The only thing to talk about tonight is Afghanistan. I’m glued to CNN. I fear for the translators and others helpers who have been left behind. I fear for women and girls. I fear for civilization and Enlightenment truths and humanity.
Obama’s party was back in the news on Saturday, thanks to Maureen Dowd and the backlash on Twitter. Dowd compared Obama to Marie Antoinette and Jay Gatsby. “We already knew Obama gravitated to stars but it was disillusioning to see it on such a grand scale last weekend,” she said. Dowd quoted the authority on opulence, André Leon Talley, “I think the nouveaux riches Obamas are seriously tone-deaf.”
Obama’s party was extremely tacky. He invited questionable celebrities – at least one has an Epstein issue, another is a mean bully. Those who made the trimmed down invitation list flaunted their attendance on social media. There was even a logo for the party that was branded onto everything from the invites to the cocktail napkins. Ugh. If could invite anyone in the world to your party — and they would actually come — would you choose super rich people with the good cheek bones? Is it because super rich people want to hang out with other super rich people and share tips with each other about becoming even more super rich?
I have a problem with people whose preach temperance, wisdom, altruism, and the common good, turn that into a brand, and then make a ton of money from it. It’s a little distasteful. He just lost a ton of credibility.
But this is just supposed to be a linky type of post, not a prolonged essay on Obama, so let’s move on.
Nice basic recipe for stir fried veggies.
The dorm room furniture industry.
In addition to my obsession with tear drop campers and hot tubs, I am also creating Pinterest folders on decks (I want to build a massive one in our backyard) and funky huts in the woods.
Watching: Titans, Suicide Squad, White Lotus
Shopping: Inspired by White Lotus, I bought beach cover-ups and other gear on Amazon, because we are flying to Bermuda on this weekend.
Picture: On one of weekend adventures with Ian. Western New Jersey near the Delaware Water Gap.
48 thoughts on “SL 846”
“another is a mean bully”
I refuse to believe this of Chrissy.
Did you catch White Lotus tonight? We enjoyed it.
I am even less interested in what MoDo has to say than in what David Brooks has to say. Wait, no. But it’s close.
Re dorm room furniture: my kid actually asked for a new desk chair, but then I found out that his college discourages that, so now I am looking into something like this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XP2CDHG/ref=ox_sc_act_image_1?smid=A3TR7VRTYB8VXI&psc=1 , which goes on top of the awful desk chair.
Husband and I are watching Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the 2016 movie with Tina Fey as an inexperienced Afghanistan correspondent arriving in Kabul in 2006.
Biden isn’t supposed to surface until Wednesday. Jen Psaki is also on vacation. Good timing!
People were warning for months (years, even) about the translator problem. I don’t care if the US had a deal with the Taliban specifying an exit date. They’re the Taliban–we could have made them wait until we had our ducks in a row with regard to evacuations. I’ve also seen it pointed out today that a lot of the chaos in Kabul this weekend was caused by the fact that the US somehow lost control of our military air base and then commandeered the civilian Kabul airport–blocking thousands of Afghan civilians from being able to evacuate.
It’s not clear at this point who is responsible for this, but in the famous (alleged) words of Barack Obama during the 2020 primary, “”Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f… things up.”
There’s been a weird disconnect between administration statements (see Biden’s July 8 statement on Afghanistan denying that there would be a Saigon helicopter moment) and facts on the ground. I have no idea whether the administration is being misinformed, or whether the administration is willfully disregarding intelligence advice.
There are a bunch of clips here from the Kabul airport:
You may have seen the two clips with a US C17 taxiing on the runway, with hundreds of Afghans chasing it and running in front of it, some clinging to the airplane, and then eventually several people falling to their deaths from the plane. (I’m not 100% sure that it was the same plane in the two clips, but it seems likely.)
