Everyone, everywhere, every minute, on every television network or news publication, is attacking, blasting President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on what they all describe as the Afghanistan debacle. But the fake outrage is not only hypocritical, it is also highly misguided, in fact quite annoying.
From The New York Times to the Washington Post to Fox News or CNN, everyone has become an expert on Afghanistan. In fact, everyone seems to now know exactly what was expected to happen there. It’s only that they all know it now when the events have happened and Kabul has fallen to the Taliban.
They all knew that the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani would flee the country and that Afghan security forces who have been trained for 20 years by the United States would not even put up a fight and would just hand over town after town, and province after province to the Taliban within 10 to 11 days.
Many ‘television commentators’ are now relying on a report in The New York Times that quoted some officials in the intelligence community as claiming that they had warned against what has now happened. The only problem is those anonymous sources did not leak their “classified assessments by American spy agencies over the summer” when it was worth it.
It’s almost like the domestic terror attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. that happened in our backyard on January 6. After several people had been killed and injured and the United States had been disgraced around the world, there were leaks that claimed the intelligence was there all along. The only problem was, those leaks came after the people had already died and the Capitol had already been attacked and the attempted coup had already almost succeeded.
Such intelligence is almost like intelligence from hell, the type of intelligence that always comes out after the facts, after the house has been burned to the ground and the people inside have been burned to death.
But here are the facts that were known at the time President Biden decided to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan. More than 200,000 people had died in that war that had lasted for 20 years. Trillions of dollars had been spent to train Afghan forces, rebuild parts of the country and sustain U.S. presence there. There was no exit plan.
In fact, many people gave vague answers when asked what the United States was still trying to achieve in Afghanistan when the threat of terrorism is obviously everywhere and in many other countries.
If terrorism was the reason the United States has spent 20 years in Afghanistan following the deadly terror attacks on American soil, then the United States will spend many years in many, many other countries where terrorism is also cited as a threat to the United States.
If human rights and the rights for women and girls could explain why the United States was in Afghanistan for 20 years, then the United States will spend many years in many parts of the world, including in Saudi Arabia where women still face unbelievable discriminations.
The obvious truth is there was no exit plan. The entire scheme had become a very corrupt business that empowered the generals and the politicians as billions of dollars were at stake every month for 20 years. Pulling all the troops out of Afghanistan meant the end of that corrupt enterprise.
In fact, from the way it all unfolded, from the way Afghan forces just refused to fight, it is almost obvious that the billions of dollars from the United States were not having any impact on the lives of ordinary people in Afghanistan, even as politicians became richer and richer and richer.
The only reason I can explain the current outrage is only about the U.S. image abroad, not about the atrocities of the Afghanistan war, not about the people who were bombed to death during that war, children, women, and the innocent who killed. It’s not even about the the massive corruption there, the waste of billions of dollars, the inability to even explain what the United States was still trying to do in Afghanistan. People are outrage because they saw the chaos at the airport not the bombs that killed many for 20 years. For those who are outraged, they should be outraged about the war itself and not the end of a devastating, useless war.
As President Biden said on Monday, “Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country” and “The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.”
He is right. It was a lost battle and there was no point being there for many more years. The outcome would have been the same: More deaths, more money pumped in there, more corruption, more corrupt people asking the U.S. to stay, more people glad to manufacture and sell more bombs and rifles, nothing good could have come out of there.
And for those who say the execution of the exit was poorly done, or trying to compare it to Saigon in 1975, many fail to remember that the U.S. lost almost 60,000 troops in Vietnam. Most importantly, they fail to acknowledge that no one knew with certainty that the Afghan military will just flee the battlefield within days of the Taliban advances. No one. No one at CNN, no one at Fox News, no one at The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal. No one leaked classified information to warn the nation about that possibility.
Anyone who now claims they knew it with certainty should just write us and get an award now that the facts are all out.
The focus now as President Biden said yesterday should be to evacuate Americans and all other citizens who need and want to be evacuated. The rest is a blame game that only serves as a distraction.
Simon Ateba is the publisher and White House correspondent for Today News Africa in Washington DC. His opinion does not reflect the position of Today News Africa.