A Rant About Biden, Afghanistan, and the Media

6 mins read

By Bruce Maples

Over the years that I’ve been running Forward Kentucky, I’ve also (obviously) paid attention to both the political news and the political commentary. And I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. Two, in fact.

First, the commentary narrative doesn’t always match the actual facts on the ground. And second, many of these pundits are incapable of remembering anything that came before the current news cycle.

These have always been true to some extent. But in the case of Biden and Afghanistan, it has reached epidemic proportions.

And I’m sick of it.

To hear many commentators tell it, the whole Afghanistan debacle can be laid at the feet of Joe Biden. It’s his fault that the Taliban are in control; it’s his fault that we witnessed desperate Afghans clinging to planes as they took off; it’s his fault that Afghanistan is poised to plunge back into a medieval society; and it’s his fault that there will no doubt be reprisals against people who helped us while we were there.

So, for those talking mouths with empty heads that are spouting all of the above, here are some bullet points you should print out and keep in front of you whenever you are tempted to spout again:

  • It wasn’t Joe Biden that got us into Afghanistan — it was George Bush.
  • It wasn’t Biden that kept us there — it was the three presidents before him.
  • It wasn’t Biden that promised the Taliban we would leave — it was Trump, when he negotiated with the Taliban, and NOT the Afghan government, to pull our troops out.
  • It wasn’t the Biden administration that decided not to tell people when we were leaving — it was the Afghan government that asked the U.S. not to announce a date because they were worried it would cause a panic.
  • It wasn’t the Biden administration’s poor planning that caused the crisis — it was the regional governments and the Afghan military that cut deals with the Taliban to surrender in order to save their own lives.

The Biden administration did what the Afghan government asked and didn’t make an announcement but did plan to begin evacuating both Americans and Afghans as we left. But instead of having months or weeks to do it, the frantic collapse of the Afghan government and military meant they had days.

But instead of celebrating the amazing feat of our military and our government in getting over 100,000 people out of Afghanistan in a little over a week, the talking heads and pundits are determined to pursue the “blame it all on Biden” narrative.

Why do they do this? Here are some possibilities:

  • It’s easy, and they’re lazy.
  • It gets clicks, and they live for traffic.
  • It’s safer, and they’re cowards.
  • It makes them look like a “serious analyst,” and they are attention-hungry.
  • It gives them cachet as “not anybody’s fool,” and they want to look strong and independent.

People who said just months ago “we should stay” are now saying “why didn’t we get out sooner?” People who cheered Trump when he made a peace deal with the Taliban are now excoriating Biden for actually keeping a promise that the U.S. made. People who are wringing their hands over the Afghan allies we may leave behind are the same people who voted just months ago against expanding the visa program so we could take them in.

Is the whole situation a mess? Yes, of course. But let’s be clear: it’s been an untenable situation for at least 18 of the last 20 years, and yet the military and the neocons and the pundits kept saying, “Just a little longer. Just a little longer.”

George Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump got us into this mess and kept us in this mess. It was Joe Biden who finally made the tough decision and was willing to deal with the consequences. And it was Biden’s administration, including our military, which has done an amazing job of dealing with the shit sandwich they were given by Trump and the Afghans.

I’m proud of our military and what they have been able to pull off over the past two weeks. I’m proud of everyone who is helping them, including private companies and individuals. I’m proud of Americans all across this country who are welcoming the Afghan refugees with open arms and with arms loaded with help.

And I’m thankful for a president who makes the tough but right decision, who takes the heat but stands by what he did, and who is honest with the American people. Joe Biden is our president, and I’m glad he is.

White House photo [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

Originally posted on Forward Kentucky. Reposted with permission and style edits.

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Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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