John Cole’s post on the chaos in Afghanistan addresses the human catastrophe unfolding there. I want to praise a rare example of political courage here at home. Here’s an excerpt of a statement President Biden released yesterday:
When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies’ Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.
It was the right decision. It was a brave decision.
Biden understood there were no good options in Afghanistan and that the status quo was unsustainable. He knew if he chose to withdraw, he’d be pummeled from all sides by craven opportunists who will make political hay out of this mess, including the rancid orange blob who put U.S. and allied forces more squarely behind the eight ball. Biden did the right thing anyway.
It shouldn’t be remarkable for political leaders to disregard political fallout and make decisions in the best interests of the people they serve. That’s the job.
But we’ve come to expect politicians to kick the can down the road to avoid hard decisions. Over the past couple of years, the spectacle of governors actively sabotaging disease mitigation efforts to audition for higher office has been covered as a savvy political move. We’re unsurprised when political leaders coddle domestic terrorists to chase votes. In this context, Biden’s courage is notable.
The NYT is of course battering away at him
ETA: As David Rothkopf pointed out, Biden advised Obama to get out in 2009.
@zhena gogolia: The NYT is garbage.
Another Vietnam that cost ten times as much.
It’s a mess and I hope and pray that we can remove our diplomats and those in Afghan that have helped us. The Afghanistan military just took off their uniforms, and changed sides.
There is so much to love in Biden’s statement.
I bolded my absolute favorite part. As I commented yesterday, that was Obama-level shivving.
A Ghost to Most
FTFNYT. Same as it ever was. Joe’s doing a good job, and Afghanistan was always going to end this way. He stepped up and did the math.
For real? Or figuratively?
That alone is proof that Biden did exactly the right thing.
The professional Fox News types are hoping this makes Biden unpopular with voters.
But even the reddest MAGATs, with their hats and camo and social media accounts are against any more forever wars.
It sounds like the only ones making the “we should stay there!” arguments are the pundits.
@germy: It was so typical of TFG to do something that got him lauded for ending the forever wars, but then didn’t follow through to the inevitable conclusion, which Biden is now taking the heat for
ETA: I wonder (not really) what GG is saying about all this.
@WaterGirl: To answer my own question… (Washington Post)
@A Ghost to Most: The graveyard of empires.
Same as it ever was. Republicans get us into a mess for which there are no good solutions, and when Democrats take the least bad option to get us out, they are the ones who get pummeled. Murc’s Law again: only Democrats have agency, so only Democrats get blamed.
Nothing GG says is in good faith, so there’s no point.
I’d watch but don’t have my anti-emetic medicine with me.
Here’s an example of how Biden is getting it from every side:
Fuck you, Ryan Crocker.
Over at OTB I said this yesterday:
I have a feeling the hot takes will fade and your attitude will remain.
Oh, but those 2500 would have turned the tide! As Biden said the question was not continue to follow Trump’s fake policy or get out. Trump’s was transparently bullshit ass covering so not an option. The question was whether to ramp it back up or get out. There was no status quo option.
The people who are saying he should have stayed are not advocating for the status quo of 6 months ago. They’re talking about an escalation. They need to make that clear if they want to be honest- they mostly don’t want to be honest so they won’t, but they should.
Biden would have had to double down on the war or get out. Those were his two choices.
Pretty good summation:
It was all lost the minute GWB decided to invade Iraq. I knew it then.
Like I said in the thread below, if the Afghan government can fall so quickly after 20 YEARS and TRILLIONS of dollars, it was never going to succeed.
Fucking NPR had yet another interview with GW’s Ambassador, Ronald Newman. Of course he would focus on Biden’s “failure”; of course he would side step his administration’s total fuck-up in Afghanistan.
@debbie: And of course (I assume) the interviewer didn’t bring it up.
Crocker was active in the W.Bush administration.
He was also arrested for “reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident” which might be a good metaphor for his foreign policy achievements.
Also, this was in the Guardian yesterday: Why is Afghanistan falling to the Taliban so fast?
Much more at the link.
Absolutely right. No good outcome here is possible.
I know that the warrior class and their supporters don’t want to hear it, but many problems don’t have a military solution and the AMERICA FUCK YEAH behavior made me sick at the time and it still does.
