Biden Deserves Credit, Not Blame, for Afghanistan
By - Progka
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There was a tweet I saw recently about how capitalism is like Jenga: everyone contributes to the instability, but the last person is the one who takes all the blame for the collapse. I thought that was a pretty apt discussion for Afghanistan. This was decades in the making, so it's ridiculous to blame Biden for what happened/what's happening.
Also, call me old-fashioned, but I was raised to blame suicide bombers for the deaths of their victims, not people from an opposing political party who had nothing to do with it just so you can score some political points.
I’m a marine who served with this unit and deployed twice with SPMAGTF-CR. My wife commented on my stance saying I was the only Marine from my unit that she knows not complaining about President Joe Biden. I am deeply upset about losing brothers and sisters, but this response is exactly how I feel and why I’m not angry, just sad 🥺😭
Edit fixed typos
Yes at some point our previous strategies only really become valid if we decide we do not care at all about human life and try to conquer the world.
It'd be awful and I don't think it would work but it's the only thing that would make sense for some of the things we decide to do.
Like you said it takes a democrat. Biden would be attacked for staying, for getting out of Trumps "deal", for rescuing afghans, for not rescuing afghans for literally any decision or non decision he could possibly make it's "IMPEACH HIM" from the start line.
Of course from Dick Cheney's Halliburton position it was a very effective strategy indeed!
I would almost say our involvement in the Middle East goes all the way back to the overthrow of the democratically elected gov't in Iran in 1953 and the installation of the Shah. The US actions and subsequent support of the Shah led to resentment and eventually blowback from the overthrow in the 70s.
The saddest thing about 1953 is that it wasn't really the US that overthrew him. It was the British. The US involvement was negligible but the newly formed, what was to become the CIA, was more than happy to take credit, and the Brits, laughing behind their backs, were more than happy to let them.
> even though ultimately the creation of BOTH entities really goes back to Ragan.
Carter actually and then Reagan made it worse. It was our institutional policy -- the president/administration didn't even matter.
More importantly, Pakistan's role in destabilizing and dominating Afghanistan like this cannot be understated. Read "The Wrong Enemy" by Carlotta Gall.
There's a reason why "#SanctionPakistan" is trending on Twitter.
Pakistan took our money and killed our troops. Pakistan has been trying to colonize Afghanistan since 1973. Pakistan invaded Afghanistan and captured it via their proxies called the Taliban.
Pakistan is also responsible for most of the nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
The real 9/11 bad guys.
China, Pakistan, and N. Korea form a geographic continuum of nuclear proliferating states. They're the real Axis of Evil.
That evil witch Benazir Bhutto literally gave a CD filled with nuclear secrets to N. Korea.
Pakistan hid Osama
The US and Pakistan have had a symbiotic relationship of directing their populist nationalist animus upon one another for years. "There always needs to be an enemy" is the underlying theory behind it.
I'm well aware of the role of Pakistan don't be incredulous I spent two years of my life on their border🤔
I was told my a Saudi friend that killing Hussein was the worst thing we could have done. He was a lunatic, but he kept all the other lunatics in line. I didn’t know what he meant until about 10 years after Hussein was killed. Now there are factions left and right with the power vacuum over there.
As a 1st gulf war vet, I said the same thing, he’s an asshole and murderer, but he’s keeping worse murders at bay with his craziness. We had control of his skies, he couldn’t do shit without us on top of him. I was screaming at the TV when we invaded
Sadam killed somewhere between 100,000 and 180,000 Iraq civilians. *intentionally*
Of the 31 nations that invaded Iraq we killed between 180,000 and 200,000 Iraq civilians. *collateral damage of fighting active insurrections*
All we can really say for sure is that the people of Iraq have suffered greatly for the last 30-40 years.
The bigger problem is that Americans role in and create massive power vacuums that result in even more widespread terror and instability and somehow haven’t learned from that. The same shit with the war on Drugs
That's because it is very clearly by design
>Of the 31 nations that invaded Iraq we killed between 180,000 and 200,000 Iraq civilians. collateral damage of fighting active insurrections
That's seems to be a total count that includes civilians killed by insurgents, terrorists, militias etc
If you mess with the graph you can contrast the number of civilians killed by US/Coalition forces and other actors.
Of course none of that excuses the atrocities committed against innocent Iraqi civilians. Coalition forces were killing a civilian for every 2 insurgents or something like that. just an insane figure
Ironically this is what Dick Cheney said in the mid-1990s, that if we took out Hussein we would unleash a nest of vipers. Once he became Vice-President (post Haliburton) he changed his tune considerably.
The podcast “Breaking Points with Krystal and Saager” have recently made similar points to the above three comments.
It is terrible about the passing about the recent deaths, but the war being this long… And the media frenzy over it…. Their episode from today discusses the lack of accountability for people who got us into the war, like John Bolton. This guy was in President Bush Jr.’s cabinet, promoted the wars; he should be GRILLED by the news over a quagmire he promoted!
But now?! He’s an analyst in cable news! He’s spouting nonsense, and a lack of accountability, in addition to the playing of “culture war games” (another topic for another time!) is what is driving a deep wedge between one another and each other.
I hate that. # JengaSucks
Idiot Boxes have a way to connect with idiots. But idiots vote too.
I’ve said from the beginning this is a no win for him.
He doesn’t pull out then he’s doing the wrong thing. If he pulls out before the Afghans are ready then he is wrong again. Wait for them to be ready? Waited to long to pull out.
As sad as it sounds this is his best case scenario. He tried to pull out and they weren’t ready thus justifying him sending troops back in and totally eliminating the taliban.
Many people said that he is right to withdraw but poor in the withdrawal execution. More specifically, they said that he should have evacuated earlier.
I think people who argued these ignored the facts that he couldn't execute rapid and massive evacuation ahead of time.
US had only about 3000 troops in Afghanistan. How can this few troops help evacuating tens of thousand of people scattering across the whole country without emptying their bases and ensuring their safety? This meant that US actually would need to send in more troops to Afghanistan to ensure that both themselves and the evacuees would be safe.