There has been some criticism of how early the US ambassador left Kabul compared to the UK and French ambassadors (who have stayed a long time doing visas at the airport), but a) we don’t know what their orders were from DC or what the agreement with the Taliban dictated and b) there are very fair concerns about the potential for a Tehran 1979 or Benghazi 2012 situation.
There are a lot of bad things that the Taliban could have done to interfere with the US evacuation that they haven’t done yet.
However, there are a bunch of Americans stranded in Afghanistan, and that could go very badly.
I’ve also seen it mentioned online that a lot of Afghans were denied refugee status to the EU and UK because Afghanistan was supposedly safe and stable.
If, in Google this evening, one types ‘third in s—-‘ it autocompletes ‘uccession for President’. Just saying.
I was never an Obama groupie, but agree that the party was signal of a post-presidency life that focuses on brand and celebrity and not service. I do think there is a Black American power structure and that a significant part of it is embedded in entertainment and that some of those celebrities and entertainers are flexing their power into politics (as in sports as well, say with the connection between LeBron & Stacy Abrams). But, big parties filled with entertainment influencers don’t signal service.
I guess, unlike Jimmy Carter, Obama already has a peace prize (which is pretty nuts).
Since I never had the super inflated sense of Obama that some liberals had, I’m not invested. But, it does make me no more likely to listen to Obama’s insights than John Legend’s (both of whom seem like OK people).
I in favor of huge decks. I think for modern folk (especially when small children running around in the grass is no longer happening), outdoor life works better on a deck and that they are easier to take care of than grass.
Our house is on a steep lot and on our lowest level (daylight basement) we have a large concrete patio. It’s right as a patio (and not deck), but I would very much like it to be something other than concrete.
Five of my friends lost their houses in Sonoma County because they had wood decks which caught fire from flying cinders last year. If they had had concrete, their houses would likely have survived. So, maybe concrete not so bad?
Heartbroken about Afghanistan. The talking point seems to be that it was done poorly. I’m certain that’s true, but the bigger issue to me is that this is what Americans wanted. Biden was just giving the public what they wanted, both right and left, an end to “forever wars.” I think the American people should take the blame as much as any politician. This is why both the right and left hated Hillary Clinton, this is why the left loves AOC, this is the right’s nationalism and America First, this is the left’s vision of every international intervention as colonialism and empire, this is the right and left narcissistically crying out but we should take care of our own first, this is fruits of sixty years of universities playing friendly with moral and cultural relativism, this is old-fashioned nationalism and old as the hills, this is the product of decades of movies and media splattering conspiratorial cynicism all over every form of idealism and univeralism. I’m angry at the people, not the politicians. At a certain point in a democracy you’re going to get what you ask for.
“I’m angry at the people, not the politicians. At a certain point in a democracy you’re going to get what you ask for.”
I don’t know about that.
I was curious about when exactly the State Department told US Citizens to get out of Afghanistan. It seems to have happened Aug. 7–one week before the fall of Kabul.
“A directive issued on Saturday [Aug. 7?] by the U.S. Embassy in Kabul calls on citizens of the United States to leave “using available commercial fight options” because they are “extremely limited” in their “ability to assist” due to “the security conditions and reduced staffing.””
But then we get to the really interesting part:
“All U.S. troops are expected to have left Afghanistan by Aug. 31, an end date that was moved up from Sept. 11, though more than 95% of them have already departed.”
That’s kind of nuts, isn’t it? Move 95% of US troops out of the country before getting US citizens safely out, to say nothing of Afghan interpreters.
I don’t know what the numbers are, but there are supposed to be hundreds and hundreds of US citizens stranded in Afghanistan right now, some of them stuck on the wrong side of Taliban checkpoints..
We’re now surging in thousands of troops to fix this. I’ve seen the number that there will be 7,000 US troops participating in the evacuation process, up from the original 2,500.
We also somehow lost control of the military airport near Kabul and have been forced to use the civilian airport, increasing chaos and hardship to thousands of civilians.
Let’s give the US man on the street credit: if you asked him if we do it this way, he’d say no.