I for one hope this demoralizes everyone who ever supported this shitshow, either with their vote, words, or their enlistment, into waking TF up and realizing that they wasted American blood and treasure by being bloodthirsty.
These people are acting as if they are neutral observers but they’re not. They were all part of this. They are all responsible for it. They’re choosing not to admit their role in the failure- I knew they would– but they can’t expect me to buy this bullshit. Own your role then go after the person who made the decision or you’re not credible to me.
I accept that Biden gets the blame but I am not obligated to accept the opinions of the others involved if they won’t own their own role. They can do the “success has many fathers, failure is an orphan” thing if they want to but I can also reject it.
Biden gets the blame- many many fathers. That’s what’s going on here. Both of those things can be true and both of them are true. I accept them both.
Yep, twenty years’ training and a trillion dollars for this. //
He and Petreaus were buddies.
When I ran into a friend while this was going on (the invasion of Iraq) we agreed it was The ASSES of EVIL who were in charge.
Just imagine if Gore had not been cheated out of the vote in Florida….
@WaterGirl: Let’s also not forget the abandonment of the Kurds. Even those who don’t care about them should have been revolted at seeing Russian flags flying over our former bases. But of course TFG’s fucking imbecilic etch-a-sketches didn’t want to remember that either.
Smarter than we were. We could have carpet-bombed the country with $100 bills and gotten better results for less.
@Betty Cracker: Speaking of Ambassadors to Afghanistan:
from the article I linked to above.
It’s a really good question, and, I think, part of the panicked piling on.
Oh, well, Biden knows better than just about anyone that the job involves nightmare decisions and sucks. This is the “sucks” part.
I’m grateful to him for the clarity of the decision and for telling the truth. But he won’t get rewarded for it.
Nope. And I hate being this angry this early in the day.
Yes. And I’m supposed to trust his judgment?
@MomSense: 100% agreed
@zhena gogolia: This, as well.
You reminded me. Petraeus was also slamming Biden on NPR yesterday with zero pushback. Fucking toad.
@Kay: Aaron Rupar has clips of Liz Cheney on some morning show blowing her mouth off blaming TFG, not a word about her father and his puppet.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I started to type “After 9/11…” the idea that “boots on the ground” would somehow, some way put us on teh road to the desired outcome in X foreign country, but now that I think of it, the phrase may be from the Aughts, but it was in the 90s, after the perceived success of Kosovo and the failures of the international community to intervene in Rwanda that the Beltway Press adopted “send in the troops” as a box to be checked on your Very Serious Person card, along with “teachers’ unions are the problem” and “we’ve got to get Serious about entitlements…”
Nice that Ashraf Ghani managed to spirit himself out of the country. What kind of betrayal would this be thought to be?
Another person who should STFU
Was he carrying bags of U.S. cash?
Our tax money?
@Kay: He might not get rewarded for it but I don’t think he’s going to pay any real political price. First off, the timing is rather fortuitous. It will be old news by the time the 2022 elections come around and 2ndly it will be really really old news in ’24. By then it will have sunk in what a complete waste that those 20 years there really were.
Another one who pocketed bags of U.S. cash.
As someone living in India, this is a shitshow for our nation. The last time Taliban was in power in Afghanistan, cross-border terrorism from Pakistan considerably increased in India. The Taliban is closely aligned with Islamists in Pakistan – in fact, for a brief period there was a Pakistani version of the Taliban.
The truth about this withdrawal is also that American liberals now view Muslims in the US as allies; and therefore do not view Islamic fundamentalism anywhere else in the globe as a threat. This is the way in which immediate Western priorities are imposed on the rest of the world.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@germy: I quit reading Dowd regularly back in the ’08 cycle when she kept describing Obama vs Clinton as “Obambi and the Dominatrix”, and no one in her personal or professional circle apparently saw fit to intervene. I’ve glanced at a couple of her recent columns about Biden, and while she likes Biden (as someone with four Irish-born grandparents, never underestimate the power of the Irish-American Identity Cult), she also used those columns to indulge in her hatred of Obama. It’s really something to behold.
I think this is the first column of hers to get national/viral attention since that incredibly dishonest tripe about the time she tried edibles in Denver and went all Mrs Grundy on The Pot.