Next, how would the US make sure that the evacuees would go to the designated places for evacuations? US would need to tell the whole world that the Afghan government was going to collapse and Taliban was going to take over immediately. It would be like an evacuation for a category 5 hurricane. With this measure, if the Afghan government collapsed, as they did in reality, people would blame the Biden administration of undermining the confidence. If the Afghan government didn't collapse, the Biden administration would be blame for not focusing on domestic issues. In addition, the evaluation would be like a massive refugee program. Biden administration would likely be criticized as much as they were at the southern border, if not more. The public would likely not perceive this action well without any obvious crisis. It is also possible to have many people hesitate to leave, just like many people don't leave with category 5 hurricane coming until it is too late.
There was no enough time to resettle the Afghan allies via normal or expedite process either. With 100,000+ people, and with the destruction of the state department by Trump administration, it would be impossible to handle this in 6 months. Anyone who go through immigration process would understand the backlogs and know how time-consuming it is. The only hope to more or less complete this process would be for Trump administration to start it when they made a withdrawal agreement with Taliban in 2020.
In summary, normal and pain-free process is impossible. To evacuate this many people in short notice and short time-frame, it has to be an emergency situation and it has to be executed competently.
I think what we are seeing is the best possible outcome given the situation.
Actually Trump admin would've had to speed up the process from day 1 2017 since that was literally when he started working to get us out (bc he campaigned on it) instead of letting his xenophobic lap dog Stephen Miller gut every agency involved with the processes taking the from normal speed to almost full stop by Dec 2019.
A hastened early withdrawal would only have hastened the collapse of the Afghan government. If the US government is openly telegraphing that they have no faith that the current government will last long enough to make it to the deadline, then the people in that army have no reason to stand and fight *at all*. There's no pride in dying for a cause you know is going to lose, especially with the brutality often shown by Taliban to their enemies and their families
He is the first to have the balls to not kick the can down the road. He also stood up and said I will take the blame, that’s leadership. Other presidents either kicked the can or just blamed everyone but themselves for everything.
Its also fascinating to see people blame the Taliban instead of ISIS for this attack, especially when the Taliban lost people as well. I'm not defending the Taliban or their ideology, but they have no motivation to attack US soldiers since it would violate the agreement for withdraw and restart our occupation. They want to see us gone as quickly as possible.
Right now what I hate the most about this whole discource is the 20/20 hindsight everyone has. *Nobody* expected the regime to collapse in three days no matter how cynical a view they had on the conflict. And conflicts are by their nature violent events with random surprises. Biden is in a difficult situation and sure as hell has dealt with it better than Trump or even Obama ever did.
If the situation was that tenuous, collapse was going to happen to whoever tried to make the exit. I feel like we have been lied to about the situation for too long. Congress has failed in its oversight of the military and the fourth estate has failed in its check on our government. Instead we got flag lapel pins and uncritical support the troops pageantry while American lives and wealth were being squandered. Everyone should be mad, but not limited to just Biden. Every politician for the last 20 years is culpable.
So true and the next time "Limpsey" Graham goes on meet the press to drool over himslef the people of Souith Carlonia should hold him accountable. I will set my alarm for never going to happen. WTF is this BS timeline.
Biden is the first president to speak the truth and he's being punished for it. We Americans don't want the truth and can't handle the truth. All we want is someone to tell us silly stories.
What we are seeing is a huge number of Americans losing their minds because they can't handle the idea that America just lost another war.
Not quite. Theyre losing their minds because they finally feel justified in placing 20 years of failure at the feet of their current favorite public enemy.
Indoctrination is one hell of a drug.
My dad and I had a vicious argument about the war on terror back when Bush was president: he was for the Iraq invasion and I was against, because I didn't believe there were WMDs and thought that we were fighting the wrong enemy.
Flash forward 20 years and he blames Biden for the whole thing. Fox News said it, so that's what he believes.
(That being said, I think the sudden collapse should have been easy enough to predict and that the current administration bears some responsibility for being too optimistic.)
When 9/11 happened, I was for it. But as I got older and grew more interested in politics and history I departed from that stance.
If we arent in immenent large-scale danger, then I dont see a need to go to war. War is too nightmarish to engage frivolously. Friction and conflict are inevitable, but we need to carefully choose which hills are worth literally dying on. Unfortunately every modern media outlet gets a hard on anytime we look at a hill and tries to urge us onward.
A lot of people did. Everyone who walked through Helmand (really walked though, not some bullshit dog and pony) knew this would happen.
The problem is that none of us have/had the ear of the President or his administration. Nobody asked Lance Corporal Joe Schmuckatelli how the ANA REALLY is. They listened to General Fuckstick, who has a political incentive to fucking lie or be willfully blind to the reality.
The tragedy here is that, in my opinion, Biden made the best call given the information he was certainly being fed by the supposed trusted sources whose job it was to know about the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.
If everyone around you with stars on their shoulders are saying, “The ANA will prevail, and if they don’t, it will be a long hard fight before they lose,” then why would you keep troops there? Why would you evacuate critical civilian personnel who would be instrumental in the longevity of the standing Afghan government? Why would you retain control of an airbase you essentially have no use for when there’s an airport in the city you care about?
You wouldn’t. You would listen to those stars telling you that everything is dandy and you would pull the troops out, because them being there is superfluous, expensive, and dangerous.
All of this demands the stars tell the truth.
Any PFC, Lance Corporal, Corporal, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, or 2/1LT who stepped foot in Helmand would have told you they’re fucking lying.
- Friendly neighborhood 0311 who took a detour through Sangin 10 years ago
Yeah, the utter collapse of the ANA should lead us to ask some hard questions of the generals and pentagon officials who lied for the last 20 years about how great things were going in Afghanistan. We were there for 20 years and in the end it seems we degraded the combat ability of non-taliban forces and strengthened the Taliban.
My understanding (and I'm admittedly Monday afternoon quarterbacking) is that one of the many, many problems is that we were propping up an army that was designed to be a junior version of the US military, and one that would be utterly beholden to US air support.
It's like building a bike out of spare parts from a bunch of old, broken bikes, giving it to your kid who never wanted a bike to begin with and can't ride, and no matter how far you pushed him down the road you'd never get to the point where you were able to take off the training wheels.
