20 Years Later, Fingers Point Over Afghanistan

Written by SK Ashby

As you've probably seen, the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating very quickly. The Taliban have seized control of most of the country in a matter of weeks and thousands of people are crowding the airport in Kabul in a desperate attempt to leave the country.

It's not pretty and there's no shortage of people relishing the opportunity to criticize a Democratic presidential administration they've been unable to attack so far.

All day Sunday the White House fended off a firestorm of criticism — rushing Secretary of State Antony Blinken onto Sunday cable shows to attempt damage control. Then Blinken, Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin and Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley briefed Hill lawmakers, some of whom railed against what they called a lack of preparedness by the Biden administration. Overwhelmed by pleas from those attempting to exit the country safely and the need for expedited visas, the Pentagon announced an emergency deployment of additional troops, soon to total 6,000 on the ground in Afghanistan.

Heart-rending images of desperate Afghans trying to board flights out of the airport in Kabul flooded social media, while Taliban militants broadcast live from the presidential palace amid reports of al Qaeda and other extremist prisoners breaking loose from government facilities.

Virtually every political news source is covered in stories like this right now.

The images and video coming out of Afghanistan -- which includes images of people falling to their death at the airport -- are ugly, but I'm not impressed by anyone pointing a finger only now in the year 2021.

I am 37-fucking-years-old and when we entered Afghanistan, I was a junior in high school for crying out loud. We've been there for the majority of my entire life on this planet. I have close friends who were wounded in Afghanistan so long ago their wounds are nearly voting age. And what is happening now was always going to happen. We could stay in Afghanistan another 20 years and then watch the same thing happen.

The Bush administration had no plan for leaving Afghanistan. The Obama administration listened to criticism and increased our presence in the country because our top generals said they had a plan to win. The Trump administration actually kickstarted the total withdrawal and ceded large portions of territory to the Taliban over the last few years. And now the Biden administration is making the tough choice to finally leave for good.

Blaming the Biden administration is easy and convenient, but we've been through two decades, a dozen sessions of Congress, and four presidential administrations that had no good answers.

Just thinking of all the things that have transpired over the last 20 years is staggering. We saw the 2006 resurgence of Democrats in Congress. We saw President Obama endure six years of partial or total Republican control of Congress. We saw the Tea Party and the Freedumb caucus. We've been through two stock market crashes and two recessions. We've been through a global pandemic. We saw the worst of Trump and his regime. The first iPhone was still six years away from being released when troops were deployed. And throughout all of these things, we've been in Afghanistan. It has always been an afterthought easily forgotten by the average person.

For better or worse, it will be forgotten again a month from now.

I don't believe the general public will hold any of this against the Biden administration for all the reasons I outlined above.