@germy: But he had a lovely green cape.
This whole thing is just bringing back all my rage against GWB and Cheney. I thought TFG had erased it. But it’s still there, burning as hot as ever.
I take the bizarre position of regarding Muslims as humans. Fuck off and take this horse shit with you.
I just loathe religious fundamentalism. Every flavor sucks for women and treats women as second class people so being female I refuse to accept this as a valid belief or way to operate in the world.
If anything they get too much deference. I listen to people with this utter nonsense about Amish and I know they haven’t seen them up close by how they romanticize it. It’s a brutal, punishing life for women. Get all misty-eyed over the apple butter if you want to but know those girls and women are treated as lesser human beings and outright abuse of women in those communities is so common the sheriff’s deputies consider it a special case.
To ask women to accept “well, this is what they BELIEVE” It’s what fucking domestic violence perpetrators “believe” too and no one is ordered to “understand” them.
No. Do not respect them or it.
Speaking of, where the fuck are the Karzai brothers?
Another Rothkopf thread:
And to that, I respond with this reply to his tweet:
@Just Chuck: Apparently so.
If we’d wanted to stay there for another twenty years, all it would’ve taken was a rumor that the Taliban wanted to introduce universal health care – goodness knows there’s plenty of fight in the centrist Dems against anybody who tries that.
@debbie: Patraeus engineered/manipulated the first surge. So here we are a decade plus later.
@Ramiah Ariya: I can’t speak for any American liberals except myself, but that is certainly not my view. I see religious fanaticism everywhere as a threat.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
As an American liberal living in the US, this is nonsense. Sorry.
@Kay: CNN and Fox will find an interpreter who was murdered by the Taliban, even though Congress wasn’t able to pass a law allowing them to come into our country it will be Biden’s fault. They will show the same clip over and over. That will be how they hurt Biden.
The Beeb has a lot of assets in Afghanistan (reporters, government officials, educators, NGOs, etc.) and the cumulative impact of listening to their observations and experiences is pretty devastating. There’s a resignation that whatever the “new normal” will be, it’s here and stay/go is the only point of discussion now. Of course, go is an option for a relative few, despite reassurances from the the Taliban’s PR wing that anybody who wants to leave Kabul can totally.
And then they yank the listener’s chain interviewing a Tory MP who also served in the military in Afghanistan. This guy is 100% on the Biden Fail train and sounds just like a Brexiteer in how if we just stay the course then Afghanistan can be a functioning democracy and bulwark against regional shenanigans of all kinds. But now we’ve blown it (no mention of the two very long decades it took for said blowing). J’accuse Biden. Believe I hate Tories now as much as I hate Republicans. They just have better subject-verb agreement; in the lying for profit realm they’re on par.
I get the distinct impression through the sum total of his actions (to date) that Joe Biden doesn’t give a shit about a second term. I also will bet real cash that by the time he should be announcing for 2024, the results over time of these aggregate actions will make him a shoo-in, should he decide for it.
I know a couple of Army wives whose husbands have been deployed to Afghanistan over the last ten years. They say their husbands have said it was terrible. These are Army wives of career men. These folks don’t normally complain to us civilians.
As someone in the comments section of the WP pointed out – this is a relatively peaceful and negotiated deal to hand power over to the Taliban – just all done on the local level since the Government wouldn’t. Rather accurate point.
@Ramiah Ariya: As an American liberal who lives in Pakistan I agree with your first paragraph. This is going to be bad for Pakistan and India. But Just Chuck’s assessment of your second paragraph is spot on.
@Matt: Pie pie pie.
“The truth about this withdrawal is also that American liberals now view Muslims in the US as allies; and therefore do not view Islamic fundamentalism anywhere else in the globe as a threat. ”
That sounds entirely inaccurate to me. “American liberals,” to the extent they share any views at all, still abhor Islamic fundamentalism as vehemently as ever.
We may not have a knee-jerk reaction to secularizing Muslims, and we may not attack Sikhs for wearing turbans, so to that extent we have a more positive view of Muslims than American right-wingers do.
But treating fundamentalists as allies? No way.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@zhena gogolia: Good for Nichols.
