Incompetence. Lies. Contradictions. Callous disregard for life. And a defiant refusal to admit mistakes. No, that isn’t a description of President Trump’s modus operandi, but President Biden’s handling of America’s exit from Afghanistan.
“I don’t need an exit strategy,” Trump once said. President Biden obviously didn’t think he needed one from Afghanistan either. Setting his jaw, Joe was initially at sea as the tragedy of his and America’s making ended in chaos.
Biden seems to have found his political sea legs in the last couple days, but the images he’s counting on fading as fast as yesterday’s headlines persist. Even conservative commentators draw a parallel between the Falling Man and the boy falling from the wheel well of the military C-17.
When his moment of truth came, Mr. Empathy blamed the Afghans for not continuing to fight our war after we ignominiously left 20 years later. As tens of thousands of Afghans that did our and our bidding waited desperately for cargo planes to carry them to safety from the Taliban, the last vestiges of America’s reputation lay in tatters on the tarmac.
Year after year we heard the refrain, “Afghan girls and women are being educated, and given career paths that were never open to them before.” The moment the US military snuck out of Bagram Air Base in the middle of the night, that fig leaf dissolved into its constituent meaninglessness, and the clock was instantly turned back 20 years on Afghan women and girls.
The chaotic reversion to the monstrous medievals that America left Afghan females to makes a mockery of Biden’s claim that America is back and ready to lead the world.
Biden continues in his grating certainty that he did the right thing in precipitously pulling out, giving the false binary choice between America’s sudden disappearing act or fighting a full-scale and endless war. But he’s just proving that America never really cared about the Afghan people. All that mattered in the end was that no more of “our soldiers” die in the war we started.
For 20 years I’ve waited to read these words from an American ‘hero’ that returned maimed in body and/or mind from the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:
“Without those of us who volunteered, there’d be nobody to fight these wars. I long to appear before the young man I was, slap his face and tell him to take a different course. ‘You’re going to die over there,’ I want to say. ‘Not in body, but in spirit.”’
Many nails were driven into the coffin of the American spirit in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it had perished over a decade earlier, after the straw that broke the Spirit’s back with the first Gulf War. Yet that’s still seen as ‘the good Gulf War.’
The epitaph, “Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires” dates from a time when men carried shields and swords into battle. And in the so-called modern age it certainly proved true for both the British and Russian empires, as it’s now proving true for the American Empire.
The question is, what now? Not for America, but for humankind? Proof that civilization doesn’t progress lies in the fact that we’re still talking about and having to deal with the consequences of empires in an age when they have become utterly irrelevant and destructive to the human prospect.
The US-made international order is past its use-by date. Moreover, the cornerstone of the present world (dis)order – the separate sovereignties of 200 nation-states – is completely untenable, irredeemably contrary to humankind meeting the global challenges like the Covid pandemic and the climate crisis.
Nationalism is merely tribalism scaled up. And in this interdependent world, nationalism is fragmenting into petty, party tribalism, ushering in a resurgence in authoritarianism all over the world. We need look no further for evidence than the fact that a significant portion of the American citizenry is openly calling and preparing for another civil war.
Nature is forcing the issue of the limits of man’s stupidity. This is the true binary now: continue to fragment the earth and ourselves all to hell, or begin from the emotionally held premise of the wholeness of humanity, despite, indeed b because of how fractured as man is.
That, on the political level, is the meaning and urgency of psychological revolution.
Link: “I Was a Marine in Afghanistan. We Sacrificed Lives For a Lie”: