Hey Joe — Don’t Back Down! Get Out Of Afghanistan Now.
I love how just about everyone is piling on Joe because he appears to be the first President who doesn’t seem afraid to go down in history as having lost a war. And it’s not just the GOP which is trying to make political mileage out of our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Members of Joe’s own party are also coming out against this move because they’re afraid It could cost them plenty in the mid-term election next year.
What Joe happens to be doing is not showing himself to be unconcerned about our poor, hapless Afghan allies. He’s also not trying to cover up what appears to be another instance of faulty intelligence from the CIA. He’s not even demonstrating once again that he’s too demented to understand what’s at stake.
I’ve heard and read all three arguments over the last week and all three arguments are ignoring one, very simple point. Namely, that Joe has been totally and completely against the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan for more than the last ten years.
Back in 2009, Joe attended a bunch of meetings in the Obama White House when the military asked to increase U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan from 17,000 to more than 50,000 troops. Eventually, Obama played it safe and authorized the deployment of 30,000 more soldiers, the idea being that the emphasis would shift away from nation-building and focus on killing as many terrorists as could be found.
These White House arguments went on for several months and the individual who was most opposed to increasing our troop commitment because he didn’t believe that the Afghan government or the Afghan army would ever represent any kind of stable military or political force, was none other than Joe.
These arguments, and Joe’s very strong and very clear position against continuing to bumble along in Afghanistan, are detailed in Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, which appeared in 2010. You can read a good summary of the book published on the Vox website earlier today.
Why did Joe oppose the idea of ramping up our commitment to the Afghans? Because the government was hopelessly corrupt, the armed forces existed mostly on paper, and the Taliban represented a large segment of the country’s population except in the capital city and several other major urban areas where just about everyone with a job was on some kind of public dole.
Who was fronting for the dole? The U.S.A.
The latest number for what we have spent on Afghanistan — military and government aid — is somewhere around $2 trillion over the past twenty years. This averages out to around one hundred million each year which is a lot of money over there, but chump change over here. So, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Joe is pulling out of Afghanistan because the cash we send over there has been spent the wrong way.
Want to compare what will probably be the result of Biden’s decision to turn tail and run in Afghanistan versus how Trump acted as a ‘wartime President’ against Covid-19? Take a look at a masterful book about how Trump responded to the virus — I Alone Can Fix It. The book details how Trump made every decision about the virus by always keeping his eye on the 2020 election. Nothing else mattered to him.
The moment Trump realized that a successful response to the Pandemic might slow down the economy and kill his chances to still be in the Oval Office in 2021, he politicized the entire issue and went out of his way to denigrate any serious attempt to use proven public health strategies to keep things in check. The enormous spike in cases and deaths after November 1st, 2020, was the direct result of Trump’s decision to see the Pandemic as a threat not to the United States, but as a threat to his continued political life.
I think Joe demonstrates a remarkable ability to separate the decisions he has to make as President from thoughts and concerns about his own future success. And I don’t care if we lose the House in 2020. The red team will screw it up again and the blue team will quickly return.
Joe did the right thing in Afghanistan. I’d rather have McConnell running things in the Senate than our troops fighting and dying in a place where Western governments have sent troops to fight and die for almost two hundred years.