Eli Lake is such a caricature of a Bush-Cheney dead-ender from 2006 I thought for a long time he had to be someone like Bolton or some other boll weevil from the Rumsfeld DoD, but apparently he’s always been a “journalist”
@Ramiah Ariya: You really need to either watch a better news source or invest in better drugs; no liberal in the US supports religious fundamentalist – not christian, hindu or islamic. Get a grip.
By the way, unlike many in India, we in the US do in fact respect and view our fellow amerikan Muslims as friends, and allies. Duh. They are loyal and often serve in our military and are fantastic members of our society, by the way
And I do know that many Indian’s respect their fellow Muslims, too.
@Betty Cracker: @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Thirded.
I loathe religious fundamentalists of all stripes, including the ones in India backed by the Sangh who presume to speak for all Hindus.
@Kay:This. All flavors of religious fundamentalism are inherently a control mechanism to keep the women in line.
As others have pointed out, you have been badly, badly misinformed.
Source for your comment? Because it is bull.
@Kay:This. All flavors of religious fundamentalism are inherently a control mechanism to keep the women in line.
@Just Chuck: Round of applause.
@Elizabelle: Tasteless but ” //”.
@Just Chuck: Yep. The US Christians have had Muslims living amongst us quite peacably for about four centuries. We probably start thinking about accepting them.
The rapid collapse of the Afghan government shows they were not really supporting civil society. They were repressing it. Urban civil societies are a mighty force. A city like Kabul, by itself, would have a reasonable chance in a civil war. Look at how well the Spanish Republicans did even when most of the country’s military supported Franco from the start.
With 20 years and the massive expenditures, the US and the Afghan government should have been able to support a society that could just sweep the Taliban aside. There must be a lot of incompetent and crooked people involved. No doubt US arms producers, who got most of the money, top the list
I didn’t clap. You didn’t clap. Now Tinkerbell is dead. Time to take responsibility for our lack of patriotic vigor.
Mike in NC
Some Republican group in SC censured Lindsey Graham for voting for the Biden infrastructure bill. They’re closer to the Taliban than they would ever admit.
Agreed on every front, Ms. Cracker, as usual.
Hoping my school system will show some more courage and require vaccinations from eligible employees.
Frustrated, but did write a letter.
The career diplomat Ryan Crocker that Betty Cracker mentioned above is a particularly mendacious shitbird. From his Wikipedia biography:
In 2002 he coauthored a secret government memo on the risks of invading Iraq.
But in 2007 he told Congress:
He knew what was happening in Iraq, and he had to know equally well what was happening in Afghanistan—he was the ambassador there in 2011-12. His shot at Biden is cowardly bullshit.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Susan Glasser once compared Obama “spiking the ball” after OBL was killed to Bush’s “Mission accomplished!” moment. Even if she weren’t Mrs Peter Baker, she’d be the perfect example of Beltway CW in shoes. And the fawning she gets from her peers on twitter is nauseating.
People who have done the math say that it takes one boots-on-the-ground troop to cope with 60-80 civilians in an ‘insurrection’ or other opposed invasion of a nation long-term. By that reckoning the Great Afghan Adventure required about 400,000 troops deployed 24/7 to counter the insurgents. In addition another 400,000 troops would be coming off service and getting retrained, reorganised and re-equipped while another 400,000 troops were working up ready to deploy when the current in-country forces were rotated out after a year or so. During the original conquest of Afghanistan the NATO forces numbered no more than a hundred thousand or so, enough to smash the infrastructure from thirty thousand feet and drive the insurgents into hiding but no more.
Pretending that the native rifles regiments of the “Afghanistan government” could do anything substantial against the locals when the figleaf NATO “training” forces withdrew is, well, fantasy at best and deceitful at worst.
 A couple of years back the democratically-elected President of Afghanistan announced he was planning to enter discussions with some of the leaders of the insurgents. This was knocked back by the US military Viceroy at the time because who lets the natives make White Man decisions like that?
@WaterGirl: There was a BBC report last night in one of their “From our own correspondent” audio essays, talking about something like this. “Soldiers and officials, who often hadn’t been paid in months, …” People will always do what’s necessary to survive. When people aren’t paid, it invites all kinds of bad things to happen.
