Watch Jen Psaki call out Peter Doocy for "irresponsible" statement that Americans are "stranded" in Afghanistan

Originally published at: Watch Jen Psaki call out Peter Doocy for "irresponsible" statement that Americans are "stranded" in Afghanistan | Boing Boing


“Some people are saying that somewhere in America there is a demonic monster eating school children. Why has the Biden Administration chosen to tacitly support the consumption of school children by demonic monsters by not coming out and saying that you oppose demonic monsters eating school children? The silence is deafening!”


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I think this is one of those very few instances where Doocy actually has a point. Perhaps “stranded” isn’t the right way to characterize it, but it’s definitely true that it’s difficult to evacuate people that the US government wants to evacuate right now.

Getting to the airport is hard with the Taliban checkpoints and sheer number of folks that are trying to get out of the country right now, and this is not disputed.

A few days ago, they had to send a helicopter to a nearby hotel just to get folks to the airport: Inside the mission to rescue 169 Americans from a hotel outside the Kabul airport

So perhaps they aren’t “stranded”, but it’s not exactly a cakewalk to get to the evacuation point.


I don’t know. If you’re an American and you decide to stay in a war zone after
your country’s troops leave - did you strand yourself?


Stranded does seem like a completely appropriate word. Not to say that Peter Doocy isn’t otherwise complete garbage, but boingboing for whatever reason has decided to be a bizarre Jen Psaki shill over these last few months.


Presumably these people weren’t in Afghanistan as tourists. Many are journalists or are providing aid on behalf of NGOs. It’s totally clear in hindsight that this outcome was inevitable, but the country falling apart happened much faster than anyone really expected.

The guidance from a year ago was:

Do not travel to Afghanistan due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe because of critical levels of kidnappings, hostage taking, suicide bombings, widespread military combat operations, landmines, and terrorist and insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne, magnetic, or other improvised explosive devices (IEDs), suicide vests, and grenades.

The state department site from a year ago also encouraged people traveling to the area to draft a will, establish power of attorney, make sure insurance beneficiaries are properly set up, share your wishes about funeral plans with your family, and to “consider riding consulting with a professional security organization” and “where, possible, ride in armored vehicles”.

In other words, the site makes clear that traveling to Afghanistan is nothing short of a death wish. This is not a place that one visits lightly, and I don’t have any reason to blame the people who didn’t get out quickly enough for not having the foresight to do so.


I’m gonna say that this may have been what the critics call foreshadowing.


This. If you’re driving to work in your Camry and you get a flat tire, and your cell phone’s dead, you’re stranded. If you drove your Camry into the center of Death Valley at night during a monsoon and get stuck in the mud, you stranded yourself.


Saying that these people stranded themselves feels a little reductionist. Here’s an example from a representative of Doctors Without Borders from a few weeks ago:

KELLY: Yeah. And you have a team [in Lashkar Gah]. We tried to reach your team there. And they’re so busy trying to help people, trying to treat people that they said, no, you need to talk to our boss in Kabul. What are you hearing from them? What are they describing?

RIBEIRO: A horrific situation. For almost a week now, even more than a week, the fighting is going wild, if I can put it that way, all over the city. It’s daily bombings as well as the night that you cannot sleep. They are stuck in the hospital. Basically, we have something like 250 people working in the hospital for 120 patients, more or less. They cannot leave the hospital. They are rushing all over the place, trying to treat patients because, of course, as you can imagine in such a situation, a lot of patients are coming to us, even though we do imagine that not all of the patients can reach, actually, the hospitals. Yeah, the situation they are basically describing to us is daily bombing, air strikes, fighting over - across the hospital and around the hospital. In the compound of the hospital, we do face stray bullets flying all over.

Are we really going to blame people who were in the country to help people out and continued helping people out, despite the situation worsening?

I don’t really have any sympathy for people to get themselves in really dumb situations for really dumb reasons, but that doesn’t entirely seem to be the case here.

Maybe this was all inevitable, but I have a hard time judging these people for doing what they were doing.


I’m not going to blame them for anything. But they are doing exactly what they signed up to do. The moment you leave the boat launch at Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon, you’re committed to a multi-day float. There’s no “did I lock my car?” “Did I leave the toaster on?”

Likewise, these folks committed to doing this work. I admire them for it. To say they are “stranded” diminishes what they are doing, and their courage and commitment for doing it.


Is it blaming to say you have some responsibility for your choice to stay in a war zone after your government leaves?

No one is saying that they shouldn’t have assistance to leave. But it’s also true that they’re putting everyone else who has to go in there, secure the areas, get them out and fly them home at risk. And an entire country’s foreign policy and possible involvement in a new war.


I think that’s fair. The meta question is whether or not these people now want to leave given that conditions have deteriorated even further and if the government should make that easier for them. I’m glad that this indefinite war is finally ending, but it sure is messy to wind down.


I’d imagine that it’s highly fact-dependent, and likely that there are some where the decision was effectively made for them, and others that knowingly shouldered the risk.


And as Psaki pointed out, Doocy’s comment is irresponsible in that it makes conditions worse there, not better.


Well sure. I’d wager that the majority weren’t from dr’s without borders. Surely there’s a few Third Men in there too.


That’s for sure!
Mr.Linkey and I were talking this weekend wondering if/when we will see some repercussions of the faulty military intelligence that said it would take months (vs. one week!) for the Taliban to re-take the country…


The deadline for US troops leaving is the 31st of this month (though they’re at least talking about extending it, now). Everyone was rather taken off guard by the Taliban taking over even before that happened. Americans leaving now are fleeing well before they (reasonably, given the public information) expected they would have to. It is a shit-show, even if it’s not of Biden’s making.


This sounds very similar to arguments used in the early days post Katrina that the people who “chose” to stay in New Orleans “deserved” their fate.