by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jim Geraghty of National Review Online urges partisans to drop the spin when discussing Afghanistan.
The one trait that seems to unify every key figure in this administration is their stubborn belief that somehow they can spin their way out of an extremely difficult situation. The subtext of almost every administration statement since last weekend is, “hey, it’s not as bad as it looks!”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this afternoon, “it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded. They are not,” leaving everyone else wondering how else to describe situation where the U.S. military is sending out helicopters into other parts of the city to get Americans out, and the government is telling Afghan special immigrant visa holders to stay away from the airport “due to a deteriorating security environment.” If you can’t get out, you’re stranded. …
… Enough! There’s no good spin for this situation, so don’t even try. The administration should just level with the American people and the world, lay out just how difficult the road ahead is, and how challenging the circumstances are, and try to earn some respect through honesty. Winston Churchill did not try to fool the people of the United Kingdom into thinking that everything was fine.
The circumstances in Afghanistan are bad. We haven’t seen any American casualties yet, thank God. But we’ve got thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan allies who need to get out; the Afghan allies face Taliban death squads, and the average Taliban fighter isn’t known for his discipline and careful avoidance of civilian casualties. Local ISIS affiliates intend to kill Americans. The Taliban may well be bluffing when they threaten “consequences” for U.S. forces in the country after August 31, but only a fool would presume they’re bluffing. And after the evacuation is complete, we will have to deal with the Taliban running Afghanistan again, back in its old habit of hosting anti-American terrorist groups once again.