a reply to: Vovin
Brzezinski was jack crap. Didn't know sheep # from parched coffee. He thought himself a grand global "strategist", a legend in his own mind, and
kept Carter's Foreign Affairs in constant disarray. Carter was dumb as a box of bricks, and never had the smarts or intestinal fortitude to say
"Zbig, how 'bout you go get a cup of coffee an let ME sort this crap out?" Brzezinski was basically just in the right place at the right time to
let the limelight hit him, and OTHER folks did all the heavy lifting. There was more to Reagan giving him the boot than just Brzezinski's politics -
if you'll recall, Reagan started out life as a Democrat, too, and that was no barrier if he had thought Brzezinski knew anything about foreign policy
You posted a picture of "Brzezinski and bin Laden". That's NOT bin Laden look at the uniform. It's an old, discredited photo flying around the
internet claiming to be Brzezinski and "Tim Osman", and it's not "Tim Osman", either. I'll post a couple of pictures of my own, just for you, as
my counter -
This is me now (well, recently - a couple of years ago):
... and this was me, then:
There's a reason I know some things on this subject, and there's a reason I know something about the way bin Laden reacted to US "assistance", and
how he really was in Afghanistan. Bin Laden was a bit player, no warrior, and was tolerated by the Afghans not for his fighting prowess (nonexistent)
or his grand mastery of strategy - he was tolerated because he brought his own money to spread around, and built good infrastructure.
He was not the "Master of Mujahideen" that he is painted to be now. That was all a legend he built himself after the fact, and it appears that some
now tend towards eating it up in the wake of 9/11.
I know about the mujahideen
being given stingers and training for them, as well as a variety of other things like Chinese and Egyptian AK's
and wire-guided ATGM's, but nothing about any British Enfields (they already had boatloads of British Enfields still left over from the British
occupation - some of those old farts even went to war with just ancient jezails, for God's sake!) or bin Laden's construction boys being given
anything at all. I know that bin Laden and company REFUSED US assistance, or anything that even smelled like US assistance.
As far as Brzezinski's Grand Plan goes, the CIA went in initially IN SPITE of the US government - they hid it from the government until it started
bearing fruit, and couldn't be hidden any more. They didn't go in because of Brzezinski. Like I said before, he was just in the right place at the
right time to try and hog credit, and most of the ground-pounders that did the heavy lifting were content to let him do that, and stay in the
Now we have a rewritten "history" because of that, and Gust is dead, so he can't correct it - and I'm not sure he would anyhow.
"Operation Cyclone" was not Brzezinski's baby, no matter how much he tries to take credit for it.
I may HAVE to read "Ghost Wars" for myself now, just to see if Coll really says all that crap.
I'm well aware of the difference between AQ and the Taliban, AND their respective paths to creation, - and ALSO aware of the difference between the
Afghan Muj of the 80's and ISIS of today. To be honest, i can't even see that much similarity in their religions, much less their politics. Some few
of the Afghan Arabs went on to envision world conquest, but they were not muj, they were "Afghan Arabs". The muj had no such grand plan - they only
wanted their country rid of the communists infestation, and didn't much care about the rest of the world.
AQ was created by Afghan Arabs, bin Laden specifically (in council with a few others), NOT by any mujahideen. Even back then there was a distinction
between muj and Afghan Arabs, and yet another class you don't hear about much these days called "Foreign Volunteers" because they were foreign, but
not Arab, and are now unimportant to The New Narrative (for either side) and relegated to the dustbin of history. The Taliban, on the other hand, was
created by Pakistani ISI from a core of Afghan kids in Pakistani madrasas near the border area where refugees were rife, with the addition of some
other, non-Afghan, elements. Note that "Taliban" means "the students", because of the madrasas where they were "educated", and ALSO note the it
was formed from a core of Afghan REFUGEE CHILDREN (during the war they were growing up in Pakistan) - not muj who actually stayed and fought.
Asymmetrical is the key word here. It means they are not bound by national boundaries and can operate pretty much anywhere. Meaning that these guys
started off in Afghanistan as anti-Soviet mujahideen, then founded al-Qaeda after their success due to American covert support and spread their
operations far beyond Afghanistan.
"Asymmetrical" as applied to warfare means no such thing - it means that one side is not on par in training or equipment with the other, and so must
make up the deficit with guerrilla tactics. I have pointed out that AQ founders were NOT Afghan mujahideen, and I have pointed out that the AQ
founders were NOT US supported. It's the little details like that which skew the picture beyond recognition and blurs the lines creating the
confusion in an admittedly easily confused atmosphere.
Please understand that I'm not taking you to task - as I said before, I generally agree with your assessments and find your posts to be intelligently
written and generally thoughtful. I just think you are out in left field on this particular, and are eating up the revisionist history. I only want to
correct a few details to clarify the picture, and I'm doing it for Gust, for Amir, and for another Pole (not Brzezinski) who will remain unnamed here
- we can call him "Lech", I suppose - who died in Afghanistan because his main goal in life was to "kill Russians who destroyed my country".