Oh, and the bike cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
There is some truth to that. The bones we built the army on were broken and if we had taken a different approach we may have created a larger scale effective fighting force. The commandos by all accounts were highly effective with or without air support and like all the afghan army were crippled by corruption in the supply chain.
But fundamentally we did not create a national army that cared deeply about the idea of maintaining an Afghanistan as a unified vision. And I can't blame people for not dying to preserve a system where the president literally stole all he could get his hands on and fled the country without making any effort to rally a defense.
Exactly what I hoped to see in the comments.
If everyone from from the privates to the captains could see the truth, then the generals surely had to know as well.
In that case, they were knowingly dishonest to the president, Secretary of Defense, etc.
They broke a number of laws.
They should face charges.
Either they are liars or incompetent. There is no other explanation for how the official line can deviate so far from reality. I think it's the former because we have incentivized a system where those at the top give fake data and reports to advance their careers. Unless we change that calculus and incentivize truth telling we will just have the same thing happen again.
And the reaction to Biden's courageous choice to end the war in Afghanistan indicates to me nothing will change. One would think the fact that the foreign policy establishment has failed catastrophically again and again would prompt some introspection.
We sold them a lot of weapons. A lot.
(Like you, I also see this as a failure from the Pentagon. Biden (or any President) can only work with what the military tells him. It's not like they ever go make their own evaluations, which wouldn't be meaningful anyway.)
The institutions we have failed. Unless we want them to do so in the future we need to reform them.
I have personal experience with this. Back in 2000 I had a job as a civilian contractor with the pentagon. Specifically I worked on a project that looked at why basically every pentagon acquisition failed if you evaluated it based on initial program design. There are of course lots of reasons, but one of them is that there is a massive disincentive to report bad news up the chain. Everything needs to be awesome and great or you're not the kind of go getter that gets promoted. Anyone that says 'well we tried what we were ordered to do and it was a total cluster fuck, we need to try something else' is not going to last long.
We failed for 20 years in Afghanistan. Leaving and the Taliban taking over isn't the worst failure. Learning nothing from this so we just do it again in 20 years will be.
> There are of course lots of reasons, but one of them is that there is a massive disincentive to report bad news up the chain. Everything needs to be awesome and great or you're not the kind of go getter that gets promoted. Anyone that says 'well we tried what we were ordered to do and it was a total cluster fuck, we need to try something else' is not going to last long.
Wow. Back in my suit-and-tie days, I worked for a few private (non-defense) firms that had exactly that problem. They were so convinced that everything they did was correct ("because that's how we do it") that anyone trying to actually improve things was shunted to the side as a matter of corporate culture. Considering what I was doing was toward helping them learn to innovate, it was generally a pretty big obstacle.
It's "neat" that the Pentagon would have the same issue.
> Learning nothing from this so we just do it again in 20 years will be.
That's optimistic. I think the over/under is somewhere around 5-8 years.
The craziest thing was how members of a different branch would come in and could immediately identify all the key failure points of the project and suggest actual fixes. Because their promotion wasn't contingent on delivering a success so they were free to criticize and would write accurate scathing reports. But if you made it a joint acquisitions project then immediately those outside voices would toe the line. As now their careers would be at stake. Anyways it was a fun little stint with government work.
And no need to depress me. I'd like to think we could avoid another massive military engagement for at least a decade.
I was a POG that did 1 tour in Iraq. When my Dad asked me about my opinion on the withdrawl, I told him that if the ANA was anything like the ING then we shouldn't be surprised it fell so quickly. When he asked for more info on that, I reminded him that 30,000 Iraqi troops ran away from an ISIS force of 800 in Mosul in 2014.
Yeah this “nobody could have seen this coming” narrative has been a bunch of BS. Literally anyone who’s interacted with ANA in any capacity was saying they were gonna fold hard and fast.
Also, and this is me being speculative, how much you wanna bet that “3-5 months for the ANA to fold” intel report was on it’s like 200th draft? No career bureaucrat is gonna want to be the bearer of bad news to POTUS, it probably got the “make this more optimistic” treatment a shit load of times before it ever hit the desk, this leading to an intel report that was wildly out of touch with reality.
As soon as i heard that Biden was planning to pull us out I thought 1 of 2 things:
1. Hes going to either change his mind
2. If he does go through with it, it will most likely turn out badly
Honestly, im very surprised we only lost 13 soldiers. It really sucks but given the situation it could have been soo many more.
My thoughts exactly. We've lost exponentially more servicemembers' lives in operations that were far more morally dubious.
We should always mourn the loss of the 13 Americans who died but in macro terms of a humanitarian mission in an extremely volatile environment, this has been a rousing success.
I would add that it seems to primarily be the people who have been utterly fucking up in Afghanistan for the last 20 years who are doing the most criticizing. John Bolton and Paul Bremer of all people have crawled out of their holes to make up some BS how everything was perfect until Biden screwed it all up.
The real question is, how was our intelligence so bad that we didn't know the Taliban had made agreements with tribal leaders and the Afghan government. We were there for 20 years and apparently didn't know shit.
The answer is our military leadership had their heads in the sand for two decades and lied about progress and corruption.
> the 20/20 hindsight everyone has.
Before the 2020 election I saw a poll where like ~90% of all voters wanted the US out of Afghanistan. Including Republicans, who even argued that voting for Biden would just mean continuing that war forever.
Now they're all developing really specific amnesia.
Being prior military, I get so f-cking angry when I hear republicans make statements like "the military is on their side".
"The military" was one of the most diverse groups of people I've ever had the pleasure of living and serving beside.
Despite the image people in elite positions like to portray, most people are signing up not out of "duty to country" or whatever propaganda, it's bc our economic system trapped them and they need a way out of that trap so they don't fall thru the cracks.
You're gonna have folks from all over the ideological spectrum in the military. Some understand multi-stage cause & effect, have good critical thinking skills, are compassionate... And then others are shitheads. Just like real life.
