After two decades of war, President Biden finally made the decision to fully withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. It did not go as planned. The Afghan government and security forces, which the United States spent two decades building up, evaporated in days. The Taliban, the Islamist group which harbored Al Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks, quickly regained control over the country.
Excellent reporting/analysis/cutting through the MSM's bullshit, Judd. It's refreshing to get a more objective take on this and being reminded that there are far too many people who were complicit in enabling this doomed-from-the-start war, who are now given a pass by media whitewashing. It feels like the MSM as a whole is gaslighting the country, but I guess what else should we expect from an empire that has long prided itself as the world's police all while filling the coffers of its military industrial complex. God bless Barbara Lee, the lone member of Congress who voted against the war nearly 20 years ago. If only other members of congress had the foresight and courage she did, maybe then we wouldn't have to be dealing with this "embarrassment" on the global stage (at the expense of thousands and thousands of lives [and dollars]). If anyone should be getting a media platform to express their thoughts on this situation, it ought to be her... Unfortunately based off the media's coverage and handling of this, I do not expect many lessons to be learned and will not be surprised to see history repeat itself down the line.
Thanks again, Judd. These kinds of posts are exactly why I subscribe to PI.
All of your news posts are important, and this is no exception. The most accurate thing I’ve heard on TV is from Nicole Wallace. Paraphrasing, she said ‘95% of Americans support the withdrawal and 95% of the media don’t’. The number of Americans is too high, and I think the number of media WAS too high, with those more experienced now capitulating. Big exception is Lawrence O’Donnell, who got it more right than wrong when he focused last night on 20 years of military leadership. The same day Nicole made that statement to Brian Williams, they jointly interviewed Matt Zeller. I’d never heard of him, but his opinion about Afghanistan is clear. Brian’s approach to coverage changed in that moment with Matt. Yes, I know Brian has credibility issues, but the about-face was surprising to witness in real time. This post has gone on too long, so I’ll finish by thanking you for being a voice of reason focused on accuracy.
I blame George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. We should not have been in Afghanistan in the first place. It’s unfortunate for Biden that he drew the short straw and had to clean up their mess. Virtually all of the coverage I’ve seen blames Biden for the debacle, but no one has suggested what he should have done differently, or how.
Trump sold out the Afghan people when he negotiated with the Taliban directly, and then announced a timeline for withdrawal. All the Taliban needed to do was wait. If Biden had reversed course and sent MORE troops to stabilize the country, we would be blaming him for “flip-flopping” and escalating the war. The end is tragic, and it IS very reminiscent of the end of Viet Nam (for those of us who watched it in real time). But our experience in Viet Nam means that no one should be surprised about what is happening. It was inevitable; the only unknown was when it would happen, and how many more people would die before someone had the courage to admit that and do it anyway.
Our press is apparently off somewhere taking drugs. Almost all of what I've read in the WP, NYT and supposed news websites have almost to the person, given us some fantasy story about Afghanistan and, by reference, Vietnam. Most of these people weren't alive back in the day they talk about and haven't bothered to bring themselves up to date by delving into their own archives. I believe they mostly just listen to TV and read other pundits. They must get it so egregiously wrong.
I was in high school when the towers fell. To put this another way, we've been fighting this war for more than half my life. And there are some younger than me who have never known a moment when we haven't been embroiled in some foreign conflict. This piece is well received from someone who has heard the repetitive drone of the war machine for two decades and is sick and tired of it.
Judd, I am so relieved to see you reporting on the media's coverage and failure to tell the real story. I have been "pulling my hair out" for days at the headlines and stories that imply things that aren't true, that ignore the history and context and that also follow the "gotcha" school of journalism. That kind of coverage--without the truth about this 20 year war won't help the veterans who now question their service and their losses. And it won't help an electorate make sound decisions if this becomes an election issue as 2022 elections roll out. This piece of yours is an example of why I subscribed to your newsletter from the jump and remain with it still. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I am so thankful for this piece. I thought i was going crazy. Main stream media has failed to inform properly. The Doha Accords have not even been mentioned. The last several years of the Taliban seizing town after town have not been reported. The excuse of using women as a prop for this is even more outrageous. Like in we ignore what happens with women in Saudi and many other countries. If i have an ask for you, is to piece together the last several years of events and report on this. We need to have context.
thank you for this piece. Biden made the tough call when his predecessors were too cowardly to take the heat.
This is why I love your journalism. Exposing the liars no matter where they lay.
Excellent reporting! I am dumbfounded by Democrats criticizing Democrats.
Camp David is certainly not far enough away to escape the carnage the Party is inflicting on itself.
Thank you. Saw a fabulous Twitter thread (can't find now, first name Jason, I think ) from a guy whose a Afghanistan veteran who dissected this part of Biden's speech about the evacuations, "And part of it was because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, “a crisis of confidence.” Thread described exactly how this statement is most likely the important aspect of not doing the evacuations earlier..
Thank you! I'm so tired of seeing the media repeating the same over-simplifications about this being a colossal Biden failure. My worry now is for those Afghan people who helped us. We've got to get them out. They should be fast-tracked into the country. (And yes, I'm ready to put my money where my mouth is and host Afghan refugees in my home.) It's always the macho-talking politicians crying for more war but you notice it's never their sons or daughters they're sending off to fight and die.
BTW, i just wrote to the editors of WaPo and NYT. I also cancelled my subscriptions. I will find another way to read editorials but most important, they need to hear from people like us. I know we are not jumping up and down with the execution of this but it is extremely damaging not to cover the full story and the legacy of the 20 year old war.
My husband and I are so infuriated by the utterly lazy, jingoistic Afghanistan coverage, combined with the relentless panic-mongering about Delta variant that we've declared a news moratorium for two weeks. Very little mention of the obvious - that the so-called security forces appear to have simply laid down their arms. We think the Afghanis are sick of war and sick of being occupied. These people being interviewed are very much to blame for over $800 BILLION dollars blown on this war, and we think most are just angry because they lost their cash cow. Anyone wondering how we would be paying for the infrastructure bill, well if we'd gotten out 10 years ago that's probably at least $400B right there, but no, we decided to put cash in the hands of warlords, mercenaries and defense contractors, many of whom have executives from former White House Administrations. Biden can't exactly point fingers, either; he and Obama are also responsible in great part, for the utter failure to have clear and measurable objectives. Over 100,000 people lost their lives instigated by a single attack that took less than 4000, and more of our US troops have died than were lost on 9/11. We should never have gone into Iraq and we should have gotten the hell out of Afghanistan once bin Laden was gone. Anything after that has been nothing more than a boondoggle for warmongers.
Love,love, loved your article! I supported and still support Biden’s decision to leave. Thank you for giving us a more accurate view of who’s criticizing Biden’s decision. I agree with him 100% that we don’t need to be in a war the Afghan administration is not willing to fight itself. Their corrupt use of US funds has been known for some time.
Makes me think of the time Obama had crappy poll numbers and then one remembered that the media did nothing except excoriate him. Same here. I'm watching a great Latin band on Pirate TV; just couldn't take cable (yes, MSNBC - I'm talking about you.