As happy and relieved as everyone should be about finally getting out of Afghanistan, is there any doubt that if it were former President Donald Trump overseeing the grotesque exit, every news anchor outside of Fox would be shaking their heads in hysterical indignation?
Hell, Trump isn’t even in office, yet that’s almost happening anyway. As chaos continued to unfold in Kabul on Monday, MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski ran a segment on “Trump’s role in Afghanistan.” Musing on an alternate reality wherein Trump was still president, she said, “In some way, shape, or form, you could see [this] even going worse.”
CNN’s John Avlon on Tuesday summoned his best anchorman voice to stress to his viewers that more important than the ongoing calamity in Afghanistan, where the “democratic” government we tried to install has collapsed, is the “partisan points” Republicans are supposedly scoring at the expense of President Joe Biden. Avlon said Republicans were attempting to “whitewash history” by observing the overrun airport in Kabul and the thousands of Afghans desperately attempting to flee after Biden pulled the plug on the drain without ensuring that our exit would go smoothly.
You see, boys and girls, it’s not that our 20-year, $2 trillion effort in Afghanistan has just gone up in smoke under Biden or that the lives of American diplomats and allies were and remain in danger. It’s that Republicans noticed!
Even more laughable are some in the media lending a sympathetic ear to the White House so that Biden aides can blame-shift or otherwise insist that this was the best they could do.
Hans Nichols at Axios eagerly granted anonymity to White House officials for a Tuesday report, not so they could candidly describe how the administration might have headed off the mess in Afghanistan, but to wipe their hands clean of any responsibility for it. “There was no plan to evacuate our diplomats to the airport,” one of the nameless figures told Nichols. “None of this was on the shelf, so to speak.” Again, the person said, “When we got in, on Jan. 20, we saw that the cupboard was bare.”
Yeah, that’s the same nonsensical excuse Biden’s team used for the initially slow and grinding rollout of the COVID vaccines that the previous administration had approved for distribution. Vice President Kamala Harris complained that the lag was because there had been “no stockpile.”
Why would there have been a “stockpile” of vaccines that were supposed to be distributed immediately as they became available? To wit, Biden had seven months to prepare for this moment in Afghanistan, a sandy wasteland that hasn’t been stable since we got there 20 years ago. No pre-existing plan would have mattered, and besides, he’s tried undoing and reengineering everything else Trump did — what made this different?
Anne Gearan of the Washington Post may have been the most ridiculous. Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” she became a spokeswoman for the White House, offering on their behalf that the shocking images of the overrun airport in Kabul were “really as far from anything that this administration, you know, wants to see as possible.”
She added that, though “chaotic” it may be, “there’s nothing that the president, the White House, or the pentagon for that matter can do about these devastating humanitarian and personal costs that they’re leaving behind.”
There is no scenario that comes to mind under which a reporter would have seen anything the last president did and said, “This is awful, but there’s nothing he could have done.”
A random man in Minneapolis died while under arrest, with a lethal amount of fentanyl and meth in his system, plus a severely compromised heart — a death for which another random police officer has since been convicted of murder. The media laid that very small, local news story at Trump’s feet while every major city burned.
By contrast, the 20 years of blood and treasure we sunk into Afghanistan ends with images of American military aircraft crawling with desperate Afghans, many of whom will likely be killed soon, and it’s, Oh well, there’s nothing that Biden could have done.
The point isn’t to look back and once again note how awful the media are. It’s to look forward and remember who they’re working for.