My “boyfriend” (a conservative gay 24 year old, I put that in quotations cause we are on shaky ground right now) is all of a sudden very concerned about his nephew in Afghanistan. He says that he wishes he was home now because of the “new threat” of suicide bombers, brought on by “Biden’s decision to surrender”. I do love him, but I honestly don’t know how much longer I can tolerate the bullshit that comes out of his mouth. “New threat” of suicide bombers? Biden’s decision to *surrender*? I mean come on.
I feel you brother, when I deployed I was attached to TF 51/5. I can only imagine where the finger pointing at the plane is going towards since that task force is primarily in charge of crisis response. A lot of my brothers and sisters are just blaming everything on buying it when they know exactly how things really. To pin everything on one man is crazy. They're blaming him because the Taliban has our gear that we left behind when they know all that gear was given to the Afghan government that literally laid down their arms instead of fighting for their country. They blamed him for pulling out in the first place when they forget that the prior administration started pulling them out since last year. I know our first emotion is to place blame and be angry, but let's not let our anger and grief get weaponized by people we're going to politicize the death of our brothers and sisters cuz it's already happening
Also a marine. The faux outrage over 13 marines lost sickens me because its always followed by a biden comment. Weve lost thousands and im just now seeing you all care? Dead marines are not a politcal prop.
Its been a rough couple of weeks.
It has been brother. I don’t want our brothers and sisters used as a political piece. Stay strong and steadfast.
They died doing their duty so others may live. If given a choice on how we leave this world I can't think of a better reason to go.
Thousands of people will be in their debt for decades.
I have a theory that I would like people who have been to Afghanistan to confirm or say I'm an idiot.
Here are my assumptions, Afghanistan is primarily a tribal country governed by tribal leaders. They may have been part of the government but they are foremost loyal to tribe. The Taliban are primarily made up of Pasthuns.
So once Trump began negotiations with the Taliban, he undermined the Government. The Taliban first approached sympathetic tribal leaders and convinced them not to fight. They then approached neutral leaders and told them surrender or die. With each surrender agreement their position grew stronger. They could then go on the threaten antagonistic tribal leaders especially the weaker ones. That would leave their staunchest opponents that they could deal with in their own time. Kabul would then become their primary focus. When you couple that with a corrupt government and military leadership, and soldiers that were only in it for the paycheck, it was inevitable that a lot of the country would be under Taliban control in a very short time. I'd guess that most of the best soldiers either work for tribal leaders, are members of the Taliban, or belong to one of the groups like ISK or the Northern Alliance. I think what caught people off guard was how quickly the antagonistic tribal areas fell particularly Kabul. I think even the Taliban were taken a bit by surprise. They now can fight it out with the hold-out areas.
It just makes sense to me as a strategy.
I believe you have hit the nail on the head. They had a saying, brothers will right brothers, but the moment another person tries to fight their brother, the whole tribe comes together to fight of that person. Then they’ll go back to fighting themselves. They are mostly tribal people with the tribal mindset. They don’t care who the government is, they just care that their sons aren’t killed and their family eats. Whoever provides that is the government.
If on Christmas day 2021, there are no more American soldiers in harms way in Afghanistan, I think that's as much of a win as we're ever gonna get out of that mess.
I wish we'd done it sooner.
Sadly, the media doesn't care about your thoughts. They just want to hear from the people angry about our withdrawal.
i didn't know how biden was supposed to 'stop' suicide bombers in an area packed with civilians
You hit it right on the head I think.
In a much less important front, I make this point when the kicker misses the field goal in the fourth quarter and people want to replace him. Where was the rest of the team the other 59 minutes and 40 seconds; why is it the kickers fault the game was lost.
Like wise for Biden, he extended the deadline 3 months, I haven't seen anyone talking about why there were so many people that needed to get out at the 11th hour,
the sword cuts both ways. We've been talking about slow rolling visas for our Afghan translators and operators for years. Trump signed an agreement and yet everyone still dragged their feet, the state dept and DOD and the Afghan's likely not believing we'd ever leave. All of sudden this is Biden's fault that there are thousands that need to get out at the last minute, let's be clear eyed about this. Biden was given a pail of shit and decided to not carry it and somehow he gets the blame instead of the presidents, congress people and political appointees who all had a hand in this.
Trump’s people, like Stephen Miller, were actively working against bringing Afghans to the US.
They’re currently actively working against bringing Afghanis to the US.
While also being on every news channel complaining that Biden isn't going to "save everyone". Well duh.
Yes, I had that in my original sentence and edited it out for clarity. But YES.
This is the crux of it all. We could have just abandoned them all but we didnt. Those marines died protecting the retreat. its our job to fight and die if need be for an objective. Marines should be proud of their sacrafice for the people of afghanistan and biden should be praised for doing the hard thing and hanging out to finish the job.
It’s a shame because they’re super friendly they just shed everywhere
Take my upvote and GTFO
>He's falling on his sword so much it's going to fuck him in 2024
I don't think so. Honestly the media likes to play this stuff up but it's not really representative of people's views. I keep hearing on NPR the interviewer basically leading guests to say it's a disaster but our allies are more with us than ever. In 2024 people are going to be thankful the war is over and the country is better than it's been in a long time
Is Afghanistan really going to hurt Biden in 2024? I don't think anyone will care by then. Next year will be telling because you know Republicans will bring it up every chance they get, but if we are being realistic there will be zero news coverage of Afghanistan a month from now. The American electorate has a notoriously short memory so which voters are going to care about Afghanistan in a year, let alone 2024? It's an unpopular war that hasn't been top of mind since we invaded Iraq. A year from now when Republicans bring it up Biden can say "Yeah, but we're out of Afghanistan now. Are you saying we should go back?"
Afghanistan will be out of the news by the end of this week. The media has already largely moved onto Hurricane Ida.
The media could start running 'remember when everything was perfect in Afghanistan for 20 years the Biden turned it into a cluster fuck?' videos 24/7 in the run up to 2024 but short of that this will have no impact. No one remembered that Trump proudly shutdown the government when Republicans controlled everything. Voters just do not have that long of time horizons. Most studies find that at best voters think about the three months prior when voting. There is no way this impacts his electoral chances.
If the Republicans take back the house, they will hammer on it like they did Benghazi. They are experts on messaging Bullshit.