Logistics, and bookkeeping, and keeping one’s word (“do this, and we’ll pay you”) are how hearts and minds are won.
Maybe if/when there’s a next time, we just cut out the middle-men and set up monthly Xoom payments to the entire populations’ cell phones. (“Stop doing things we don’t like, cooperate with your new government, and we’ll give each of you $500 a month!!”) It won’t guarantee success, but it would certainly have a better chance…
Most liberals regard Muslims in the US as fellow Americans. My suggestion would be for the citizens of India and their government to view and treat the Muslims in India the same way. This has little to no impact on how we view terrorism or Islamic fundamentalism.
What is happening in Afghanistan is definitely depressing and sad. But as has been noted many times, this mess has a thousand authors.
To be classically US-centric, voters will not punish Biden for this. The GOP, abetted by a very war-prone press, will flog the ‘Biden failure’ like mad, but most of us have wanted this damn thing to end for a looooong time.
It was going to be messy. And we have no appetite for a Max Boot one to three century-long occupation. So it ends. Faster than we expected, and the impacts for Afghani women and children likely will be terrible. But it ends.
Mike in NC
There is a chapter in the book “A Very Stable Genius” that details a meeting the Orange Clown called at the Pentagon, where he gathered a bunch of senior officers to give him a “win” on Afghanistan. They were unable to come up with a solution for the former game show host, so he called them dopes and babies and stormed out in a temper tantrum. That was the time that Rex Tillerson called him a “fucking moron”. Understatement of the year.
Biden has done pretty well in polls despite the many Republican attacks on him so this is knives-out time. We’ll see, eventually, whether “he’s the guy what lost Afghanistan” sticks. Meanwhile there’s still a pandemic slaying our kids.
The only slightly legitimate criticism I’ve seen about the withdrawal is he should have scheduled the US withdrawal for the dead of winter. This would have at least slowed down the collapse of the Afghan army.
I’m subscribed to both the Veterans and USMC subreddits. The vast majority of comments are that this was going to be the end result no matter how long we stayed. It sucks that they lost brothers and sisters in the fight but it better that we lose no more.
No Iraq 2? Progress on Climate Change? Maybe an earlier try at health insurance? Judges? Oh yeah I imagine this.
@zhena gogolia: Not sure who (in the stream of things that pass by there) on twitter said it, but being nakedly pro-war is one bias the press in the US has never really tried to paper over with their ‘objective’ bullshit.
They just cheer it on. I recall just how shocked/pissed I was at the NYT (not just Judith Miller by any means) was in their failure to see through the Bush Admin and, for example, their nakedly obvious effort to pull Hans Blix because he was so close to pointing out there was no real nuclear there, there.
This then is the perfect opportunity for India to sent your troops into Afghanistan and fix it right, this time.
What do you say? You have nukes!
@Kelly: Quite possibly no 9/11.
@zhena gogolia: It was clear to me that it was a losing proposition when we couldn’t kill or capture bin Laden at Tora Bora.
Kerry committee report from 2009:
Counterfactuals are fun, but it’s clear they let some weird political ideology get in the way of effectively prosecuting the war. It was a sign that they had no intention of winning the “peace” either.
I can’t find the link now, but one congressman said yesterday that he had not received a single call from a constituent about “losing” Afghanistan. The public had already memory-holed it.
If the U.S. had withdrawn ten years ago, the Afghani government would have collapsed, and the Taliban would have taken over. If the U.S. withdraws now, the Afghani government will collapse, and the Taliban will take over. If the U.S. stays ten more years and then withdraws, the Afghani government will collapse, and the Taliban will take over. If the U.S. stays 20 more years …
Couldn’t, or chose not to? I lean toward the latter. Don’t forget these are the guys jonesing for two simultaneous wars.
Cathie from Canada
Yes, I believe the election of Bush over Gore will be seen by 21st century historians as one of the most consequential turning points in American history. Unstoppable world-wide global warming, 20 years of war in the Middle East, international distrust in American democracy, the beginning of the end of America as the world’s global superpower — it all will be traced back to that single event.
After twenty years of listening to one posturing idiot in uniform after another, all I have to say is Clemenceau was right. War is too important to be left to the generals.
