I was again honored to be invited for a virtual sit down and chin wag with Judge Andrew Napolitano. One of the things we discussed was a recent comment by retired CIA officer Jack Devine, who described the Russian military as incompetent and unprofessional. I will explain my remarks about Jack below.
Jack’s evidence for his scathing description of the Russian military is that the Soviets were run out of Afghanistan by goat herders equipped with AK 47s. Jack does not realize that the Soviet military of 1989 is not the Russian military of 2023. If the fact that the Soviets left Afghanistan without securing a victory is proof that they were not a “first world military”, then what the hell does that say about the U.S. military?
The Soviets conducted an orderly, planned withdrawal, which began 15 May 1988 and ended on 15 February 1989. During that 9-month withdrawal, the world did not see panicked crowds surging around the airport pleading to be taken out of Afghanistan. The Soviets left an Afghan government and military intact, which continued to operate for two more years before the Taliban took over.
Compare that with the debacle of the U.S. withdrawal in August 2021. Like the Soviets, the United States failed to quell and contain the Taliban. But the United States took almost 20 years to realize that Afghanistan was a black hole and we spent billions more than the Soviets in trying to prop up the puppet regimes in Kabul. So, if we use the Devine standard to assess military competence, then the evidence would suggest that the United States today is inferior to what the Soviets were 34 years ago.
The misinformed arrogance displayed by Mr. Devine is not unique. That same attitude and misunderstanding of Russia is rampant today in the U.S. intelligence community. Jack Devine, in my opinion, is a prime example of the mindset and attitude that still plagues the CIA. And that is dangerous for America’s national security.