it before.”


This is not sufficient or acceptable. It is incompetent and lazy communication of information that the generals and the congressmen have a duty to communicate. Those descriptions could mean anything, and they deliberately or negligently leave their meaning to the imaginations of listeners and readers, when they didn’t see a thing. If officials can’t do better than that explaining a situation to the public through the news media, then they shouldn’t be talking to the news media, and they shouldn’t be officials.

Meanwhile, adding to the incompetence, reporters in a position to do so must not take such useless generalities as answers.

“What did you see that you have never seen before, General?”

“Please describe what you mean by indescribable, Congressman!”

Or go back to grade school and learn to talk. I’m sick of this.

27 thoughts on “Competence Check: Learn To Communicate, You Inarticulate Boobs.

  1. Very small nit-picky detail; the 82nd Airborne is part of the Army not the Marines so the General has no “Marines”. The wording is likely supposed to be “…the Soldiers and Marines…” without the word “his”.

  2. Jack said:

    They also said it wasn’t grandstanding. Of course it was grandstanding. The Administration’s anger at the two as well as Speaker Pelosi’s criticism was 100% appropriate.

    I’m sorry, I can’t really consider Pelosi’s comments criticism (from the CNN article):

    In a letter that was sent to House members Tuesday as the congressmen were in Afghanistan, according to a source familiar with the timeline, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — without explicitly referencing the trip — discouraged lawmakers from visiting the country, arguing that such travel “would unnecessarily divert needed resources” from the evacuation efforts.

    This is bipartisan shameless grandstanding, and both should receive punishment from their respective leaders. Otherwise, you can expect the likes of Ilhan Omar and others to follow suit.

  3. I’ve got a few easy questions reporters could ask:

    “How did this happen?”

    “”Who’s responsible for this situation?”

    “Did anyone consider this, the worst case scenario, a possibility? Don’t you guys play war games all the time and ask ‘what if?'”

    “Did anyone have a plan?”

    “So, no one thought this was possible?”

    “You abandoned a functioning military air base?”

    I think the worst thing to come out of this Kabul disaster is the spotlight it’s shone on our military leadership. What have these guys been doing? Collecting campaign ribbons?

  4. And by the way, these guys aren’t articulate, they’re hiding behind falsehoods, i.e., they’re lying to cover their asses. Aren’t military people constantly training to anticipated and deal with the unexpected? Isn’t that how you win battles? Isn’t that what they’re paid to do? Wasn’t D Day unprecedented? Is that what the German commanders on the ground in Normandy told Berlin? Idiots.

    • Actually no D-Day wasn’t unprecedented — by then, amphibious landings had been done many times in WWII. The scale of it was (and Eisenhower and Montgomery had to knock heads together to scale things up from the original smaller, rinky dink assault planned), but the Germans were expecting just such an invasion. The Allies still achieved surprise — tactical in embarking during a bad weather period, and strategic with the Pas de Calais deception plans.

      Some unprecedented actions that come to mind: The German airborne landings in Belgium and the Netherlands, the British tank assault at Cambrai, the first use of poison gas in WWI. Stirrups. The horse collar.

      Not only is the situation in Kabul not unprecedented, but Biden himself brought it up in July. Granted, only to dismiss the possibility but it proves they’d been thinking about it.

      One of the things that really chaps me is that the British have been running armed missions into Kabul to get people out, but apparently our military – mightiest in the world, eh? – is unable to do so. I don’t know whether this is solely cowardice of the civilian leadership, but I suspect not.

      In recent decades it has occurred to me that our top military leadership has forgotten some fundamental facts about the forces they are supposed to lead: People join the military in part to be put in harm’s way. It is the job of their leaders to employ them where they can harm and be harmed. Western nations have long been leery of taking heavy losses (WWI), but at the same time you have a hollow military if you are afraid of taking any losses at all. I think the Pentagon has forgotten this.

      Early on in the Syrian civil war, I remember the Chiefs of Staff in essence saying that we couldn’t intervene because they had defenses and we might incur casualties (not exactly what they said, but that was my takeaway). My reaction was: what the hell do we have a military for, then?

  5. The congressmen said they made the trip as part of discharging their oversight duties. How can Aunt Nan complain about that when the congress, of which she is the leader, is looking at a now former president’s confidential tax returns in order to diligently discharge its duty to, ahem, oversee how the IRS deals with presidential tax returns. (As Dave Barry used to say, “And I am not making this up.”) Which is more of a stretch? I’d say the latter, Nancy. Hoist by your own petard?

  6. I have my years of deploy[ment] into combat and to other crisis areas… I’ve never seen anything like it before.

    Presumably, this is why we expect our officers to be educated men in such things as military history. Because, while you might never have seen anything like it, things like it have happened before. There are obvious parallels with the fall of Saigon, or the evacuation of Dunkirk.

    • I assume all these guys have spent months and years at the War College. What a joke.

      Mike Tyson: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

      These guys evidently never even had a plan.

    • Just so, and the real question now is how is this going to end? Will it be like Dunkirk, or will it be like Dien Bien Phu or Stalingrad?

      • One sure bet: It’s won’t be like Dunkirk, which in addition to being audacious, bold and amazing, it was also incredibly lucky. It’s success surprised literally everybody, even Winston.

        • One valid parallel with Dunkirk: the loss of armaments. The Brits lost at least 50% of their artillery, about 50% of their tanks, and well over a million rifles, machine guns and other small arms. The amount of military hardware essentially gifted to the Taliban via the collapsing Afghan army is staggering.

  7. The use of the words “unprecedented” and “indescribable” is indicative – as was alluded to in the post – of a complete lack of knowledge and perspective of the subject being described.

    “President Trump’s rough-shodding over the Constitution was unprecedented.”
    “The heatwave we are experiencing is unprecedented.”
    “The damage being caused by climate change is unprecedented.”
    “The havoc wreaked by those wildfires is unprecedented.”

    It’s the usage of a “superior” tense with no context and as we know, a text without a context is a pretext.

  8. People keep comparing this cluster fuck of an operation to Viet Nam. Recall that in OCTOBER of 1972 the Paris Peace Accord was signed. We had started and continued the evacuation of military and support troops prior to and immediately following the signing of that document. I myself departed in January 1973. Saigon did not fall until 1975. In the meantime I was stationed at a refugee camp we had established in Arkansas to process the Vietnamese (remember we were not fighting a pandemic at the time.) In retrospect and comparison to what is happening now our withdrawal from Vietnam was well coordinated. For the fortunate, I see masses of people sitting shoulder to shoulder in Airlifters. I have heard nothing about what happens to them when they reach our shores. Are they like the masses of illegal immigrants who are being driven and flown to the interior with no vetting for diseases or criminality? This is a massive “super spreader event” in the wings. Not to mention a massive bloodletting in the few days to come before the Taliban’s Red Line in the sand. Will heads roll for this, I doubt it. We will have congressional meetings where we will hear, repeatedly, “there was nothing we could go”, “that was then” or the famous “what difference does it make?”

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