@lee: While maybe true, how many more lives – Afghani and possibly Amerikan needed to die to make that winter withdraw possible? So for pride we throw more lives away – that argument is total B.S. made by people that never had or would have a child in that hell hole. Glad we got out now and look, its been a nearly peaceful transfer – as for afterwards, well, that is another matter and would occur no matter when we chose to withdraw.
It seemed a different place before the Soviets went in and broke things, but we can never know how their society may have progressed if left unmolested.
It would be such a relief if we could put all of the pundit class and two-thirds of the media into a padded sound-proof box and let themselves shriek themselves out. Come back in a decade or two to check the decibel level half-life.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Gallego was a marine. I know he was in Iraq, I don’t know about AFG
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@pat: imagine if the anti-Democratic Left hadn’t spent a year telling us there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two parties. Imagine if we had learned something from what resulted….
@debbie: Invasion Lite, relying on proxies, warlords and such alongside the CIA and special forces seems to have Rumsfeld’s fingerprints all over it (will leave the facts bit to Silverman). When it came to prying Bin Laden and his crew out of the mountains, B52s were not the needed thing. We needed manpower we were unwilling to commit to the task.
And I agree, Iraq planning was the overarching distraction on top of Rummy and the shitbird “This war will pay for itself” neocons thinking they could run an MBA war.
@Chris: See my comment #69.
@Mike in NC:
Sarah Taber has made the point on her Twitter feed multiple times that there’s an entire subculture of rich rural/exurban shitheads with pickup trucks and gun racks (the kind of people who were there on 1/6) that’s basically indistinguishable from the culture of warlords and their militias in [insert third world failed or failing state here].
I believe I first heard this on Balloon Juice a decade or so ago: “the only reason the religious right hates Muslim terrorists is that they’ve got the wrong membership badges.”
the New York Times struck again this morning! it used the term “wily” to refer to the Taliban:
i was reminded of the old-fashioned phrase “the wily pathan” [Google: About 3,050 results]
Most of those hits refer to the movie “How I Won the War” (1967), during which the veteran officer played by Michael Hordern continually warns the young fellows to beware of the “wily Pathan,” and who eventually shoots a disabled tank with a pistol as one would shoot a wounded horse.
Same tactics. Driving their trucks into crowds. Planting explosives. etc.
See the post at #88
They never had the force structure for Afghanistan, never mind Iraq.
The post Cold War drawdowns had cut the size of the US military in half. So they filled in the gaps with wishful thinking, flag decals, and FOX News.
@Cathie from Canada:
The only thing I disagree with in this comment is “elected.” We elected Gore.
@trollhattan: There is no such thing as invasion light. Ohio is full of gold star families, and many blue-star families dealing with brutal, life-altering injuries and PTSD. Not everyone is as insanely tough and positive as Tammy Duckworth.
Yeah, it has a very C. Aubrey Smith vibe to it.
One of the best comments you’ve written.
About fifty and one half years ago a man gave a speech about ever increasing spending of human and monetary assets for the military and what would result. He was largely correct.
About forty years ago Edwin Starr wrote a song about war’s toll and he was correct too.
@Kelly: Also likely no successful 9/11 attack. Clinton gave Bush a heads up on Al Quaida. The national security partnership of Cheney and Rumsfeld had their eye on Iraq, though, and discounted advice from those they considered amateurs.
Mostly a compare-and-contrast with the Iraq invasion. Orders of magnitude more man and materiel went into the latter.
Later, once we found ourselves stuck there, we upped our Afghanistan presence hugely. And now we watch it wash away into history’s dustbin.
@trollhattan: We couldn’t possibly have done both well, and we shouldn’t have done either.
I will never understand why we went into Iraq. Saddam dissed Bush One seems a very weak justification for our losses, much less theirs. Bush Two wants to seem tougher than his father seems a much weaker justification but more likely. Karl Rove says you can’t win re-election without an ongoing war.
@lee: trump fast tracked American withdrawal when he made his fraudulent deal with Taliban. President Biden could not choose a more favorable season.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Geminid: the parallels to the right wing and their useful idiots in the Green Rooms castigating Obama for Bush’s SOFA agreement with Bush’s hand-picked government in Baghdad would be funny if anybody had learned anything from that
an essay on procrastination by james thurber or e.b. white used the term. the protagonist is sidetracked into reading a Harper’s magazine article on The Wily Pathan.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
Check out those dates
Kevin McCarthy is apparently having a very emo moment today
He… he thinks Afghanistan is in Mexico?
