This is part two of a special roundtable discussion about the withdrawal in Afghanistan with a diverse group of military veterans. If you missed part one, it’s probably best to watch that first. Our in-studio guest is Robbie Hugland, who served with the Air Force as an Electronic Warfare Operator in Afghanistan. This is his second appearance on our Podcast so if you haven’t listened to the first one, check it out! Sean joins us via Zoom, and served with the Army as a Human Resources Officer in-Country in Afghanistan. He talked to tons of soldiers coming in and out of Afghanistan & was privy to high level operational conversations at the Officer level.
Nathan also joins us via Zoom. He is a Marine and served as part of an Infantry Scout Squad that was on the front line for two separate Afghan deployments.
00:24 – When you were given your mission in Afghanistan, what were some things you saw at the operational or political level that seemed backwards to you? Was everything as you expected it to be once you arrived? How does bureaucracy get in the way of the mission?
11:45 – What is a FOBBIT? Or for that matter, a FOB, or forward operating base? Military people will understand, but everyone else probably not.
13:45 – (Sean) As somebody on the ground, how did politics get in the way of the primary goal of being in Afghanistan? How did it keep you from doing your job? Did it prevent you from helping your fellow soldiers?
19:36 – Sean goes over some situations that were frustrating on the ground, situations where he feels that he could have saved one of his friends life. The difficulties of the rules of engagement, and doing the right thing “by the book” versus the right strategically. Did following the rules of engagement lead to the death of a fellow Marina?
22:35 – (Robbie) Were there some situations where communication with those on the ground could have been easier? Robbie discusses the problems with ‘courageous restraint.’
38:55 – If you’re skipping through for the current events question, this is the part you want to watch. Did Biden mess up the withdrawal? Could we have done it better? If you were helping advise or manage, what do you think should have happened or could have happened? Should we have just stayed?
50:15 – Robbie discusses why this isn’t necessarily President Biden’s fault, but rather what led him to make the decisions he made from military advisors. Was I the Generals & advisors, and not Biden, who are to blame here?
57:15 – Robbie’s closing thoughts on the best course of action. How to end the conflict in Afghanistan. How to use Afghan refugees and immigrants to expand American ideals. How Pakistan, India, China, and Japan have way more to do with this than we’d like to admit. What we should do with and to our allies.
1:04:14 – Sean’s closing thoughts on how American can be a better friend and a more fearful enemy. Right now, we’re being the exact opposite of that; a bad friend and a weak enemy. What is the best strategy on getting out of Afghanistan now that the decision has been made? Why are we treating the Taliban like a legitimate government when we all know exactly what they are and admit to being, terrorists.
1:11:00 – Nathan’s final thoughts on what we all need to be doing as Americans to understand, and have better information about, what’s going on in Afghanistan. We need to know what our military is going through, and listen to our friends and family who served. A better hometown perspective is what we need to improve instead of sharing memes about whatever current event is going on. There are some Americans out there that think every Muslim person is a terrorist and that is a serious problem. Be informed.
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