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CSotD: The war is over – Let the fighting begin

Ed Hall drew this one a few days ago, as the Taliban resurgence was just beginning, and it all fell down about as fast as that.

As appropriate a metaphor it is, it’s an ironic one in light of the continuing flood of “evacuating Saigon” cartoons, because, as noted the other day, Afghanistan is not Vietnam, but our intervention in that conflict was a result of a Cold War belief in the Domino Effect, that, if Vietnam went communist, all of Southeast Asia would follow.

Which didn’t quite happen, though Vietnam is one of those modern communist countries in which the ideology is somewhat watered down in the name of practicality. Laos is also listed as communist, but its struggles were side-by-side with Vietnam’s, not a result of what happened there.

But what the two conflicts have in common is that they have provided something else for Americans to quarrel over. It took a little while for the mythology of Vietnam to metastasize into the lies about spat-upon veterans and the overall with-us-or-agin-us retrospective pop history.

I played at a small concert in 1985, marking the 10th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, and it was a friendly gathering of veterans and protesters, somewhat like the meetings of Union and Confederate soldiers after our Civil War. There were no bad vibes, though I dropped Phil Ochs’ “White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land” from my playlist, in deference to a couple of ARVN vets who were there, since one verse questions their loyalty.

It took awhile to divide us over that, but, thanks both to social media and the general mood of the country, we’re already quarreling over this one even before the final choppers have departed.

 

British cartoonist Nicola Jennings puts the blame on Biden, though she appends a slogan not only associated with Iraq but with W’s premature celebration of a victory there that never was.

And, however much Biden’s administration has screwed up the evacuation so far, he’s certainly never claimed a victory.

 

Singaporean cartoonist Heng Kim Song (CartoonArts) shows an American soldier — a more universal symbol than Joe Biden — bugging out and leaving Afghanistan in the jaws of the Taliban, which is a fairer accusation, but one that can still be questioned in light of the collapse of the Afghan army.

The Washington Post has a horrifying report of Afghan soldiers and police turning their weapons over to the Taliban in the leadup to the American withdrawal, sometimes in hopes of mercy, sometimes simply for money, such that, by the time the push came, there was nobody left to resist it.

Which explains the speed of the fall, but brings Heng’s portrayal into question.

More to the point, it suggests that our own intelligence didn’t know what the hell was going on, which in turn explains — but does not excuse — the lack of a plan to get our allies out of danger.

 

Indian cartoonist Paresh Nath (CartoonArts) may have the most accurate analysis: The effort was there but the plant was never permitted to flourish, and the Americans walked away in frustration.

 

But the division in this country suggests a different type of corruption, and Australian cartoonist David Rowe’s suggestion might seem scurrilous if the new leader of the country had not been released from an Afghan prison on Trump’s request, and then feted in this country by Trump and Pompeo in talks that led to a promised withdrawal of American troops.

 

The Week reports that the GOP has taken down this triumphant 2020 announcement of the deal now that it appears to have gone sour, clearing the decks for attacks on Biden.

 

We can expect a lot of this sort of foolishness, which would fall under the category of “Consider the source” if it weren’t for the number of people who consider Boebert and MTG and that crew a perfectly acceptable collection of political theorists.

And who will forget how many of those now attacking Biden for withdrawing were recently demanding he do just that.

Whatever the US does, however successfully or unsuccessfully we readjust to try to get our Afghan allies to safety, this is going to become another front in our ongoing war against ourselves.

And lest we feel too superior to Afghanistan, it’s worth noting that we’ve begun threatening people who speak up at public meetings and physically assaulting teachers.

 

Meanwhile, let’s not forget the impact on Afghans who are neither soldiers nor translators but simply people who will, after 20 years of modernity, see the curtains drawn once more, as Chris Riddell puts it.

Particularly, those depicted in our

Juxtaposition of the Day

Peter Schrank

 

Ann Telnaes

I have no argument with women who choose to wear a hijab, chador or even a full burka, even if their choice is a result of growing up in a conservative branch of their religion.

But I have a very strong objection to women being told how to dress by the government, and being told they can’t be educated or hold jobs or even leave the house without a husband, father or brother as escort.

And I’d suggest that 20 years of freedom from those constraints are going to make the coming crackdown that much harder to abide,  particularly since, while Afghanistan has always been the “Graveyard of Empires,” it has not always been ruled, border-to-border, by religious fanatics.

Escape will be hard:

Pakistan has been in bed with the Taliban all along.

Iran is no fan of the Taliban, but whether they’ll set up refugee camps is yet to be determined.

The best bets may be the -istans to the north, which may be amenable to setting up camps with foreign aid. But then what?

Our anti-refugee Islamophobic conservatives may not be willing to offer much, but there are smaller countries with bigger hearts.

Meanwhile, if you want to see a good collection of articles on the overall topic, this week’s CNN Reliable Sources Newsletter will keep you busy.

Remember: As the popular saying goes, whatever you imagine you would have done in Germany in the 1930s, you’re doing it now.

Keeping up to date is the least effort you can make.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
August/16/2021
@ 9:24 am

“Where were you yesterday? You said coming over and helping set up was the least you could do!”

“It turned out that I could actually do less.”

#2 Mark Jackson
August/16/2021
@ 7:11 pm

I like the Hall cartoon, although he doesn’t seem to grasp the dynamics of the domino effect.

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