I can't resist getting my two cents in about the Afghanistan withdrawal, which is shaping up to be one of the worst examples of mainstream press malfeasance since they essentially paved the road for Trump to enter the White House.
As usual, it seems to me that nobody is willing to state the truth directly, so I will give it a try.
First, this war was started by a Republican President with the mind of a child, who was forced on the country by corrupt Republican Supreme Court Justices, and who said before getting into the White House that only a war President could be great. And then, in short order, he, and his psychopathic vice President took their eyes off Afghanistan in favor of an even shinier toy, Iraq. As a result, by the time we were able to rid ourselves of this fool, the "war" in Afghanistan was hopelessly lost. And no, I won't listen to the usual refrain we have heard after every Republican disaster since at least the great depression: "nobody could have known." The truth, as usual, is that everybody who cared to look at the facts knew the war was already lost by 2008. I remember, before Obama was inaugurated, saying that if he had any sense, he would not even wait one day, but would announce in his inaugural address that he would not prolong this unmitigated disaster. Not doing so was possibly his worst mistake, other than insisting on and on that there were rational people in the Republican party that he could deal with.
Now, as for the Afghan government. Every single government in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel and perhaps Iran, exists for no purpose other than to enrich themselves and cling to power for that purpose. This extends from the ultimate thieves, the Saudi "Royal Family," through Saddam, Assad, whoever is feasting on the riches of Egypt this year, and all the way down to the murderous thugs in Hamas who control Gaza. And Afghanistan is no different. The US spent two decades knowingly supporting corrupt criminals in Afghanistan because Bush and Cheney had backed us into such a corner that there was no other way out than, as was said about Vietnam, just declaring victory and leaving (which, incidentally, would have been a far better solution than the one we pursued.) If you need any more proof of that than we have from twenty years of experience, consider that the last "leader" of Afghanistan left the country in a helicopter with $163 million dollars in cash, immediately after provincial capitols began to fall. Of course, maybe Donald Trump succeeded so well in convincing the American people that this is reasonable behavior in a leader, that they really do think that was fine.
And as for the Afghan army: Why, in the name of all that is holy, should they fight and die to protect the right of criminals to plunder their country? Their immediate collapse is portrayed as an act of betrayal and cowardice, but in reality it was the result of a correct understanding that there was absolutely nothing worth defending in what the United States had spent two decades and a trillion dollars building. Are you so indifferent to the fate of other people as to think that tens of thousands of them should die to prolong for a few more weeks the ability of the Republican party and the mainstream press in this county to delude themselves into thinking we accomplished a damned thing of value in Afghanistan, or giving them a few more weeks to fabricate blame to attach to Joe Biden? If not, you should recognize that what the Afghan army did was the only rational response to what we left behind in their country. It was similar to the collapse of the Italian army in World War II, which is still portrayed in many quarters as an act of cowardice, but was in fact the result of a correct apprehension that they were fighting and dying for absolutely nothing.
Let me now mention the single worst mistake, in all the many mistakes we made during this disastrous foreign adventure: Kissing up to the vicious, depraved government of Pakistan, which we did solely because Pakistan's enemy, India, worked with the Soviets. We thus coddled a hateful religious dictatorship until it had nuclear weapons, and in the process allowed it to provide refuge for its Sunni allies in the Taliban, where they could retreat whenever things were not going well for them, to rebuild and return soon to their war of attrition in Afghanistan. Without that refuge, there is a strong likelihood that we really could have destroyed the Taliban, but in the end, that goal turned out to be far less important than stoking the mindless anti-Communism which has been the source of so many of the wrong decisions made by this country since World War II.
Finally, let's talk about our exit from this disaster. The terms of that exit were dictated by the only President in our history who was worse than the infantile Bush. In a classic example of his mastery of "the art of the deal" reminiscent of the way he dealt with Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin or Recep Erdogan, Trump utterly capitulated to the Taliban in order to try to get a few days good press about what a masterful negotiator he was, and perhaps, in his fantasy, win a Nobel Peace Prize, something he desired because he couldn't stand the thought that the Black Man got one. This capitulation involved letting over 5,000 captured Taliban soldiers go free, and agreeing to totally withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, in return for...nothing, the same thing he got from Putin and Kim Jong Un. There is the real failure and cowardice in our withdrawal.
Well, that pretty much tells the story of our tragedy in Afghanistan. Now, the mainstream press has decided to blame this entire miserable history on Joe Biden, because they have been desperate to start tearing him apart since he took office, but he has refused to give them an excuse to do so. After all, isn't destroying the standing of Democratic leaders as much a part of the sacred duty of the mainstream media as giving a pass to every Republican disaster?
Joe Biden has handled the worthless hand he was dealt in Afghanistan the same way he has handled just about everything as President: competently, without posturing, and with pretty much the best results that could be hoped for in the situation. Once again, a Democratic President is forced to clean up the garbage the Republicans have strewn around the world, and once again, he must do it while the press collaborates with the Republican party to stand reality on its head.
Anyone who has read my writing will be familiar with what I am about to say, but I must, unfortunately repeat it, as it is as true as it ever was: The Democrats could crush the Republican party almost without even trying; what they cannot do is crush the Republicans and the press working together. And that is what we have to live with in this country, so there is a pretty strong likelihood that their sick delusions about the war in Afghanistan will be etched into our memory, alongside the malignant myths of supply side economics, the notion that it is Democrats that cause deficits, that only Republicans care about the country, that Democrats are "weak on defense," and all the other Republican lies that have been inscribed on the rolls of false history that these two groups, working together, have created.