Bob Franken

NEW HORIZONS IN CLICHES

FROM KING FEATURES SYNDICATE
BY BOB FRANKEN

NEW HORIZONS IN CLICHES

The latest catchphrase that trendy Defense Department briefers and the usual background “reliable sources” are using is “over the horizon.” It’s designed to give an exotic spin to technology that can be deployed from far away, at least the 3 miles or so of land or water that a human can see before the horizon takes over; it’s simply because the planet curves.
Unless you are a member of the Flat Earth Society, that rudimentary explanation suffices. But Maj. Gen. William “Hank” Taylor, who is an Army Joint Staff member, was one of the most recent to use it as part of Army cyberjargon at a recent Pentagon briefing:
“Without specifying any future plans, I will say that we will continue to have the ability to defend ourselves and to leverage over-the-horizon capability to conduct counterterrorism operations as needed.”
He was speaking about taking out two leaders from the Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State referred to as ISIS-K, for Islamic State Khorasan. They were in their car riding in faraway Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan when they were bombed from a drone as part of President Joe Biden’s vow of vengeance for the ISIS suicide bombing attack that killed 13 U.S. armed forces and nearly 200 Afghans, including women and children:
“We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay. Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond.”
Then, as President Biden and first lady Jill Biden joined the families in Dover, Delaware, for the “dignified transfer” of the military victims of the first ISIS attack at Kabul International Airport, another U.S. drone obliterated even more of the attackers. It fired from on high just over Kabul’s airport gates, as announced by Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban:
“U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense, unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International Airport.”
Note the “horizon” reference. Whatever the terminology, the drone rained down missiles on the latest “imminent threat,” a vehicle reportedly filled with explosives and suicide bombers.

Sometimes, contrary to the latest new-fashioned turn of phrase, there is an old-fashioned one that has stood the test of time. One of those would be “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Until the past few days, U.S. and Taliban forces were trying to shoot and kill each other. Now the two sides are maintaining an unholy alliance because the ISIS-K has re-formed among those who are an even more militant form of Muslims than the Taliban, and they are even more bitter enemies of the Taliban than the United States.
Assuming the escape operation ends when all Americans who want to leave and most of the Afghan allied supporters are flown out, and assuming that the Taliban establishes a government that protects human rights, particularly among women — at least like Saudi Arabia, a dismal standard, to be sure — maybe the governments can maintain diplomatic relations.
As for the U.S. government and questions about how this nation will suffer another military defeat and, politically, how the Biden administration will fend off the political blame for an inept withdrawal, those answers will come in the future … definitely over the murky horizon.

© 2021 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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