Journalists reflect on Afghanistan as Biden prepares to announce troop withdrawal


Nearly 20 years in the past, within the White House Treaty Room, President George W. Bush introduced the start of “Operation Enduring Freedom.” Bush vowed that the US would win the War in Afghanistan “by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose.”

Flash ahead to now. After greater than 2,300 US casualties, President Joe Biden is ready to enter that very same room on Wednesday and formally announce the withdrawal of military forces earlier than the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terror assaults. After Biden delivers his speech, he’ll go to Section 60 of the Arlington National Cemetery, the place service members killed in Afghanistan are buried.

It’s an necessary second for the US — one which comes with fairly just a few editorial selections for the press corps. What ought to the main focus of protection be? The potential nationwide safety implications of the choice? What it means for the way forward for Afghanistan? The sacrifices that had been made there? The political infighting within the GOP? All of the above?

For some perception, I reached out to Jake Tapper, who has lined the Afghanistan War extensively. “One thing I learned while writing The Outpost was the importance of having humility about war, sacrifice, and the difficulty of these decisions,” Tapper stated. “Our politics too often lends itself to glibness — ‘end forever wars’ or ‘don’t surrender to terrorists’ — but our servicemembers and their sacrifices deserve more and better.”

“All of these discussions merit nuance and challenging easy answers,” Tapper added. “If we should stay there longer, how much longer? If we should leave in September, what might merit the need for troops to go back? What about all the troops that have been there for five tours already? What about the girls who will likely be subjected to Taliban repression? How close are the the Taliban and al Qaeda today and what threat does the latter pose to the US or our allies? None of this is easy and we shouldn’t pretend it is.”

“My son asked me today if we won or lost the war”

When I reached out to Jim Sciutto, he identified that the press would not precisely have a solution to essentially the most primary query of all. “My son asked me today if we won or lost the war. I realized as I answered him, it’s not clear,” Scuitto stated. “We beat AQ – for now – but the Taliban outlasted us, just as they said they would. And the Afghan people and government are basically left out in the cold. All our promises of a functioning democratic government and a healthier, less impoverished economy and peace – which I heard hundreds of times in dozens of trips there from countless officials and commanders – failed to materialize. Now, we can leave and they of course cannot.”

Sciutto’s recommendation? “I think we need to cover it with scope and context and humility as Americans,” he stated. “At a minimum, it is not all we hoped for or promised. My two cents.”

Maddow’s suggestion

The finish of the Afghanistan War led Rachel Maddow’s program Tuesday. Outside the coverage dialogue, she had this recommendation. “If you know any servicemen or women, any veterans who have served in Afghanistan … this might be a good time to reach out. Particularly, once the President has given his speech tomorrow. It has been a horrendous conflict there. … For a generation of post 9/11 Afghanistan veterans in this country, it is going to be a very, very big deal. So keep them in your thoughts…”

Divide in right-wing media

Just as there exists a divide inside the Republican Party about how to finest transfer ahead in Afghanistan, the divide is mirrored in right-wing media. Some of the extra pro-Trump shops had been on board with the choice, trying to give credit score to Trump for the plan. Others had been sounding warning sounds, saying it would lead to catastrophe…”

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