Maybe it was always destined to be a clusterfuck. But at least at the beginning the Biden administration kept trying to assure everyone that things were going well. They weren’t. So if nothing else I would have like to see it handled with more frankness and honesty.
From what I’ve read, the last year or two have been advisors (including us) telling the Kabul government that it’s time to cede territory carefully, taking supplies as they go. But they refused each time, to not show weakness, until they had to cut and run, showing weakness and leaving stuff behind.
How would the Administration know otherwise given what the military and intelligence communities were reporting?
I indulged in a bit of hyperbole regarding both percentages and geography to make the point that the Washington DC establishment – not just the elected officials sent there but the lobbyists, the defense contractors, the corporate media, the diplomatic and national-security bureaucrats, the military, the big law and accounting firm partners, etc. – kept this sh*tshow going for a generation.
A variety of factors drove them to promote the lie that the occupation made sense, while educated people outside that power establishment who weren’t willfully ignorant or PNAC fantasists or looking to profit off it or trying to preserve or advance their careers or institutions have known this was a bad idea that would end in disaster and cost this country dearly in blood and treasure since at least 2003 (that’s before we get the civilian casualties in Afghanistan).
Heck, some of the (figurative) Beltway types are still pretending (mostly, but not all, for partisan political reasons) that this was a winnable conflict, just as they pretended that the powers behind both 9/11 and the Taliban (the Saudis and Pakistan, respectively) were and continue to be our valued allies. Meanwhile, some on the Dem side are now creatively covering their sorry arses by claiming and retconning that this was never a nation-building project, after spending about half of those 20+ years indulging in the idea that it was exactly that.
Go outside the (again, figurative) Beltway and the people in that poll’s 22% tend to be the veterans who were sent there and the families and friends of soldiers who left all or part of their bodies behind, desperate to believe that it wasn’t all in vain (which, I’m sorry, it was).
The time to stop making excuses for these bipartisan screw-ups and their busted narratives, whether it’s about Afghanistan or Iraq or neoliberalism or austerity or policing or the Saudis or bloody comity with the GOP, is now. Or perhaps years ago, since enough people have caught on that violent populism (especially from the right wing) is now on the rise in the absence of any perceived choice between the establishment wings of both parties on economic and military matters.
Damn, looking through all that garbage made my soul ache. What a bunch of assholes.
Thank god I don’t have twitter.
Lindsey Graham: “…honor…”
I think this supports the idea of it as a clusterfuck rather than counters it. If we had shown the same urgency a month earlier a lot more people would be out.
The number would have been the same, but if we had started mass evacuation and visa processing some time near Biden’s inauguration rather than after major troop withdrawals it would have gone smoother. SIV applicants were stuck waiting for years. Sure Trump gutted the program, but Biden has been in office for almost the legal maximum amount of time to process such visas. If they started processing them when he came into office, it still should have been done. Biden knew we were on our way out one way or the other because Trump made the deal he made. There was a ticking clock to get people out and we didn’t act like it.
Biden, even though dealing with COVID and putting out the various dumpster fires the Former Guy’s arsonists had left behind during his first months in office, could have definitely gotten more people out before the withdrawal window closed. Not as many as his cynical GOP opponents (who set the stage for and continually made the situation worse over the preceding decades) claim he could have gotten out, but definitely more than he did. The terms “Afghanistan” and “smoothly, efficiently, and orderly” seldom go together historically, especially when you throw the 21st century U.S. into the mix.
I get it. But weren’t many of those folks part of the Afghan government that was supposed to stay propped up for months? Not their fault it didn’t, but my understanding is that Plan A was for most to stay in place for quite a bit longer.
Plan A didn’t have a snowball’s chance in the Registan Desert, not that I put the blame for that on Biden.
Some of the people at the end were, but a lot of them were translators and people with similar positions whose visa applications and requests for removal had been left hanging for years. https://refugeerights.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Processing-Delays-in-the-SIV-Program-Summary.pdf Bringing in people who risked their lives to further the US mission has never been seen as worth burning the political capital needed to facilitate their safety.
Good to know. Thanks!
If the military and intelligence communities were really painting a rosy picture of Afghanistan for the Biden administration then he should be taking immediate, decisive action to replace whoever was making those assessments with someone more competent.
Alternately, they were competent, but had agendas of their own.
In which case perhaps ‘replacement’ is not the highest priority?
On the contrary, if they deliberately misled the President about the state of affairs in Afghanistan then he needs to get rid of them yesterday.
Either way the responsibility ultimately rests with the commander-in-chief.
Funny how, on one hand Faux News has 24/7 complaints about how we’re abandoning the Afghans, and how their hearts bleed for the sad future the people there face, and then when they bring on their next “guest”, they are suddenly complaining about how dare Biden allow any of those refugees to come here. Biden is just inviting terrorists into the US, because every one of the refugees is a terrorist after all. Meanwhile, 2 years ago they were insisting we should be bombing Afghanistan (and all it’s people) back into the stone-age. It’s amazing how their sympathy is so selective (and fake)
I was thinking of leaving them in place (but not trusted) while investigating just how far the rot goes. Then either booting them or prosecuting them.
Maybe people from former colonial nations have a different (Better? dunno. different.) look on this. Because this looks a lot like almost any other decolonisation process. (And to note, there were for example also UK and Dutch troops involved…)
You started with a very complicated situation where our armies were doing nothing really good at huge cost. Don’t close your eyes to the simple fact that western forces killed and suppressed a lot innocent Afghan people there with little legal or moral right to do so.
Going out really solved nothing, but staying there would have solved nothing either. That is a very hard to thing to have to accept but here we are.
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