Did anyone expect the US war in Afghanistan to end cleanly? If so, you bought the lies all along and the cold water now is hitting sharp. While the actual ending is particularly harsh and clearly spliced together from old clips of Saigon 1975, those are simply details.
Who should we blame for losing Afghanistan? Why blame anyone?
Why blame Biden? He played his part as a senator and vice president keeping the war going, but his role today is just being the last guy in a long line of people to blame, a pawn in the game. That Biden is willing to be the “president who lost Afghanistan” is all the proof you need he does not intend to run again for anything. Kind of an ironic version of a young John Kerry’s take on Vietnam “how do you ask the last man to die for a mistake?” Turns out, it’s easy: call Joe.
Blame Trump for the deal? One of the saddest things about the brutal ending of the US-Afghan war is we would have gotten the same deal—just leave it to the Taliban and go home—at basically any point during the last 20 years. That makes every death and every dollar a waste. Afghanistan is simply reverting, quickly, to more or less status quo ante September 11, 2001, and everything between then and now, including lost opportunities, will have been wasted.
Blame the neocons? No one in Washington who supported this war was ever called out, with the possible exception of Donald Rumsfeld. Dick Cheney walks free. The generals and diplomats who ran the war have nice think tank or university jobs, if they are not still in government making equally bad decisions. No one has been legally, financially, or professionally disadvantaged by the blood on their hands. Some of the era’s senior leaders—Blinken, Rice, Power, Nuland—are now working in better jobs for Biden. I’d like to hope they have trouble sleeping at night, but I doubt it.
George Bush is a cuddly grandpa today, not the man who drove the United States into building a global prison archipelago to torture people. Barack Obama, who kept much of that system in place and added the drone killing of American citizens to his resume, remains a Democratic rock god. Neither man nor any of his significant underlings has expressed any regret or remorse.
For example, I have recently listened to Ryan Crocker, our former ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, on CNN. Making myself listen to him was about as fun as sticking my tongue in a woodchipper. Same for former general David Petraeus and the usual gang of idiots. None of them, the ones who made the decisions, accept any blame. Instead, they seem settled on blaming Trump because, well, everything bad is Trump’s fault even if he came into all this in the middle of the movie.
In the end the only people punished were the whistleblowers.
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