It’s dumb, dumb, dumb.
There are also leaks from inside the Biden administration saying that they told him not to do it this way, but this is what he wanted.
Gross. How selfish to want an end to 20 years of war, how dare people. Of course, the American people wanted to do it in the chaotic, unplanned fashion, delivering war materiel to the Taliban, failing to evacuate people, denying visas to allies. Yep, just what the people wanted. You are gross.
How many Americans are in Afghanistan? (other than military) I tried googling and couldn’t find any estimates.
Meanwhile, the UK has estimated that around 50,000 US and British people, alongside their allies, will need to be rescued. They hope to airlift around 5,000 a day, meaning that operation could last for weeks.
That doesn’t include the other Europeans and other non-Afghani people suddenly caught by this clusterf***.
Cranberry quoted, “Meanwhile, the UK has estimated that around 50,000 US and British people, alongside their allies, will need to be rescued. They hope to airlift around 5,000 a day, meaning that operation could last for weeks.”
bj said, “How many Americans are in Afghanistan? (other than military) I tried googling and couldn’t find any estimates.”
I’ve seen “thousands” thrown around, but it’s definitely hundreds. A bunch of them are in hiding right now, so it may be hard to locate and extract them. At some point during the chaos, the US Embassy told Americans that it was too dangerous to go to the Embassy or the airport, so they should “shelter in place.”
Of course, some are journalists and may not wish to be evacuated.
Traditionally, as a US citizen, you are supposed to register with the US Embassy upon arrival to a foreign country, especially a hot spot like Afghanistan. So there should be at least a list of names–hopefully the US Embassy has the list or they shared it with the State Department in DC? Granted, the US Embassy has had a lot to do this week…It was literally only days ago that we heard that Kabul Embassy staff were being told to destroy sensitive records.
I’ve also heard that interpreters and other Afghan workers a) need their US IDs and stuff to establish their identities and get out but b) the Taliban is killing Afghans if they catch them with those items, so it’s a terrible dilemma for Afghans right now–risk your life, or risk your ability to escape.
I’ve also heard that the US has some biometric records for Afghan workers, but I don’t know how generally generally true that is, or how practical it would be to access and use those records on site–I’m assuming not very.
There’s also one US hostage still being held by the Taliban:
“[Mark] Frerichs is the last-known U.S. hostage held by the Taliban.”
“Frerichs was a U.S. Navy veteran working as a civil engineer when he was kidnapped by the Taliban in Kabul in January 2020.”
That’s a story from yesterday.
I have heard (and this seems to be correct) that the US did not arrange for his return when they were negotiating our withdrawal with the Taliban.
One of my kids is following a British young man who went to Afghanistan as a lark: https://meaww.com/miles-routledge-british-student-trapped-in-afghanistan-says-hes-fully-prepared-for-death
Update says this particular individual is OK:
“A 21-year-old British student who claimed he was trapped in Afghanistan in the midst of the Taliban’s takeover of the country has now been ‘evacuated’. Miles Routledge says he was let go by the Taliban after he told them he was from Wales.”
Hopefully the Taliban sees it in their interests to let foreigners go.
Afghans have been betrayed by their leaders and face a pretty bleak feature. The PM of Pakistan’s statement: “When you adopt someone’s culture, you believe it to be superior and you end up becoming a slave to it,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday in a veiled reference to the United States and Western culture. “In Afghanistan, they have broken the shackles of slavery,” Mr. Khan said at an appearance in Islamabad, “but the slavery of the mind does not break away.” (Pakistan is thought to support the Taliban among foreign policy folk).
There’s a lot of armchair quarterbacking at this moment about a mess 20+ years in the making (starting with the Pakistani support of arming the mujahadeen) in a very complicated nation.
Anecdotally, I’m hearing a lot of stories lately of vaccinated local doctors getting COVID, of not just the sniffles variety. The Biden administration is now recommending boosters 8 months after shots, so the timing on this fits, as a lot of doctors were vaccinated in December and January.
