Why are the White House’s international clocks wrong in a photo from Sunday?

biden afghanistan

I’m not a military, diplomacy or Taliban expert. America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan looks like a complete and utter sh-tshow, and it’s painful to see the Afghans who helped Americans, British and coalition forces get left behind. We were in Afghanistan since October 2001 – the twenty-year anniversary of the invasion is looming, as is the twenty-year anniversary of 9/11. Thousands of Americans lost their lives in Afghanistan trying to rebuild the country and ensure that when we left, it did not become yet another failed state, yet another haven for terrorism. The second we left, the Taliban took over. As many people knew they would.

While I absolutely think President Biden could have and should have done things differently, seeing Republicans and social media “military experts” put all of this at Biden’s feet is pretty disingenuous. What’s happening now was a failure of four administrations: Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden. They all own it. They all broke it. But of course, people are shouting “impeach Biden” over this, because they were literally shouting the same thing over mask mandates and vaccines.

To show that he’s monitoring the situation, the White House comm team posted this photo, above, on Sunday with this message: “This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul.” Exactly what you want to see President Biden do, right? Except people are focused on the London and Moscow clocks and asking why the Moscow time is wrong, and whether this is actually a photo from February. Moscow should, at the moment, only be two hours ahead of London.

biden afghanistan2

So is this an old photo and the White House just recycled it for some reason? Did Biden not actually meet with anyone on Sunday? Or did an intern just forget to change the clocks in the Situation Room?

President Biden Delivers Remarks on the Build Back Better Agenda

Photos courtesy of The White House, Backgrid.

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100 Responses to “Why are the White House’s international clocks wrong in a photo from Sunday?”

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  1. Amy Bee says:

    The war on terror was built on a false premise that only resulted in an increase in terrorism and the destruction of many countries and lives. Nation building is never achieved by foreign intervention. I guess worrying about the clocks being wrong in a picture serves as a distraction from the shame felt for utter failure of this military campaign of which Biden cannot be absolved.

    • Sue Denim says:

      I was just thinking how it’s been one awful thing after another since at least 2000 from the GOP — from basically stealing the WH via the SC in 2000 (where would be on this and on climate change, on the SC and so much more had Gore been pres?), to the total lack of a work ethic from GWB (his stupid paintbrushes notwithstanding) that might have made 9/11 possible, then the lies that got us into Iraq as well as Afghanistan, the massive expansion of the “war on terror” using 9/11 as pretext that created a domestic surveillance culture w all that entails, the 2008 meltdown which could have been avoided w better regulation of finance, the changes to the SC throughout that time that helped open the door for foreign interference in our elections not to mention the war on women’s rights and so much else, Trump on and on. But yes, Biden will prob be blamed for this and it’s just so wrong… And they’ll find some way (e.g. clocks, or emails or a birthday party) to do it…

      sorry to rant, it’s just so shocking to me still how much the GOP and their allies gets away with…

    • Seraphina says:

      Amy Bee, I agree with almost all you say – except the last part. I agree with Kaiser that the last several administrations bare blame as well. Biden is caught in a predicament of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Many blame this all on Trumps negotiations in 2020. My worry is for the people who are there and helped the troops; who now may more than likely be persecuted.
      As for the time difference, many state it’s an old photo from before March 28, when London went ahead on Daylight Savings Time, but Moscow didn’t. Regardless, I think they may release older photos due to security issues – which makes sense.

      • Amy Bee says:

        @Seraphina: Biden was a senator when the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and was VP when Obama maintained the status quo left by the Bush Administration.

      • Seraphina says:

        Amy Bee, understood – but I understand bigger powers are at play as well. To be honest, there is so much that goes on behind closed doors and dealing with other countries and corporations as well – we never know all that is behind our political maneuverings. He is not blameless, but to rest this on Biden like many have done is unfair. But I do find it just gut wrenching people are stuck there and his administration could have handled it better.

      • Gail Hirst says:

        Trump is under the thumb of the pro-gun folks who made a TON of money off this war.
        Follow the money…..

    • TeamAwesome says:

      This particular cluster cuss can be traced back to Reagan and his take on how to fight the Cold War. Followed by decades of varying degrees of what now?

    • LilacMaven says:

      The main people at fault for this disaster are George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.
      They went in without a clear plan, let alone an exit strategy. They had almost 7 years to develop one. They never did. They were too busy starting a bogus war in Iraq.

      As for Biden, he wanted out in 2010. Unfortunately, Pres. Obama chose to listen to the military and intelligence “experts” who backed The Surge. Obama is very clear in his memoirs about the fact that Biden openly opposed it and was one of the few in his administration who did.

      Yes, Biden voted to fund the war in Afghanistan. A war most Americans supported in 2002. Unlike many politicians – and ordinary citizens – he appears to have actually learned something from that mistake. Perhaps, losing his sons because of Iraqi burn pits played the biggest role in that.

      He does not share the same level of responsibility for this mess that his predecessors do. Not even close.

      Botched or not, he’s getting us out. He’s not clinging to the fantasy that we can stabilize Afghanistan. And that’s something no other politician has had the guts to do over the last 20 years.

