Although the U.S. Afghan withdrawal has not yet fully played
out, the so-called establishment media appears to have
already abandoned its year-long cheerleading of Joe Biden,
candidate and now president.
Mr. Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops was not popular
with many in the military, neo-conservatives, and a number
of our allies, not to mention the Afghan government, but a
a majority of Americans does support in principle our leaving.
Former President Trump wanted to withdraw, but apparently
was constrained by a secure way in arranging the departure of
The drama now taking place is producing, much to the Biden
administration's discomfort, a series of negative visuals and
issues, including chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport where
U.S. citizens and Afghans who helped the U.S have gathered to
be evacuated. This has been complicated by terrorist
threats and a tragic suicide bomber attack, killing Americans,
Europeans and Afghans.
That attack put focus on the fact that the Taliban who now
control the country, and negotiated the U.S. withdrawal, do
not seem able to control terrorist groups such as Al Quaeda
and others who might pose a threat against the West, as
happened on September 11, 2001.
President Biden’s own presentation of his policy and the
evacuation has been inconsistent and muddled, and he has
even avoided taking questions from the usually friendly
media. His early assurances of an orderly and successful
withdrawal/evacuation have been wrong so far. The
premature abandonment of allied air bases and huge
quantities of planes, helicopters and military materiel
A few commentators defending the president contend that
all this was unavoidable, and that the bottom line will be
that we will be out of Afghanistan — which is what the
American public wanted.
But most in the media, including Mr. Biden’s friends on
editorial pages and in the print/broadcast commentariat do
not appear to accept that rosy assessment. Visual memories
of the chaotic evacuation of Saigon in Viet Nam persist
almost 50 years later, and the notion of leaving Americans
and their Afghan friends behind seems unacceptable.
The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. troops, accompanied by
pullouts of British, French and other troops, also creates a
very large strategic and political vacuum in the region,
affecting Russia, Iran, Pakistan, India, China and southeast
Asia. It isn’t really clear yet what the consequences will be.
The Taliban themselves seem unlikely to want to precipitate
a U.S. military return, but as already noted, they seem
unable to control jihadist and terrorist groups in their midst
who might provoke with another 9/11.
Afghan women and minority groups are certain now to
suffer under Taliban rule.
In the past, the media ignored Mr. Biden’s problems. But
this one might be different.
Copyright (c) 2021 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.