I heard from a friend that one of our 40ish vaccinated doctor moms from school has gotten COVID twice (I’m assuming the first time was before vaccination), with a bad case requiring Regeneron the second time.
This Wall Street Journal opinion piece was very helpful for me: https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-herd-provincetown-mayo-delta-mask-mandate-vaccine-passport-cdc-mucosal-immunity-11629128219
It may be behind a paywall; search for the title for more information. At any rate, the neurologist and neuroscientist points out that there are different modes of immune defense, in the bloodstream and in the nose. Vaccinated people possess internal immunity. People who have recovered from infection possess “mucosal immunity” as well as internal immunity.
The virus spreads through the nose. That is why vaccinated people can catch the disease–they don’t have as much mucosal immunity. Pfizer’s efficacy against infection is now estimated to be 42%. (It also means herd immunity is very, very difficult to achieve through vaccination.)
The last paragraph is interesting: But we shouldn’t shun people who have recovered from Covid. Vaccine mandates for in-person interactions—whether imposed by governments, employers or businesses—should make exceptions for the previously infected, who thanks to natural mucosal immunity are likely at less risk than never-infected vaccinated people of spreading the virus to others.
What Sebastien describes, “mucosal immunity”, is plausible, but he offers no empirical evidence in support of the mechanism actually playing a role. It may, but we don’t know. If true, It would be an argument in favor of masks for vaccinated folks.
I learned something the other day — people who have had covid (versus the vaccine) can have antibodies to the nucleocapsid in addition to the spike. So vaccines and infection are different, but we really can’t impute causation without evidence.
Segal, not Sebastien
He’s likely relying on these papers:
I saw this on twitter, from Sara Cook of CBS:
“A congressional aide tells @CBSNews
we have no partners left in Afghanistan to safely get Americans in-country to Kabul. “There are 10-15k AmCits who still need to get out, and that obviously doesn’t include the tens of thousands of SIVs or P2 applicants trying to get out of Afg.””
“The below note went out this afternoon to American citizens requesting to be evacuated from Afghanistan, @alanacbs
reports. It instructs people to come to Hamid Karzai Intl Airport in Kabul, but says the US govt cannot guarantee their safety as they make the trip.”
US citizens in Afghanistan are being instructed to get to the airport, but there’s no assistance for them to get there safely, and they face Taliban checkpoints.
The form letter from Hell.
“The form letter from Hell.”
In other US bureaucratic problems, this happened:
The Taliban has the US devices used for collecting biometric data for IDs, for example, for Afghan employees.
I don’t know exactly how bad this is, but it’s not great.
And NZ is back into lockdown….
We have a community transmission case (i.e. not someone already in quarantine after arriving here) – with no known link to the border.
It’s now confirmed that it’s the Delta variant, and we have another 4 connected cases announced overnight (family, co-workers and close associates) – including a hospital nurse (which is seriously worrying).
Case X – travelled for a holiday weekend while infectious – so the holiday destination (Coromandel), as well as the home city (Auckland) are both quarantined for 7 days. [His home suburb is about 4 suburbs away from me – or 15-20 minutes drive – so getting quite close to home.]
Because of the holiday issue – and the potential that other visitors may have become infected and taken the virus home with them – the whole of NZ is in lockdown for 3 days.
These are minimums. If the spread is wider – or continues to grow outside of existing households – then it’s likely to continue. [Government is allowing people to return home for 48 hours – so, if there *is* widespread community transmission – it’s almost certain to spread to the rest of NZ]
Our level 4 lockdown means that only essential workers (very tightly defined) may leave home, other than for exercise (local only), trips to supermarkets, and for testing/medical care. All other businesses are physically closed. It’s seriously tough on restaurants and personal service businesses (e.g. hairdressers).
Vaccination rates are still relatively low here – mostly due to supply, not demand. I have only just been allowed to book my vaccine (allocation based on age bands) – and the first available slot was the 3rd week of September.
