Support The Bulwark and subscribe today.
  Join Now

Not My Party: Biden Bungles Afghanistan

August 19, 2021
Tim Miller on Biden's Bungles in Afghanistan

This post is a transcript of Not My Party. You can find it every Thursday on Snapchat.

“After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. I stand squarely behind my decision.” [President Biden]

Help! Come and help! [Afghanis pleading]

The Taliban is coming for me! [Afghanis pleading]

This is “Not My Party.” Brought to you by “The Bulwark.” So, Biden has made his biggest F*%k-up yet. Imperiling thousands of Afghan allies who are trying to get out and leaving millions of Afghan women to suffer. But of course, it’s the GOP’s trust fund toad tossers who’ve managed to have the most loathsome takes.

“What’s going on here is Joe Biden wants a couple hundred thousand more Ilhan Omars to change the body politic permanently.”[Charlie Kirk]

“You are a sad, strange little man.” [Buzz Lightyear]

Look, there’s no doubt, this situation is complicated. So, let’s take it from the beginning. Our mission in Afghanistan has been FUBAR for a long time now.

[Saving Private Ryan FUBAR montage]

Y’all got that right.

In the two decades since we went in, 20,000 Americans have been injured, we spent trillions of dollars, and all told about a quarter million are dead on all sides of the conflict. We’ve been in Afghanistan so long that almost half of you watching this on Snap weren’t even alive when the war began.

“That’s ancient history.” [Simpsons]

“Oh, come on.” [President George W. Bush]

So, while there’ve been some successes.

“United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda.”—President Obama

In retrospect, it’s clear that the democracy in Afghanistan project was dead on arrival, an endeavor that I admit a younger, dumber, high school Republican Tim naively bought into.

“You were young.” [Mr. Robot]

Given this multi-decade show, the idea that we should cut our losses and GTFO was of course politically popular.

“Well, at least we tried.” [Schitt’s Creek]

It’s a position that Joe Biden has been consistent on for a long time now. You may not have heard this from Glenn Greenwald and Biden’s other dirtbag left critics, but while Obama and the generals were surging the troop numbers in Afghanistan, it was Biden who ranted internally about how we should get out.

“I hope that the blinders have been taken off here.” [President Biden]

But what happened in the past doesn’t excuse what’s going down this week. Yes, Bush badly misjudged the mission.

“Strategery.” [President George W. Bush]

Yes, Trump cut a deplorable deal that weakened the Afghan military, empowered the Taliban, allowed them to release thousands of imprisoned fighters, and left Biden carrying the bag.

“I do know what I’m doing.” [President Donald Trump]

But, Biden has made a sh*%$y situation, worse. Even if you supported the decision to withdraw, the execution has been utterly incompetent. Now we have to send in three times as many troops as we had there to try to minimize the humanitarian nightmare.

The fact that we did not at minimum manage to safely evacuate the 11,000 Americans, plus all of our Afghan allies who have risked their lives to help us over the years before the Taliban rolled in, is to our lasting shame. We’re leaving many of our translators to the mercy of imperious despots straight out of the Middle Ages. At The Bulwark, we did a text interview with an Afghan fighter who trained here in America, loves our country, but now is in hiding, fearing for his life. He has seven children. What did he do to deserve this? Thousands like him have spent months filling out forms, trying to get out of Dodge and are now in paperwork limbo, stuck in the world’s most hellish DMV. No wonder so many innocent Afghans were sprinting through the airport for help, hanging onto our jets. And some falling to their death. Our withdrawal also has massive implications for all of the country’s women and girls. Biden laid out his mindset like this.

“I can think of 10 countries where women and/or children are being persecuted or being hurt. Being abused a lot of places around the world. Are we gonna send our American forces all over the world and make sure that stops?” [President Biden]

Now, some of you might agree with that, but to me, it’s pretty cringe.

“F*&k that POTUS” [Veep]

Many women are gonna go from college or a career to essential enslavement, a life condemned to being stoned when you appear in public without your husband or a face covering. Where are the Instagram stories about the plight of the Afghan women? Where is the righteous wokester outrage?

Look, there are no easy answers to this, but the status quo was a tenuously stable stalemate. It’s not as if our only options were forever war or leaving our friends to die and Afghan women to suffer for a generation. But we made a choice to do the latter and now there are gonna be real, horrifying consequences. We’ll see you next week for more “Now My Party.”


Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.