Like most Cuban Americans, I grew up hearing stories about the Bay of Pigs from April 1961. Back then, a president made a bad call, left a bunch of men on the beach and the U.S. suffered a humiliating defeat. My fellow Cuban American Victor Andres Triay wrote a great book about the whole thing.
Of course, Afghanistan may well be more deadly than the Bay of Pigs. No one cares anymore about the Bay of Pigs unless you are Cuban or a historian researching the Kennedy presidency. By the way, Soviet leader Khrushchev remembered the incident when he met with President Kennedy in Vienna. In many ways, that little episode on a Cuban beach set the table for Berlin, Laos, Vietnam, The Missile Crisis and the turbulent 1960s in Latin America. It always happens when the U.S. is weak!
I was also reminded of the Bay of Pigs because of comments in the news, especially the one that Afghans did not fight. Cubans fought back and so did Afghans now, as General Jack Keane reminded us:
“Since the Afghans have been fighting the ground war in Afghanistan since 2014, and we’ve been providing air support and intelligence and in other words enablers for them to do that, they have suffered over 50,000 casualties. And in every one of those seven years they have pushed back successfully on the Taliban offensive that’s occurred every year, at a cost of themselves,” he continued. “What happened this year is the United States said to the Afghan Security Forces and to their government that we are no longer willing to support your efforts. We are pulling away from you.”
The reason for the colossal and now-deadly failure, he argues, is the sudden absence of U.S. support, particularly air support. Keane offered, “The Afghans have fought in the past. They are not a strong military by any means and anybody who’s been in Afghanistan knows that. But with us enablers what we were able to achieve was a stalemate.”
Afghans did not fight? There are 50,000 men dead that prove otherwise. President Biden should apologize for saying that.
At The Bay of Pigs, a couple of U.S. fighter jets would have done the trick. In Afghanistan, a residual force of 2,500 men would have sent the right message.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).