Case X (age 59) was not vaccinated (though he claims he was trying, but failing to manage the online booking system). His wife (presumably in a similar age bracket) is fully vaccinated (and so far, at least, hasn’t tested positive). I suspect that Case X wasn’t trying very hard to get vaccinated – and didn’t want to give up paying work (he’s a tradesman) – to go to a vaccination centre – which are only open 9-5.
The nurse, who has tested positive – is fully vaccinated – so we’re hoping that she hasn’t spread the virus throughout the hospital system…..
Top priority is doing the genome sequencing – to determine the source (all cases in quarantine are routinely sequenced – for precisely this reason – it both enables the source to be identified – and possible transmission links to be identified and everyone in their contact circle tested; and gives an indication of the number of links in the transmission chain – number of mutations. Low is good – since it indicates a much shorter transmission chain).
So, we’re back to working remotely – we pre-empted the announcement at 6 pm last night – and called all staff back from 3 pm (when the news of the case was released) – and loaded them up with as much work as possible. Our operations manager, texted at 8 pm last night to say the last person and load of work was out of the building – and she’d locked up for the duration.
School is theoretically operating remotely, but teachers are spending today organizing themselves – and we’ll see what eventuates (I’m not hopeful).
Sorry, that was me – hit send too quickly 😉
Struggling with technology today!
Sorry, that was me – the send button seems to be ultra sensitive 😉
Yesterday, I saw military officers breaking down in a conference room after learning of the deaths of some interpreters that they had been working to get out for months. They did not choose to remain to the end as Biden has claimed.
Tulip said, “Yesterday, I saw military officers breaking down in a conference room after learning of the deaths of some interpreters that they had been working to get out for months. They did not choose to remain to the end as Biden has claimed.”
I’ve been hearing online that working on help for interpreters was a way to cope for a number of US veterans of Afghanistan, and that this has been a really hard time.
There’s going to be a lot of emotional pain for the US air crews who were involved with the deaths of Afghans who were running in front of planes or clinging to landing gear.
Somebody has to clean that plane and deal with that body–it’s going to be hard for people who are dealing with that stuff, even if on balance they were saving lives by operating evacuation flights.
Why did we give up Bagram Airfield? It would have been a lot easier to use Bagram as a base of operations, rather than taking over half of a busy civilian airport.
It looks like a White House and State Department decision. This article from last month (July, 2021) lays out the dysfunctional process of removing American troops from Afghanistan without a functional plan to evacuate the Afghani translators and workers. Note that there does not seem to be any concern about other Americans or Europeans, let alone our Nato allies.
Confirmation on the timeline of the evacuation flights came as President Joe Biden met Wednesday with Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, who earlier this week stepped down as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. Psaki said Biden wanted to personally thank Miller for conducting an “orderly and safe” drawdown of U.S. troops.
Miller, who oversaw the war effort for nearly three years, expressed dire concern in his final days as commander about the rapid loss of districts around the country to the Taliban, telling reporters that “ a civil war is certainly a path that can be visualized if this continues on the trajectory it’s on right now.” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who met separately with Miller at the Pentagon, praised the general for planning a “complex withdrawal of millions of tons of equipment and thousands of personnel” that “thus far been conducted without a single casualty.”
The administration is weighing using State Department-chartered commercial aircraft, not military aircraft, according to an administration official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
But if the State Department requests military aircraft, the U.S. military would be ready to assist, the official said. The Pentagon said as of Wednesday no requests for such assistance have been made by State.
This article was published a month ago.
Our armed forces are subject to civilian leadership. They follow orders. Even when the orders are stupid and dangerous.
There’s a long but good clip here where Clarissa Ward of CNN is talking to Afghan men in a crowd outside the Kabul airport about their various situations. Meanwhile, in the distance, the Taliban is firing automatic weapons to keep crowds from pushing into the airport.
