Ever since the Taliban inevitably overran a disorganized Afghan National Army and captured the capital of Kabul, the American media has been howling with rage and frustration at President Biden. It has been disgusting to see the corporate media on both the right and “left” immediately adopt the same narrative of failure and catastrophe, seething with impotent rage when they should be praising President Biden for being brave enough to do what no president before had the stones to do.
The outcry can be summed up with “Does President Biden not bear the blame for this disastrous exit from Afghanistan?” from CNN’s Jake Tapper, an obsequious imperial bootlicker who fetishizes the military in an extremely uncomfortable fashion but would never actually join it.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken defends the Biden administration's decision to pull US forces out of Afghanistan: "The idea that the status quo could have been maintained by keeping our forces there, I think, is simply wrong." #CNNSOTU https://t.co/5uk1k2vMbY pic.twitter.com/qlX6LU7BTB
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 15, 2021
The failure of America’s insincere and half-hearted nation-building efforts in Afghanistan was a grim inevitability 20 years in the making. The Washington Post’s “Afghanistan Papers” revealed to an uncaring nation that from the outset of the invasion, the United States had no idea what it was doing in Afghanistan and never bothered to figure it out. The U.S. military couldn’t even tell who they were supposed to be fighting. “I have no visibility into who the bad guys are…We are woefully deficient in human intelligence,” wrote Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2003.
Douglas Lute, a three-star general who served in both the Bush and Obama administrations, mourned that “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing…what are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”
Despite these extremely serious operational issues, the American military machine almost immediately began lying to the public about the state of the war in Afghanistan, the progress being made by the U.S. military and the immediate descent of the Afghan “democracy” into a kleptocracy fueled by U.S. tax dollars.
“Even when casualty counts and other figures looked bad…the White House and Pentagon would spin them to the point of absurdity” recounted a National Security Council member.
That didn’t seem to matter to any of the successive administrations, which dutifully continued to pour blood and treasure into the Afghan meat grinder without any consideration as to whether it was actually accomplishing anything beyond filling the pockets of defense contractors and adding names to an unending list of innocent Afghanis killed by American bombs — and the corporate media stood guard to make sure that never ended.
President Obama, constantly under siege for the color of his skin, was far too afraid of how the media would react should he be the one to admit defeat and withdraw from Afghanistan — and the outrageous avalanche of weeping and moaning from the obsequious imperial bootlickers in the media shows that he was absolutely right to be.
While Trump had little ideological commitment to American imperialism, he was far too obsessed with his image to actually follow through with the withdrawal that he set the stage for, too afraid of being seen as a looooooooser in front of his fans and the world.
President Biden is the only one of four successive American presidents who has had the courage to amputate the leg instead of simply wrapping it in even more bandages and passing the buck to the next president. While you can argue that the details of the withdrawal and the ensuing events could have been handled differently, the fact of the matter is that this was going to be a catastrophe for the United States no matter what happened, and all the squalling and complaining in the world isn’t going to change that fact.
Carville: There’s no elegant way to lose a war. We lost this war 15 years ago. All Joe Biden was doing was telling us what time it is and the hysterical and stupid coverage of the mainstream press, it’s just been awful pic.twitter.com/tP5PgaHwpk
— Acyn (@Acyn) August 26, 2021
Staying in Afghanistan for another 5, 10, 20 years would produce the same result, but with the addition of countless more civilian deaths from our relentless bombing campaigns and from Taliban efforts to disrupt an unpopular and fundamentally illegitimate US-backed government — not to mention the countless billions more taxpayer dollars wasted.
After 20 years of fruitless war, there is much to reflect upon and learn from. But judging from the corporate media’s response to the Afghanistan withdrawal, they have no intention of doing any such thing and would rather spend the next two weeks relentlessly smearing President Biden for having the nerve to dispel the preposterous narrative of American invincibility and face a cold and uncomfortable reality — something they’d better start getting used to.
Admitting we had a problem is the first step to recovery. We should be thanking Biden for doing the right thing and seeking help.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.