@trollhattan: Nah Modi government’s bravado only extends to bullying India’s Muslim citizens.
I’ll read it later.
Watching the punditariate laying blame for this on Biden – many of them the same ones who salivated over W’s war in Iraq; and NONE of them mentioning how the war in Iraq made it inevitable that the war in Afghanistan would fail – is utterly infuriating.
I supported the war in Afghanistan when W declared it. Al Qaeda was based there. Bin Laden was there. And the Taliban were (are) a horrorshow of criminality and cruelty. So I supported the war.
Then came Iraq. I remember how the MSM agitated for that war. I remember how people like Phil Donohue were banished from the MSM for opposing it. I remember the global, multimillion-person marches against a war in Iraq. I remember feeling sick despair when the US invaded anyway, and made a complete shitshow of whatever goddamn mission that was supposed to be.
And I remember feeling even more sick and despairing when it became obvious the war in Iraq was making the war in Afghanistan a doomed, futile effort. The one place we had a shred of justification to going, the one place we might conceivably help the people there… and we blew it completely, because W had Daddy Issues and Cheney wanted… FFS, I’m not sure what Cheney wanted. Maybe Halliburton wasn’t making enough money in just Afghanistan.
Biden is a much better person than I am. I’d be flinging all this history in everyone’s face.
@Kay: on all fundamentalisms being at bottom the same, specifically in treating women as lesser beings—YES!! ABSOLUTELY!!
As someone living in the US, here’s a thought. Let the wise Narendra Modi and his noble Hindu supporters deal with their own regional security concerns. The US armed forces aren’t a praetorian guard for his ethno-nationalist regime.
The Pale Scot
How’s the weather in St Petersburg Comrade?
Really guys, after all of Adam’s posts, still can’t find Boris in a photo
@The Pale Scot:
No, he’s a longtime commenter.
The Pale Scot
The anti-fascists had secured ports to bring supplies in from the USSR. Kabul is a Stalingrad scenario. Where resistance is going to cause a genicidal response
@phdesmond: “Wily” is just more knee-jerk, unthinking racism. They couldn’t possibly be intelligent strategists when they spend all their time contriving new ways to impose their Wahhabist worldview.
The only people to gain from our continuing wars, which have consumed 30 of the last 60 yrs, are the people making tools of war and the people that get paid to continue to demand that war is the only thing that works in making a better world.
And those people are so full of shit and so full of themselves (same thing) and so full of hate and so full of political means that never, ever actually work because they deny reality and exchange it with that hate and greed.
Fuck those people, let them go to war.
I never had to see actual war, but I’ve seen the results of that in the VA, the destroyed lives of people who weren’t part of the tens of thousands of American lives that actually died for nothing, in Vietnam and in the Middle East. I see the people my age and the ones half or less of that who have lost much for absolutely nothing gained.
We spend 40% of the money spent by all countries on the tools of war, which is about 2 1/2 times that of the next country, China, which spends nearly 3 times the next country.
We don’t take care of our own but we will spend over 3/4 of a trillion dollars a year instead of spending a few billion caring for our own. We have the highest cost of healthcare in the world by a large margin and we can’t even provide for all of the people who live here. We don’t normally cover the cost of vision and hearing needs of people with anything less than the highest levels of that already high cost because that would for some asinine reason go to far to make their lives better.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
Your first mistake.
Assuming that Kevin McCarthy is/might be capable of actual thought.
He’s not, he responds, not thinks. Whomever is holding the other end of the leash around his neck is. He is the dog that constantly tips the kitchen trash can all over the floor and eats the empty egg carton, leaving every thing else. IOW he constantly makes a mess with no benefit for anyone, including himself.
And now a pied commenter.
@Chris: Well done.
My concern is not that we left — or that we left quickly — or even that the Afghan army has turned out to be a complete fantasy. I just want Biden to safely get out all the Americans and as many of the interpreters as possible. THAT issue is what will be hung around his neck. Nothing else will matter since if I suspected for years that the Afghans were not going to perform, I KNOW others with way more knowledge would have to suspect that also.