Some have papers to prove they worked for the US, but aren’t being allowed through. One (a young guy speaking English with a very American accent) has a green card. Some have flights booked. None of them were being allowed through by the Taliban.
Admittedly, having too many people on the airport grounds could also be unsafe and impede evacuation, but this is a really dire situation.
It sounds like the UK military is going out into Kabul and collecting their people and the Taliban is aware of this.
AmyP, for context, this video has been posted to Youtube (and Twitter): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJkNTLncmWI
The description from the video: The footage is filmed by a turret gunner in a mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle, and it shows the use of AH-64 Apache gunships to clear the runway for C-17 aircraft. It also gives scope of the massive crowd of desperate Afghans that are hoping to hitch a ride out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
More recent reports suggest that the military side of the aircraft has been cleared of the Afghan mob and evacuations are being executed at approximately one flight per hour, and thousands of people leaving the country per day. An additional infantry battalion, with equipment, deployed to Kabul to help regain and retain security. The DOD stated an approximate 4,000 US troops are now on the ground for the 82nd Airborne Division-led evacuation effort.
It is so loud, I am not convinced one could hear someone else shouting. The same Youtube channel also features a video today from a contractor showing things left behind at the airport–rifles, cars, stuff. It is chaos.
Laura retweeted United 4 the People: “BREAKING: President Biden will require nursing home staff to get vaccinated or else lose Medicare and Medicaid funding.”
What’s he planning to do, dump the old people out on the street?
I’d be as thrilled as the next person if all nursing home workers got vaccinated, but what are the levers here supposed to be if something like 40% of nursing home workers aren’t vaccinated? There isn’t an enormous pool of people clamoring to be nursing home workers or an enormous amount of slots at 100% vaccinated nursing homes and the nursing homes know perfectly well that Biden can’t follow through on this.
Also, why not offer federal “bonuses” for nursing home workers who get vaccinated?
A bonus would be good, but I don’t think its enough without the mandate as well. Right now, it’s easier for the nursing homes to hire if they don’t try to navigate the vaccine The medicare/medicaid funding is a way to apply pressure on the nursing home owners.
bj said, “Right now, it’s easier for the nursing homes to hire if they don’t try to navigate the vaccine The medicare/medicaid funding is a way to apply pressure on the nursing home owners.”
Does it apply pressure on nursing home workers, though?
Can’t a lower-tier nursing home worker leave and find at least equally-paid employment elsewhere that doesn’t require COVID vaccination?
Maybe, but that’s probably a good thing to shift those who are adamant about not being vaccinated away from the most vulnerable population. Of course, if a mandate + a bonus does the trick, that would be great.
bj said, “Of course, if a mandate + a bonus does the trick, that would be great.”
That would be great.
WA’s governor Inslee just announced a state mandate to require all childcare, K-12, and higher ed employees to be vaccinated (in addition to an earlier mandate to require other state employees to be vaccinated).
and, an indoor mask mandate.
People were wearing masks at the upscale outdoor mall I ate lunch at yesterday with my kiddo, many outside, and pretty much everyone inside. We didn’t wear masks while sitting at our table outside and eating.
Matt Zeller, founder of No One Left Behind (a group that helps Afghan military interpreters leave Afghanistan and settle in the US), is a good follow.
“Some of our NATO allies have already figured out better solutions. Some like the French are just going out with their Special Forces and getting their people by whatever means necessary.
@POTUS, if the French can do it, so can we.”
“Others are having their evacuees meet at other locations around Kabul and then finding alternative means to get them to the airport. Both of those options are exponentially more effective and efficient than what we have on the ground right now.”
“The Taliban have checkpoints everywhere. If they find that you are carrying a passport or English documents or communications of any kind, they immediately confiscate them. Good luck getting the gate through without any documents or phones.”
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual for the State Department.
@Jeff Schogol tweets:
“I have been trying to help an Afghan interpreter in danger of being killed get to safety and the State Department just told him he needs to submit a letter from his HR department! How is this accelerating the application process?”
