Charlie Pierce on the facts about getting out of Afghanistan:
Now that 30,000 people—and counting—have been evacuated from Afghanistan, I would like the elite political media, especially its cable TV news divisions, to tell me what the magic number is that will change the prevailing narrative. 40,000? 100,000? Everybody in that country except the leaders of the Taliban? All of southwest Asia? Let me know so I can stop telling people what a Benghazi-sized dog’s breakfast you all are making out of this story. It would be very helpful.
And now the “story” is that the president’s poll numbers have fallen? Will o’God, they haven’t learned anything since their forebears got lost along the White River in Arkansas years ago. Between the apparently impervious storyline of an Afghan catastrophe and the deliberate monkey-wrenching of the Covid response by Republican governors, Republican state legislatures, and the wilder elements of the Horse Pill marketing complex, it’s a wonder that people aren’t walking past the White House with strings of garlic around their necks. Instead, this president’s approval rating is still higher than the best number the former president* ever racked up.
On Sunday, Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, apparently felt himself pass over the International Fck-This-Noise Line and he took to the electric Twitter machine to explain, at non-Twitter length, how El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago and Murphy’s Republican colleagues worked together to make the process of getting people out of Afghanistan harder. Stringing Murphy’s thread together, we find,
Over the last decade, Republicans have pushed to intentionally create a massive backlog in the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program – the one we use to bring Afghan partners to America, by putting onerous conditions on the applications…In 2016, Obama asked to increase the cap for the SIV program. Senate Republicans objected. Then, the Trump Admin started slowing down SIV processing. When Biden took over, there were 10,000 unfilled visas, despite 17,000 applications in the pipeline.
This dovetailed with the assault by Trump and Republicans to destroy other refugee programs that bring Afghans to the U.S. Obama admitted over 2,700 Afghan refugees. Trump admitted 400, bc he had dismantled the refugee system. Biden had to rebuild it.And today Trump Republicans are making it clear they will oppose bringing more Afghan refugees to the U.S.. Steven Miller: “Resettling [Afghans] in America is not about solving a humanitarian crisis; it’s about accomplishing an ideological objective to change America.”
Quite simply, any report on the “catastrophe” in Afghanistan that doesn’t include these facts, especially the involvement of the odious Steven Miller, which continues to this hour, is not worth your time. Any report on the decline in the president’s poll numbers that doesn’t mention the deliberate efforts to sabotage his administration, and the real human cost of those efforts, can be considered disposable.
For a much more detailed explanation as to why the exit from the war — or any war — isn’t like taking a cruise, check out what Adam L. Silverman has to offer.
But the most egregious element of this story is the constant drumbeat of lying from the right-wing crowd who act as if they had no idea that The Former Guy set the stage for this exit, exacerbated by the lies about the refugees that are arriving.