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The last train to Clarksville has left the station.  There are exactly zero American troops remaining in Afghanistan.  Left behind are somewhere between 100 and 250 American citizens who want to get out, along with tens of thousands of Afghans who risked their lives for us.

That’s a failure. The president vowed we would not completely withdraw until every American who wanted to get home got home. Failure.

The president said as recently as early July that an immediate Taliban takeover was not “inevitable,” and that it was in fact “very unlikely.”  Intelligence failure? Or candor failure?

Our friends can’t depend on us. Understand, alienating our allies and giving comfort to our enemies is a “foreign policy” that started under Donald Trump. But Biden vowed to break that cycle. Failure.

Let me politely cut some of you off right now.  Yes, “We had to get out of Afghanistan.” Yep. “There was bound to be chaos.” Roger. “There is no good time to end a war.” You got that right.

OK.  But “how” matters.  Failure.

The deadline for withdrawal did not “sneak up on us.” Planning failure.

There were insufficient remaining troops to support secure orderly evacuation.  Strategic failure.

We didn’t anticipate the immediate collapse of the Afghan military. Really? Did we fail to anticipate sunrise as well?   Failure.

The United States put itself in a position of being dependent on the honor and integrity of the Taliban. I’ll just let that sit there.

Now what? After 20 years, two trillion dollars and 2,461 lost American lives—13 of them very recently—what do we have to show for it?

Osama bin Laden is still dead.  That’s it.

Afghanistan is once again a vacuum and a black hole that sucks in roaches. Taliban? Check. ISIS? Yeppers, and this time the Special K version. Uncle Al Qaeda? Or Qaida? I’ll let you select your preferred spelling.

It is absolutely true that we have done a great job of preventing attacks on American soil since 9-11. Now?  “Past performance is no guarantee of future results,” as they say in the financial industry.

Failure. I will not spin it.  Failure.

Politically? Whether it’s fair or not, this will be Biden’s “Jimmy Carter Iran Hostage” freezeframe. 

Biden pulled out the old, “The buck stops here,” bromide. Then he passed it more quickly and widely and indiscriminately than a fatty at a 70s frat party. Or so I’m told.

He ran on competence, experience, honesty, integrity, empathy and transparency.  In the words of Ted Knight’s character in Caddyshack, “Well…we’re waiting.”

One more cheery note. Hospital “hallways and conference rooms” are now being used as COVID treatment units. In the United States of America. Let’s get this straight.  That’s on Trump. That…is his legacy.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.