There was a class of American students and parents that was (is?) stuck in Afghanistan because they decided to go *on a field trip there*.
Edit: apparently it was a group of students from unrelated schools whose parents took them there to visit relatives. Still idiocy considering the current state of affairs. Everyone had a pretty good guess what was going to happen when the US left.
More edit: and apparently they were refugees. Isn't one of the defining characteristics of being a refugee that you fled for your life and are afraid to go back? I can understand missing family but how can you claim to be a refugee if you feel you can go back and visit family where you fled? And even bring *children*?
I am surprised that story is not talked about more. You go to a war zone that has been unstable for centuries, then require resources and manpower, prioritized, that could of been used for true victims that had no choice.
Not quite. I'd encourage to read articles about the situation from a reliable news source a little more carefully.
1. It wasn't hippy dippy clueless white students or thoughtless teachers organizing a "fun" trip to Afghanistan for no reason (as is often portrayed). It was six families returning to Afghanistan to visit blood relatives during summer break with their children.
2. The only reason the school and student status is mentioned is because they are all part of the same refugee community that relocated to the same place in the states. All of their children go to the same school. They reached out to the school for help.
3. Refugees often do return to their home country for visits. It's human to want to see the people you love, even if the political situation is shit. Up until a couple weeks ago, no one was anticipating that the Taliban would simply walk through a supposedly 300,000 strong security force/military in days.
4. They had tickets to leave when the situation started to deteriorating, but could not get to the airport or out due to the speed that Kabul fell.
My friend got his parents out of Venezuela as soon as he could because it was obviously continuing to worsen. The Taliban had been taking territory for years ahead of this withdrawal. Perhaps it's just humans in they wait till the fire is at the door, the streets are flooded from the hurricane, the terrorists are in the governor's office before they'll believe it
I'm not a sycophant Biden was not my first choice but this is not the thing that would turn my vote away from Biden. The children in cage issue still pisses me off.
I just like getting them to define "American" to me. Then I ask what innately makes being "American" more important in context. Like, why is there more value/protection to the life of the guy working the counter at O'Reilly just because his dad raw dogged his mom instead of some Mexican hooker?
As I'm sure you can imagine, these "close the border" nationalist chuckledicks simply don't have an answer for that one.
Why do you think congress has slowly been giving war powers to the executive? They want war but no blame or accountability for it.
There is no scenario that would have turned out right for Republicans as long as a Democrat is in the white house just as there is no scenario that would have turned out badly for them had a Republican been in office. It amazes me how in lock step Republicans are on this. Propaganda is a hell of a thing.
The Hypocrite party didn't say a damn thing about how poorly Trump moved out of Syria and screwed our Kurdish allies.
The liar in chef before Biden helped set this up this time.
Before then it was just obstruct everything the Democrats try to do.
If it was a monopoly game, that would be a great strategy. In real life, again we make little to no progress. All because the children in congress never learned how to play with others.
Screw the party lines... Our country's founders tried very hard to prevent this type of activity from happening. We might as well paid the tea tax instead of dumping it in the harbor. We still have queens in congress commanding us and keep paying taxes without them listening to us.
Not too long ago it was pretty normal for the country to band together against terrorists.
Nah, just one party. Make no mistake if 9/11 happens to Al Gore its all blame and no unity.
If 9/11 had occurred under President Gore, the calls for his impeachment for failing to protect the country would have started on 9/12.
To add to the absurdity the thing they apparently wished he would done was keep a larger troop presence there indefinitely.
Like this is protecting soldiers? They think no soldiers would die if all the soldiers stayed in Afghanistan?
By the time trump left office, I believe there was only 2500 troops left in Afghanistan. I guess the naysayers believe we should of sent in tens of thousands of soldiers to get the 2500 out, but ultimately getting all out would come down to a handful of soldiers eventually.
Absolutely. I also like the Hot Potato analogy - it’s been 20 years in the making, but Biden was the one caught holding the Potato as the timer went off. The amount of people on social media calling for his resignation or, better yet, his impeachment, is absolutely astounding.
Give credit where credit is due, Biden was arguing to withdraw several years ago as VP. Also per your metaphor he reset the timer one final time and acted when it went off, instead of adding time just before the alarm goes off.
Also it's interesting that Reagan didn't have any of the opposing party's congressional leadership calling for his resignation and/or impeachment when a truck bomb **killed more than 200 marines** in Beruit under his watch...
It’s kind of incredible and impressive just how selective their memory and perception are, isn’t it?
Also thank you for your clarifications to my analogy!
The weird thing is this is one of the few political situations where I think the American public gets it. Yes, there are a few loud voices who are really upset, and obviously the details of the withdrawal really suck. But 20 years is a long time to have done this already, and I think most people get that we'd either have to stay forever or have this happen eventually.
They are loud because they have a narrative to sell and they're hoping that if they yell loudly enough they will convince people. They did that with Benghazi and it barely registered. They'll do it here as well.
I hated Trump as much as anyone, but even I wouldn’t have blamed him for this cluster fuck. If he had pulled us out of Afghanistan, I would have given him credit for it as pretty much his only successful action in office. This disaster has been decades in the making, if not centuries.
I guess we can thank Trump for not starting any new wars, the first president to do this for decades, people were so upset about Trump's silly tweets but seem to be fine with Bidens major fuck ups.
Capitalism is like stupid Jenga. Rich people take credit for “facilitating” every move that doesn’t topple it and workers take blame for whatever move eventually does.
"Afghanistan was a paradise until Biden showed up."
"If we just stayed another month none of this would've happened."
"We shouldn't have pulled out until the entire country has stabilized."
"Hi, I spent the past 20 years bitching about American imperialism and endless war, SEND GROUND TROOPS BACK INTO AFGHANISTAN"
"He was honoring the conditions of the previous administration's surrender" really pissed off some of my coworkers (edit and rustled the jimmies of redditor military strategists as well)
Actually, he wasn't entirely. He delayed the pull-out by several more months (September instead of originally-planned May of this year) to give more time for the transition.
Still didn't work.