I am surprised about one thing though… That the trained Afghan army is going to leave itself and the citizens to the fate of the Taliban. To they expect that all will be calm and peaceful for them and their loved ones? I mean, do they expect the Taliban to treat them like long lost sons? Shouldn’t they be terrified for themselves and their families and fight to hold off the threat as long as possible? Now THAT I do not understand…
J R in WV
Wasn’t the “Honorable” Mr Crocker in a position that would, if he had been successful in it at all, have been able to ensure that the non-theocratic Afghans, the not-so-corrupt Afghans would win that civil war? He failed at least as badly at Biden has failed, and had considerably longer to work at the problem.
Fuck Ryan Crocker, as bad as TFG, who had four years to winkle out a win in the ‘Stans. Not 7 months. Biden is too good a person to dump on his military leadership, on his foreign affairs staff. But the continuing leadership of those parts of our government, those folks (dolts?) failed utterly.
Here’s my ranking for the guilt in this mess:
I’m not going to make any attempt to list the professionals, but recall that one senior general was arrested for sharing classified material with his illegal mistress. One senior general was Mike Flynn, pardoned by TFG for illegally representing a foreign power while National Security Advisor.
So the top brass shares plenty of the responsibility for this mess. Someone also promoted these corrupt and incompetent bastards into their high rank!
J R in WV
Chuck, we DID carpet bomb the country with $100 bills — they flew C-130s stuffed with pallets of shrink-wrapped $100 bills, hundred or thousands of them.
Now, I will admit that they didn’t drop that money from planes. They had meetings first, and then off loaded truckloads of money to the warlords and town mayors.
Same — same, tho!
J R in WV
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
She is as racist as Stephen Miller, former White House fascist in charge of hatred. Also pretty dumb. No other excuse for her behavior towards President Obama.
J R in WV
So, I guess I’m Fourthing? Religious theocracy is a sickness used to control people, and really, everyone, not just women.
One of my best hires and coworkers was a Hindu from India who fled to America because his wife was a Muslim. He firmly believed that if they had remained in India after marrying they would have been killed.
So their honeymoon was emigrating to America.
They are lovely people, very smart, kind and thoughtful. I hope they are still glad to be here…
@Layer8Problem: Pied you too.
look at a map. realize what’s BETWEEN iraq and afghanistan. remember, “real men go to tehran.”
J R in WV
Culture war, and plain old theft of billions of $$, don’t forget that!
J R in WV
After George Herbert Walker Bush’s quick and successful war to drive the Iraqi army out of Kuwait, former president G H W Bush went to Kuwait for a ceremony. During that fest Iraqi agents attempted to kill Bush.
George Walker Bush ran for president in large part to show that he was as big a cheese as his dad, even though all his successes were supplied by G H W Bush, who helped cover up the myriad failures of his failson.
So after Walker Bush ignored the warnings about the bin Laden plot to fly airliners into buildings, allowing 9/11 to take place, he had to show the world he was as successful a war-time president as his dad, Herbert Walker Bush.
Of course, he couldn’t even catch bin Laden, let alone pacify the wily Pathans, because all he could think about was the Iraqi president-dictator who had the audacity to try to kill his father.
That whole family is a walking psychological catastrophe.
You know how when the Proud Boys roll into a US city and local law enforcement, when they aren’t actually abetting the Proud Boys in their attacks on the local civilians, pretty much stands aside and lets them do their thing while joking with them and taking selfies? I suspect that this is sort of like that on a national level. I’m going to hazard a guess that the bulk of Afghan security forces may identify more culturally with the Taliban than they do many of the people they supposed to be protection, something that would only be exacerbated by not being paid for several months.
True dat. This is a tragedy for the Afghan people, but I support Biden’s decision. Now, if only politicians could use this as an object lesson and prevent other such brutal mistakes. Riiiiiiight.
@germy: No, pundits are not the only ones making the “we need to stay in Afghanistan!” argument. Unless some of my FB friends are pundits.
As you will, but that comment seemed a rather illogical conclusion on the views of American liberals. I promise I’ll give the commenter’s statements more consideration than that broad stroke regarding a large group of people’s opinions. Pieing does give one the option of looking.