“How many Afghans is the U.S. government going to condemn to death because they need paperwork that is not possible to get at this point?”
There’s a clip here of a Western journalist interviewing several Taliban leaders (?) about their plans for the new order. Women will have rights under the context of sharia, etc. (That seems to be the canned Taliban answer these days.) Anyway, when the journalist asks whether people will be able to vote women into political office, the guys dissolve into guffaws and are so overcome by hilarity that they have to ask that filming be stopped.
The worst part of Biden saying ‘it was inevitable” and ‘I handled it as well as it could be handled’ is that he is claiming he expected this, but went on vacation anyway. Not one reporter will ever ask him about that.
Tulip said, “The worst part of Biden saying ‘it was inevitable” and ‘I handled it as well as it could be handled’ is that he is claiming he expected this, but went on vacation anyway. Not one reporter will ever ask him about that.”
There’s also the issue that his speech 5 weeks ago was totally different. He wasn’t talking about inevitable chaos then.
I kind of grant that some degree of chaos would be inevitable upon US withdrawal–but chaos comes in degrees and there’s the kind of chaos you have when withdrawing after making a good faith effort to evacuate US citizens, foreign nationals and Afghan allies versus the kind of chaos you get after spending years dragging feet about paperwork for very deserving people and spending months spouting misleading happy talk, making minimal preparations for evacuating thousands of people, and pulling the rug out from under NATO allies. (Biden has had extremely limited communications with other leaders over the past week.)
The Biden plan, insofar as there was a plan, seems to have been to assume that things would work out great as long as nothing went wrong.
I’m guessing that the current plan involves some kind of large bribe to the Taliban to keep them sweet. It doesn’t seem to be working, though, and I have a nagging suspicion that a) the Biden administration is seriously underestimating the number of qualified SIV applicans to be evacuated and b) their agreement with the Taliban doesn’t really provide for the successful evacuation of SIV applicants.
SIV applicants aside, we’ll be insanely lucky if no US citizen winds up a long-term hostage of the Taliban. Worst case scenario, the Taliban will easily be able to hold onto hundreds of US hostages.
There’s a really interesting stroll down memory lane here with regard to Joe Biden and the US evacuation from South Vietnam:
“As the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong swept south toward Saigon in 1975, thousands of South Vietnamese who had allied with the U.S. were in danger of recriminations from the Communist regime.
“Biden said: “I do not believe the United States has an obligation, moral or otherwise, to evacuate foreign nationals. … The United States has no obligation to evacuate one, or 100,001, South Vietnamese.”
“In April 1975, the remaining U.S. soldiers in the country numbered in the thousands. Ford argued that, as the last troops were removed from the country, the U.S. should evacuate the South Vietnamese who had helped the U.S. during the war too. “The United States has had a long tradition of opening its doors to immigrants of all countries,” Ford said. “We felt that a number of these South Vietnamese had been very loyal to the United States and deserved an opportunity to live in freedom.”
“Biden objected to this sentiment and called for a meeting between the president and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee so he could voice his objections to Ford’s request for funding these efforts. The meeting took place on April 14, 1975. Then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who led the meeting, said that “the total list of the people endangered in Vietnam is over a million” and that “the irreducible list is 174,000.”
“Kissinger said there were “Vietnamese to whom we have an obligation,” but Biden said: “I will vote for any amount for getting the Americans out. I don’t want it mixed with getting the Vietnamese out.””
“Biden instead called on the Ford administration “to help seek a negotiated settlement” with the North Vietnamese for “endangered South Vietnamese” that, instead of evacuating them, would ensure their “safety in place.””
“Despite opposition from Biden and other leading Democrats, the U.S. military evacuated over 130,000 Vietnamese refugees in the immediate wake of the collapse of South Vietnam, and the U.S. resettled hundreds of thousands of them inside the U.S. in the following years.”
I don’t know if that’s fair on the partisan side.
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