And looking at the original agreement, it had holes you could drive an entire Taliban army through while "negotiating" with the Afghan government, with no actual repercussions specified. As long as the Taliban could say they were technically "negotiating" and didn't shoot at American or allied forces or allow anyone else in areas they controlled to shoot at them, they could do anything they wanted. Which the Taliban proceeded to do.
It basically gave the country away. Oh, and released several thousand prisoners too. What could go wrong?
I half wonder what the hell the Trump administration would have done if they had remained in power for another term and pulled out in May as planned.
It was handled badly, but the foundation for it was already thoroughly messed up.
We know exactly what trump would’ve done. He would’ve pulled out by may, patted himself on the back, would’ve told afghan refugees and civilians to go fuck themselves, and everyone would’ve forgetten after a week about any of it.
They would have forgotten within a week because T would have already done 2 other atrocities and 3 controversial Tweets so the bad news of Afghanistan would be buried in other bad news.
That really was his MO for the first three years… starting with the travel ban bumping his “alternative facts” about his inauguration crowd size out of the headlines, and on and on with every firing and executive order and blatant scandal after another. Until 2020, that is, when a global pandemic hit us that didn’t care about the 24h cable news cycle…
All the warhawk republicans immediately forgot all the Kurds we left to die because Putin asked for our Syria bases and the traitor gave them to him.
Trump literally said he had no exit plan because he “didn’t need one”.
It would have been far worse.
God damn it, I fall for that every time!
Its either that or rip up the deal entirely, cry publicly, and send more troops and expand the war. Its a tossup which he would have done.
Trump would never have pulled out entirely, because a mess was inevitable and that would open him to criticism. Similarly, he never showed any leadership regarding covid and instead passed responsibility to the states, because otherwise he'd have had to own any failure.
Trump's entire presidency was about kicking cans down the road and avoiding anything of substance, policy-wise. It's no accident that he did nothing that he campaigned on.
>I half wonder what the hell the Trump administration would have done if they had remained in power for another term and pulled out in May as planned.
Either he would chicken out (we learned that there wasn't a real plan) and blame someone else why it didn't happen, or he would only pull just the soldiers (like in Syria). The problem becomes simpler, when you don't have to worry about civilians.
"He didn't have to" is what they say.
That, or "but they weren't honoring the deal that nobody expected them to honor!"
We talking about Bush and how he didn’t want to negotiate with the Taliban? When they said they’d give up Bin Laden, but only if the US provided evidence that Bin Laden was behind 9/11, but Bush refused and started bombing them? Cause that administration is really what fucked us all here.
Or when in December 2001 Bush had bin laden pinned 14,000 feet up on a mountainside with only a small handful of troops and then instead of giving reinforcements to for an assault the bush admin and generals not only rejected reinforcements, but also rejected guarding the mountain pass behind bin laden into Pakistan, letting him escape?
We should have negotiated with the Taliban when we had the upper hand.
We could have avoided a lot of death and pain.
Bush should have negotiated when they offered up the real terrorists on a platter.
It wasn't certain it would have worked out--but it is absolutely outrageous they decided it wasn't worth trying.
Of course that would have looked 'weak' or something and they were overconfident it would be a cakewalk.
It would have saved so many lives and much else. But it did not fit with their plans.
But then Cheney wouldn’t have accomplished his goal of enriching his cronies.
How about "I agree that we should have pulled out, but Biden should have done it *better*. How? I don't know, I just know it should have been *better*".
There was a tweet recently that got on r/all that basically said “I love how all the armchair epidemiologists from 6 months ago are now all armchair military strategists.”
Don't forget about all the terrorism experts after January 6th!
And the election law experts last November
The thing that people miss is that he okay'ed the plan the military gave him. He didn't just decide to pull all the grunts out then the civilians. The civilians were supposed to be there to continue operations with the AFghan government, which had already decided to give up the minute our combat troops were gone. And which had asked us not to start pulling their own civilians out until after they had control of the country. The military said this was okay, that the AFG government would be okay. They've BEEN saying this for years, because admitting that the govt wasn't ready, that their troops were useless, would have admitted we failed our mission. The blame for this lies squarely on our military's shoulders.
"And which had asked us not to start pulling their own civilians out until after they had control of the country."
I hate how this is rarely brought up. Of course we could have put together a much better plan had we known the government would collapse almost immediately. But Biden would have taken even more heat had he declined the Afghan govt's request. A widespread flee would have been seen as the cause of the Afghan govt's collapse, not a result of it.
Ultimately, it was an impossible situation.
It's a sHAme hoW we aBAndONed oUr aLLies!
You mean, like Trump did with the Kurds?
iT wAS nOt thE sAMe thING!!!
> "Hi, I spent the past 20 years bitching about American imperialism and endless war, SEND GROUND TROOPS BACK INTO AFGHANISTAN"
They (Republicans and their base) just flip back and forth to either align with the current president / party if Republicans are in power or against if Democrats are.
On this, they're split between "we should have stayed there forever" and "we should get out but not like that! Biden should be impeached! The worst moment in American history!"
The left (of Democrats) is more consistently against US imperialism (against US intervening in other countries) but many are also always critical of Democrats no matter what.
I’m glad we’re out of Afghanistan. I used to protest Afghanistan. I was 16 when everyone I know started being sent off to war & I’m 36 now.
And im not a military strategist.
But it does seem from over here in my relatively uninformed corner like it might’ve been better to evacuate all of the American citizens and come up with a plan for our allies like the interpreters who will be murdered by the taliban *before* abandoning the strategic air base. Also I’m not sure we should have left all of those guns, equipment, and computers full of databases of people who helped our military and are still in the country behind. At least destroy/disable those things.
> But it does seem from over here in my relatively uninformed corner like it might’ve been better to evacuate all of the American citizens and come up with a plan for our allies like the interpreters who will be murdered by the taliban before abandoning the strategic air base.
We've issued out 6 evacuation notices since April, it's not exactly our fault that they thought we wouldn't actually pull out, and it's not like anyone was caught off guard or anything.
We didn't just leave guns and equipment. We left it for the ASF to use to defend their country. They gave up. Not sure how that is anyone from America's fault. 20 years training an army and they folded over a weekend. You can lead a horse to water...
