Who’s to blame for the mess in Afghanistan? Mostly, you and me.

Republicans (and some Democrats) are blaming Biden. Democrats are blaming Trump. The truth is we all — including you and me — share blame for the brutal Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

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Here’s the facts:

  1. Biden inherited a horrible deal the Trump administration made with the Taliban in which we agreed to pull out all our troops by summer 2021. With that said …
  2. Biden did not need to honor that deal. He’s the U.S. President now. He’s reversed several other Trump policies (as Trump did with Obama’s Iran deal), and could’ve done so on this one.
  3. Biden decided to honor the deal and pull out of Afghanistan, a decision supported by Trump, the majority of Congress and 73% of Americans at the time. It was a bold decision after 20 years of the status quo. However …
  4. Biden completely botched the American withdrawal. And his explanations to us have been horrible, casting the blame to Trump. The world is watching, and the U.S. looks really bad and unreliable.
  5. The Taliban not only has power and will undoubtedly return to its inhumane treatment of its citizens (especially women), but also billions of dollars of military equipment that the U.S. gave to Afghanistan.
  6. Russia has already assisted the Taliban fight the previous Afghan regime, and they will likely become allies now. China likely will, too. This will be a huge problem for the U.S.
  7. Trump, Biden and 73% of Americans — including myself — were wrong about Afghanistan. For the future protection of our own country, the U.S. should not have pulled out of Afghanistan. Unfortunately …
  8. We can’t turn back time. However, our country owes asylum to the Afghan people who helped the U.S. over the years. Not only should we maintain control of the airport, but troops should enter Kabul and rescue the dissidents, who will most likely be executed by the Taliban.
  9. This horrendous situation is not just the fault of the Biden and Trump administrations. They were both acting on the will of their constituents (remember that 73% of Americans wanted troops pulled out). It’s our fault. It’s one of the few issues that united us. The overwhelming majority of Americans, including myself, did not bother to educate ourselves on the nuances of the Afghanistan situation. We saw things in black and white. We were ignorant. But how could we have known? …
  10. The media (broad term) failed as well. Our news media is so focused on conflict and immediacy with “click-bait” headlines so stories can be shared easily on social media feeds. There’s no room for nuance. Our politicians have adapted to this, and if something can’t be explained in a headline, a 10-second soundbite or a funny meme, then it’s not a point worth arguing. Americans have rewarded this type of “journalism” with clicks and views. Our social media-driven short attention spans can’t handle more. Shame on us.

Afghanistan is Biden’s fault. And Trump’s fault. And the media’s fault. But ultimately it’s our ignorance that allowed this to happen.

Author: Joe Dennis

Journalist. Teacher. Announcer. Coach.