the reason we’re leaving afghanistan is because of 20 years of shit like what happened today so blaming what happened today in afghanistan on us leaving is some fucking galaxy brain war pig logic
— John Cole (@Johngcole) August 27, 2021
Cable news hosts decided to flood the airwaves with the ass-covering rationizations of the people who spent twenty years in Afghanistan wasting soldiers lives and billions of aid on a policy catastrophe while lying about it relentlessly to the American people. https://t.co/RwYvJewj5f
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) August 27, 2021
Nobody is making them do this. @jaketapper just woke up and thought to himself “in this moment of peril, what America needs is for me to help Ryan Crocker lie to the public to salvage his own reputation.”
Weeks of this shit.
How many American troops died in Afghanistan during Crocker’s tour as top civilian there? For what? What did he and Petraeus achieve during their surge?
For some reason the question “why are Americans dying in Afghanistan?” was not considered an interesting or important question until someone decided to end the war.
Counterpoint: we don't, actually https://t.co/EkpjgfgGex
— Mike Black (@MikeBlack114) August 26, 2021
But instead we get nodding sagely followed by "and as always sir thank you for your time and expert commentary"
— Mike Black (@MikeBlack114) August 26, 2021
So he’s saying he had 2 years leading the CIA, followed by 2 years as Sec of Defense, & under his watch we couldn’t “win” the war on terrorism.
Which reminds me that Kerry said it was a mistake to think of it as a war that could be won, when it was a problem to try to contain https://t.co/BEMU91gVvN
— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) August 26, 2021
Yes, it does seem like a problem. It sure does. https://t.co/Y41ndcv8or
— Greg Greene (@ggreeneva) August 26, 2021
It’s amazing that the U.S. has gotten so many people out of Kabul so quickly. These people have been rescued from Taliban. But it hasn't been smooth, as the WH has tried to portray it.
Young Marines and soldiers manning the gates are having to decide who lives and dies.
— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) August 25, 2021
Just this morning I got a message from a Marine I served with a decade ago, who has been desperately trying to get his interpreter out. This interpreter helped during our 04-05 deployment. He has SIV paperwork. There are multiple veterans working like hell to get him out.
He has been stuck at a Taliban checkpoint beyond the Abbey Gate being manned by Marines with a massive crowd of people in the way. A Marine on the ground told me flat out he will not make it in if he’s back that far.
This has been my timeline of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more than a week. There are veterans posting on TikTok as they talk to their terrified interpreters, trying to tell them anything that will help. Some haven’t slept in days. Some have had success. Many have not.
“What are they gonna do when they call them a month from now?” a Marine trying to coordinate a rescue of his interpreter told me today. “When they say my brother has been killed. My mother has been killed.”
This is moral injury happening before our eyes.
The intellectual dishonesty that we have seen in critiques of Biden's handling of the exit from Afghanistan has been spectacular.
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) August 25, 2021
That’s not to say some critiques are not warranted. They certainly are. But, some of the arguments being used are so indefensible they require us to question the critics’ motives or expertise. Here are some of the worst ones.
1. Biden owns this. (No. The authors of 20 yrs of war own this. The corrupt Afghan govt & the Afghan military who stood down own this. The Trump Admin that set the deadlines, drew down the troops, left behind the materiel & released 5000 Taliban own this.)
2. Well, at least he owns the chaos surrounding our exit. (No. There’s no way that the Taliban regaining control would not have led to chaos w/many thousands of Afghans seeking to escape the rule of a thug regime. Whenever we started airlifting folks out, it would’ve started.)
3. Well, at least he should have been better prepared for the chaos. (Ok. I’m gonna give you this one. But having said that, efforts to prepare were rebuffed. The Afghan gov’t did not want the US beginning mass evacuations for the reasons cited above.)
4. The US could have given those in jeopardy more warning. (No. We began discussing leaving seriously 12 yrs ago. Trump announced he wanted out when he ran & signed a deal w/an earlier deadline last yr. Biden ran saying he would leave. State warned people to leave in April.)
5. The US abandoned our allies. (No. Some of those allies left before we did. Others were well aware of US discussions re: departure, knew of the Trump deal. And there has been close coordination with allies throughout this evacuation process.)
6. The evacuation was bungled. (No. It started off badly. But it is still under way. It is currently one of the biggest airlifts in human history and within hours we will pass 100,000 safely flown out of Kabul. Actually, it has turned out to be a masterful logistical feat.)
7. Taliban control of Afg will make it a potential breeding ground for terror again. (There was no scenario in which they didn’t gain control. The US has many means to respond to terror threats. Despite US military presence in Afg. the Taliban steadily gained ground for years.)
8. People will be left behind. (It is wildly unrealistic to think the US could remove everyone at risk from Afg. What’s being done is above and beyond expectations. Other forms of political, diplomatic & economic pressure must be used to promote human rights in Afghanistan.)
9. We could easily have left troops there indefinitely. (No. There was a cost to that and a risk. The risk grew as the Taliban grew in strength. Trump accelerated that with the release of prisoners and his announced departure. Staying would have required a bigger investment.)
10. But we have left troops in Germany and Korea. (Not comparable. Those are allied nations facing real imminent threats from major enemies who pose a strategic risk to the United States. We have no similar on-going interest in Afghanistan.)
11. But the troops could have protected women and girls. (First, as noted, the Taliban was gaining strength for years–despite the presence of the troops. Second, troops are not the means we advance such interests anywhere else. It is not a sustainable or effective approach.)
12. But Biden says human rights are at the center of our foreign policy. (That can be true without deploying troops to confront all threats to rights. It must be. Because we’ll never do that.Are critics suggesting deployments now to Ethiopia? Myanmar? To protect women elsewhere?)
13. It’s not about getting out of Afghanistan. That’s a distraction from the issue at hand. (No. It is about getting out of Afghanistan. It is about ending a 20 yr war. It is about acknowledging a massive US foreign policy failure & shifting to new priorities. That’s the point.)
14. Biden was part of the problem, he’s known about this all along. (No. Biden has been arguing to wind this down for 12 years. His view was over-ruled by President Obama. And after 9/11 almost everyone supported going in after Al Qaeda. For good reason.)
15. But…but…it’s messy and painful. (As @stephenwertheim
has pointed out. You can’t lose a war and make it look like you’ve won. Getting out was right. Some chaos was inevitable. The airlift is a major logistical achievement.)
I wrote (again) about the "straight news" media's embrace of unabashed advocacy against the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Here's a capsule summary of my indictment of the past weeks' coverage:https://t.co/3M0ecBZjRm pic.twitter.com/raidcz5QOu
— Eric Levitz (@EricLevitz) August 25, 2021
It's a bit stunning how many elite foreign correspondents felt comfortable *overtly* editorializing against U.S. policy (though the covert editorializing is likely more consequential) https://t.co/3M0ecBZjRm pic.twitter.com/CTkL2nF4Ii
— Eric Levitz (@EricLevitz) August 25, 2021
I particularly enjoyed that disinfo trackers were reporting on these same themes being pushed by Russia/China before the US even left, but little critical thought as to why that would be/if public perception might be being manipulated.
— Monica Childers (@mcranechilders) August 25, 2021
You can try to pre-emptively dismiss claims of hawkery all you want, but the brutal truth is that these claims only make any sense if you just oppose withdrawal per se. The only way of keeping the Taliban out of power was another escalation of troops with no end in sight.
— Scott Lemieux (@LemieuxLGM) August 25, 2021
if your immediate response to the tragic death of american servicemembers is to bomb women and children to death we’ve identified the bad guy and hey it’s you
— World Famous Art Thief (@CalmSporting) August 27, 2021