The plan was to have the 300,000 soldiers who we spent years training to actually do something. Those weapons that were left were left to help these soldiers defend their land. Instead they chose to do NOTHING. Sucks its happening but they are doing it to them selves.
If 20 years weren't enough to get those 300,000 soldiers to even attempt their job, another 20 years was not going to change that. At some point you just have to cut your losses and quit. Better sooner rather than later.
The equipment is unusable without the knowhow or werewithal to maintain it. Everyone keeps whining about the equipment but the reason the Taliban is using the AK47 which has existed for decades is because it takes basically no training to use.
Also worth bringing up is the environment. Afghanistan's climate is *terrible* for long-term upkeep of complex hardware.
> evacuate all of the American citizens
when you think of "american citizens" in Afghanistan you probably think of people pretty similar to you. Then you realize we've been over there for 20 years now and a lot of them may look a lot different than the picture american's have in their mind. Couple that with the fact that many have married into Afghan families or settled into a life over there and it becomes a lot more nuanced than simply "we abandoned a bunch of citizens". i think by last count the states department said there was close to a thousand citizens still there and it seemed like many wanted to stay.
>And, in a stark change from recent years, an American leader has done the hard thing, the right thing: set aside politics and put both America’s interests and values first.
And that, right there, is exactly how that article ended and needed to end and it's the message that needs to be resonated over and over.
This is exactly why I give Obama so much shit. He missed so many opportunities to do the right thing, even though it would have been difficult and potentially unpopular. He should have pulled us out of Afghanistan instead of expanding the war, and should have made sure our financial regulations post 2008 were strong enough that we wouldn't have the ridiculous inequality we have today. He could have pushed for anti-trust laws to break up Amazon, Google, etc. Now these companies have way too much power and influence over our policies.
Without making any commentary on *how* these things were actually handled:
bin-Laden instigated the war.
Bush started the War.
Obama did what should have ended the War.
Trump campaigned on ending the war and set the pullout in motion.
Biden ended it.
Except Obama expanded the war. The surge was a big mistake.
But the military lied to him so it's not all on him.
People forget that Obama *had* to be tough on "terror" there was a sizeable part of the population that legit thought he was a secret muslim terrorist. If he pulled out they would have screamed it to high heaven with a substantial amount of people believing them.
Think how many people thought that already.
Pissing off your base by doing the exact opposite of a campaign promise in order to win the votes of people who would literally never vote for you is a fantastic idea.
In his press conference he said “how many more sons and daughters would you have me send?”
I applaud his mindset.
I do as well.
"How many more endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery?" Gave me chills.
How can he do the right thing? Just think about the poor poll numbers!
/s just in case
decades from now, Biden will look good with this move. He made the decision to finally pull us out, which is ultimately what americans will care about.
This is why I have been annoyed. Biden jeopardized his political career to do the right thing, but no one can see big picture. The news is just attacking to paint him a certain way. We're finally getting out of Afghanistan. That's huge and was always going to have hurdles. People died and that's terrible, but we're getting out.
I haven't seen one headline of the Infra bill passing. I had to Google it specifically.
What people don't talk about much is the war profiteering that was going on. The whole thing was corrupt, from the US military contractors to the local Afghan leaders. There were good things happening, but that's like saying a town run by gangsters keeps the streets clean.
I mean 20 trillion dollars later. Even the way profiteers are tired of profiting, do you know how many yachts and islands you can buy with that much money? They don't care. Erik Price doesn't care he's made out like a bandit, just like Halliburton in the Iraq war. They've moved on to new profitable ventures in twenty years while the American public still can't focus on the fact that they've been robbed long enough to do anything about it
Biden is an old guy, and that isn't lost on him. He flat out said that he was withdrawing because he didn't want to burden a future President with this war/occupation. I took that as meaning he has no intent on still being President in 4 years.
This war has a been a shitty game of hot potato. My worry is that it'll come at the cost of the next election. We'll see.
Once there are no Americans in Afghanistan nobody in the US will remember what happened let alone care.
> Biden jeopardized his political career
The man is 78 years old sitting atop of the totem, there's nowhere else to go and no time to go there, anyway. What political career? You think this dude has 30 odd years left to do the speaker circuit?
Reminds me of something Churchill wrote:
>"The multitudes remained plunged in ignorance… and their leaders, seeking their votes, did not dare to undeceive them. ... Delight in smooth sounding platitudes, refusal to face unpleasant facts, desire for popularity and electoral success irrespective of the vital interests of the state. ..."
Thank goodness Biden was willing the bear the unpopularity and get us out of Afghanistan. I think the fact that he had children who served in the military, unlike many warmongers, probably had something to do with it.
I have this theory that Biden has no fucks to give. He was talked into running. He’s not playing a political game because he’s fine just living out the rest of his life with his family and not doing anything else. So he’s just going around doing what he thinks should be done without giving a fuck what anyone has to say about him or it.
> Thank goodness Biden was willing the bear the unpopularity
The only people this is unpopular with are people that were never voting for Biden in the first place.
As a Biden voter, do I wish that it had gone better? Yeah, sure. But I can't place the blame for 700k Afghan troops turning and running on an American president that's be in office for 7 months and who was working under a deadline for withdrawl. That's just asking too much.
Exactly, he's working with the cards he was delt. Sure, it would have been nice to have 13,000 troops rather than 2,500 troops. That would have made it easier to get people out of Afghanistan. Also not releasing some 5,000 Taliban leaders and fighters would have also made things easier. But those weren't options for Biden, and he still did the right thing for taking us out of a war we should have never been in.
If this happened under Trump. He 100% would have been blamed. 100%
The only thing he deserves either credit or blame for is his efforts to get refugees over here, when no program existed to do so under Trump's pullout.
How do we spend 20 years there and then decide the guy with 7 months in office is the issue?
~~Everyone~~ Critics conveniently forget this.
We didn't have 7 months to get refugees/translators/allies out. We had over a decade. Nobody did anything with any speed until the last minute. It's like they're students and there's an exam tomorrow... procrastinate and revise maybe one page a day until the mad scramble at the last minute.
If this had just been about getting Americans out, they'd be well and gone already. That's how you (Trump, probably) meet an earlier pullout date - by not giving a fuck about your allies, not bothering to clean up your mess, just get up from the table and leave.
