“Over the past few days, the images from Afghanistan have put on vivid display an inability to plan, an underestimation of a foreign adversary, an ineffective effort to scramble and make up for it and, as Biden demonstrated in a brief address Monday, an attempt to deflect full responsibility.”
This quote by Matt Viser, in a front page article entitled “Chaos Undercuts President’s Vows of a Steady Hand,” in the Washington Post this Tuesday, Aug. 17, constitutes an egregious violation of journalistic standards for its highly biased and opinionated characterization coming in the immediate aftermath of the Biden administration’s decision to end the 20 year debacle in Afghanistan. It is represensible and shameful for its effort to sway public opinion in the context of a so-called news article.
It is a blight on honest journalism. On the Post’s front page, this alleged news article about the situation in Afghanistan, including in one run-on sentence, contains no less than five highly-slanted negative assertions about Biden and his decision. Fortunately, this bald-faced attempt to sway public opinion has failed to work, at least so far, as polls show over 73 percent of Americans favor Biden’s decision.
Biden’s Afghanistan decision needs to be seen in the context of the historic infrastructure and national budget priority bills passed last week. Taken together, they shift in a massive way national priorities on economic development and investment in the nation’s future.
On the one hand, they trigger an enormous new level of investment in the well-being of the nation and its people. On the other hand, they draw down the obscene numbers that have gone to prop up the nation’s war profiteering machine with guns, not butter. For Biden and his agenda, the good news of last week’s legislative victories are complemented by his decisions this week about pulling out of Afghanistan. Together, they represent one seamless whole, something that is clearly lost not only on his critics, but so-called objective journalists alike.
As far as the Afghani situation is concerned, one of the best and most succinct observations was published on Facebook by a powerful journalist and former friend, a respected contributor to the American Prospect, Mother Jones, the Nation and other publications. Robert Dreyfus summed up his view thusly, not shrouded in slanted excesses, but straightforwardly:
“Let me just say that I agree 100 percent with President Biden’s decision to end the war in Afghanistan. 100 percent. It should have ended many years ago, and in fact it was the wrong move in 2001 to invade Afghanistan in the first place.
“President Bush II was wrong to go in, and neither he nor any of his aides knew anything about the country they went to war against. It was not, as Obama called it, the ‘good war.’
“The debate will turn political here, with Republicans blaming Biden’s decision to pull out, and Democrats pointing to President Trump’s decision to strike a deal with the Taliban last year. But this war was lost before it started, just like the far more catastrophic one in Vietnam.”
Well said. Of course, there is going to be pain associated with this courageous decision by Biden, and that also should not be sugar-coated. But we have a president now who is willing to stand for his decisive decisions and not pander to public opinion or political pressures brought to bear. His political supporters need to redouble their resolve to stand with him on this monumental decision that will bring an end to a terrible period in our history.
In real life, contrary to fictions and fantastical story telling, few things come without difficult and painful consequences. While these should never be minimized or glossed over, it is most valuable to remind the public that embracing these downsides is evidence of political courage and leadership, not the opposite.
The wholesale collapse of the Afghani resistance to the Taliban has only confirmed the necessity of President Biden’s decision. It demonstrated that there was, and is, no appetite among the Afghani people for defending a regime or military propped up by an outside force. History teaches us a painful lesson in this regard.