Afghanistan… I don’t know.

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The situation in Afghanistan is awful. Terrible. A disaster.

The question, from a US political point of view, is whether Joe Biden, or anyone, could have done something that would be better than a disaster, in the short and long term. Or, perhaps, whether the disaster is a mistake.

Tho’ when I say that’s the question, it implies that I think there’s an answer. If there is, I certainly don’t know what it is, or how anyone might begin figuring it out.

It's possible, even likely, I have implied here or elsewhere that I was against the UN invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. I was not. Whether I was ‘right’ about that, I don't know, but at the time, I thought that the UN should do something about the Taliban, and that the US should absolutely both support that and provide most of the force. I knew that it would be a disaster, but felt that it would be a worse disaster to not do anything, and obviously sanctions were not doing anything.

Also: it's possible that I will say something that implies either that I currently think that the US continuing to occupy Afghanistan would be better than leaving now, or that leaving now would be better than staying. I have no idea. They are both absolutely terrible options. Either one could be worse long-term. Pointing out the flaws in one option does not mean that I actually think the other is superior.

Finally: almost all the analysis by Americans, including my own, assumes that the choices are all on the part of the US, and that the citizens of Afghanistan don't have agency or responsibility for their actions, and that when it comes to choosing between terrible options, it not only should be the choice of the President of the United States, but that whatever the President chooses can actually happen. That attitude is ugly and bad, and when (not if) I slip into it, feel free to call me out on it.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

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