We (this President) seem to be above totally abandoning those that helped us, so the whole thing's messy and delayed and we're a target while it happens.
When Trump negotiated with the Taliban without the national government in 2019, that was the last call to get out IMO. The writing was on the wall.
This is everybody’s fault. Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden. Nobody gets a pass
I wish the pullout was handled better, I don’t know how, but I am amazed and happy that he is following through
The problem was no one acting like the pullout was serious. It was announced 18 months ago. It doesn't take that long to move a helicopter, it was people playing games to get us to stay.
Oh just give us another 6 months. Oh just one more troop surge. ECT ect ect
I think most people agree that we should've left Afghanistan. Most people also agree that the actual withdrawal was a disaster. You can hold both views at the same time.
The war was always a disaster, I don't see how one could expect the ending to be any different.
Which is a large part of why several other presidents punted the ball. Withdrawal was always going to be ugly and nobody wanted to be remembered for that. Trump hoped to get the credit for initiating a withdrawal without any of the blame, thus he set the machine in motion right before his term was done, leaving the impending disaster for Biden.
Right? Like - what do people imagine losing a war looks like?
1. There is no safe and organized way to pull thousands and thousands of people out of a city as it's being captured by the Taliban and separately attacked by ISIS.
2. Despite that, we've evacuated over 100,000 people in 2 weeks. That's a lot of people. I think a lot of people are still running with the narrative *that developed on the day Afghanistan unexpectedly fell to the Taliban*, and haven't checked in since
>Most people also agree that the actual withdrawal was a disaster.
Most people don't understand Afghanistan and just repeat talking points they've heard.
Most people also keep forgetting just how much damage Trump did to the mechanisms of government for the last four years and then assume Biden is incompetent because those mechanisms were imperfect in function during all of this.
I think the onion said it [best](https://www.theonion.com/nation-stunned-that-20-year-catastrophe-could-end-so-ca-1847572270)
The onion is supposed to be *fake* news, but this is the actual news being reported all over the country.
It's not fake news, it's satirical news. We've just reached the point where reality is satire. It's why none of their stuff has gone super viral in a while, everything else already sounds like satire.
I never considered this but you're right
> The onion is supposed to be fake news, but this is the actual news being reported all over the country.
We ran into the same issue with *The Daily Show w/ Jon Stewart*.
The tagline of the show was,"Where more people get there news, than probably should."
For a time, I admittedly got more of my news from the Daily Show than I probably should... and I think it was because the show actually pointed exactly how ridiculous some of the political stories were.
During that time, I remember Jon Stewart wanted Gore to win the Presidential Election because it meant his staff would actually have to work on making funny stories.
Instead of just reporting the news if Bush won.
I mean, honestly, even though this isn't the from the Daily Show, I can't help but be amused and saddened that [this, animated turnip, is an elected official and spokesperson for a major political candidate.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFYRkzznsc0)
Beautiful jab there at the end. I’ll use this one for my talking points.
Among many other things, no one seems to talk about the fact Trump throttled then all but stopped the SIV program. Biden had to jump start it and back in June multiplied many times over the amount of resources going to that program to process those visas. So all those visa holders in Afghanistan were fucked by Trump.
People just want to think all the problems started on Jan 20, 2021 and nothing came before it.
To take one example, Trump’s team managed to drive off a significant number of the State Department’s experienced staff: https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/can-biden-reverse-trumps-damage-to-the-state-department
Ehhhh.... I don't want to go that far.
Everyone deserve blame for Afghanistan.
> Everyone deserve blame for Afghanistan.
Everyone but Barbara Lee, I believe she was the only member of Congress that gave a no vote on the AUMF.
Americans have been gaslighted to get into every war since the creation of the United States. Wars are a racket and everyone wants a piece of the pie
They want a forever war because we spend $700+ billion dollars on defense every year.
If only we spent all that money into promoting science to improve the lives of the world population but we can't do that because human beings are greedy and violent by nature
This is the truth. This is the only reason for both Iraq AND Afghanistan. The sick part is, it's such a clear example of the fact and it's how we do *every single fucking thing* in our stupid fucking country.
The irony, Osama bin Laden said this would happen. He called it the fall of rome. He wrote a book about it. He hoped 9/11 would speed the process up. He was right that it would.
Man, I hope we can prove him wrong.
The best time ws to get out 12 years ago. The second best time was now. It was always going to be messy. And it will be messy afterwards.
Credit for finally ending an unnecessary 20 year occupation? Sure.
But there isn’t a finite amount of blame resources for Afghanistan. He botched the exit, just as Trump botched the negotiations, Obama botched not exiting sooner, Bush botched occupying the country in the first place and Regan botched funding what would become the Taliban.
No, he deserves blame just as the rest of these presidents do. There’s enough for them all.
A hard choice and he made it. I can't blame him...2 decades there did nothing but delayed the inevitable and make arm suppliers rich (er).
So this is top of Politics at the same time that he lied to us saying he killed ISIS Planners and instead droned Children
This is the first time IN MY LIFE I saw an American President not care about their image and do something that needed to be done.
You read about these guys in the history books, but it was amazing to see it in real life for a change. It’s too bad a lot of people won’t see it that way and others want to write history so it’s painted in their own distorted image.
This is the GOP trying to spin this against Biden but didn't Trump meet up with terrorists and release like 3,000 of them? They're quiet about that.
as someone who lived in middle east, i am telling you, you can't change people mind, religion will always be more important than human life, it will not matter how many more bomb or bullet US used, people will never change, you can't change people mind if they don't want it.
this war was useless
I fell into the media attack hype with the initial pull out and I was very judgmental about how it was handled. I now realize that was premature judgment and they’ve actually done a good job under the circumstances. It was always going to be very, very messy. Interesting how perspective can change.
I supported Obama, but hated that he didn't get out of Afghanistan.
I hated Trump, but wished he would have kept his promise of getting out of Afghanistan. I would have stood up and cheered for him had he done it instead of punting it to the next president's administration.
Biden actually bit the bullet and did the hard thing, despite what it would do to himself politically.