It’s bad enough that those war hawks are now somehow being cast as wise elders criticizing Biden’s withdrawal. But, as Judd Legum points out, the media has further distorted its lens by overlooking their roles in the debacle – and then presenting their self-serving views as authoritative.
Says the guy who killed multiple negotiations meant to end the war ... while the Taliban was in a much, much weaker position. https://t.co/PgSCHf0n6M
— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) August 18, 2021
Even worse, anti-war voices are being ignored. Judd Legum reported this week that a veteran communications professional has found it almost impossible to get the media to pay attention to prominent voices supportive of the withdrawal on television and in print: “I’ve been in political media for over two decades, and I have never experienced something like this before. Not only can I not get people booked on shows, but I can’t even get TV bookers who frequently book my guests to give me a call back,” the comms pro told Legum. “In so many ways this feels like Iraq and 2003 all over again. The media has coalesced around a narrative, and any threat to that narrative needs to be shut out.”
In other words, there are other worthy opinions out there; they are just not getting the attention they deserve. And they’re not just coming from lefty doves. For example, H.R. McMaster, Trump’s former national security adviser who also served in command roles in Afghanistan and Iraq:
"Our secretary of state signed a surrender agreement with the Taliban," H.R. McMaster says of Mike Pompeo. "This collapse goes back to the capitulation agreement of 2020. The Taliban didn't defeat us. We defeated ourselves."https://t.co/VwjVEoYipZ
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) August 19, 2021
Eric Alterman cites William Ruger, a VP at the Charles Koch Institute who was also Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan:
He praises Biden for “displaying real courage by sticking with a decision that remains prudential given the realities about Afghanistan and the United States. Biden is showing the requisite realist spine that America needs at this moment.” Ruger mocks his critics who claim the U.S. “could have stayed longer at a low cost, all the while preserving an Afghan government that was already teetering when even more American boots were on the ground. They also place the blame for the collapse we are seeing on withdrawal rather than on the failed two decade-long Afghan nation-building project and its architects.”
My colleague Susie Madrak rounded up some more voices that need to be heard.
Meanwhile, Ari Melber’s commentary (video above) Thursday night offers some hope.