      • LilacMaven says:

        @Amy Oh, and by the way, Amy, Biden as VP opposed The Surge. He wanted us to leave Afghanistan. It’s all in Obama’s memoirs. So your insistence that he bares the responsibility for Obama’s decisions about Afghanistan is inaccurate. He advised him to leave.

  2. Nanny to the Rescue says:

    Even if it’s an honest mistake by some intern, this really isn’t helping Biden’s image right now.
    The “it’s an old photo, Biden is on vacation still” is spreading like wildfire.
    The president really needs to address the Afghanistan situation in person, soon.

  3. Nina says:

    This is beyond heartbreaking. There was enough time to make things different, to at least help all American allies to get out if the country. This is a true tragedy

    • Sigmund says:

      “There was enough time to make things different.”

      There wasn’t though. I’m not disagreeing with the part about giving allies a chance to leave the country, but the US remaining in Afghanistan indefinitely was never a good solution. Many Afghanis don’t feel a particular connectedness to the country, and instead identify most with their tribe, so a lot of the national-level organization was coming from the US. Whether the US left now or later, it was never going to go well once we did.

      • Erin says:

        I agree. This was always going to happen whether it was now or 20 years from now and the lightening speed at which it did makes it very obvious that there were deals made and corruption happening in the months/years leading up to it. The Taliban was bidding their time, making their moves and playing the long game and it paid off.

      • Becks1 says:

        Yes, I saw a quote on twitter from someone who sat in on several meetings over different administrations about this and he said whenever the question came up about “when will the taliban take over again” the answer was always “when we leave.”

        It doesn’t make the situation any better and I do wonder what we could have done to minimize the damage left in our wake, but it does feel like the Taliban was just waiting and preparing and was able to seize the opportunity much faster than people anticipated.

      • Mac says:

        I heard a former Marine say you have to have the watch and the time. The US had the metaphorical watch with it’s military might, but publicly stating an end date to US engagement gave the Taliban the time. They knew when the moment was coming and they were ready.

    • Jensies says:

      This is a true tragedy. If folks want to help donate money to Afghan women especially, Women for Women international is doing good work. Red Cross as well.

    • LilacMaven says:

      I’m sorry, his predecessor, who signed the Doha treaty had years to plan. He didn’t.

      Biden has had 7 months. During which time he’s had to face an economy that was still in the toilet when he was sworn in, an insurrection, and a raging pandemic.

      7 months isn’t long enough to clean up 20 years of incompetence. It just isn’t.

      And if he’d stayed longer, make no mistake, the Taliban would’ve started attacking us again. The only reason casualties were down for Americans is because of the Doha deal. If they thought we were intending to break that, and remain in Afghanistan, their would’ve renewed their attacks. We would never have been able to hold them off for long with the skeleton crew Trump left in place before f-ing off to Mar-a-Lago.

      Also, Trump deliberately blocked and slowed down the resettlement of Afghans in the US during his 4 years. This article is from last year and details that fiasco:


  4. Sigmund says:

    I am curious what’s up with the clocks. Using an outdated photo doesn’t seem to fit with the transparency Biden has said he wants.

    I don’t hold Biden specifically to blame for Afghanistan. It was a hot-potato situation. It was never going to work, and one president after another kept delaying pulling out troops because they didn’t want the negative headlines.

  5. M says:

    I love how a man who wasn’t President in 2001 is being blamed for the results of a war he didn’t start. We had to leave at some point. If he hadn’t done the withdrawal and the Taliban massacred our troops while taking over, he’d be blamed for that too. The hypocrisy is maddening.

    • Paloma says:

      I don’t blame Biden particularly, surely he was advised by you know the military higher ups in charge now. But I wish someone had a better plan than to leave. Were our soldiers dying there still? Were they more disruptive than stabilizing ? If not, I think it was worth the monetary cost to stay. Now Russia and China are acknowledging the Taliban and things will get weird

      • Kay says:

        It hasn’t been stabilized in the 19 years we’ve occupied it. The US is never going to be able to stabilize it. Even my most Trump-loving relatives who served there have acknowledged for the last TWO DECADES that the end game could only ever be offering refuge to those in need when we leave.

      • LilacMaven says:

        No, our soldiers weren’t still dying. And there was a very simple reason for that: The Doha deal. The deal where Trump agreed (without input from Afghanistan’s government or international allies) to leave by May 2021.

        Biden managed to buy a little time to try and make the evacuation less chaotic. It didn’t work. But the timeline to leave isn’t on him.

        Frankly, even if we’d managed to start with a more orderly withdrawal, the moment the general population realized we were leaving, there still would’ve been desperate people storming that airport. This was never going to end any other way.

        If we had violated that Doha agreement the Taliban would’ve begun attacking us again. We would’ve been required to send in thousands of troops to combat them. How many Americans would support a second Surge? I wouldn’t.

        My brother served two tours there, and frankly, I’m glad he’s never going back. You may feel it would be “worth it” to risk more Americans lives. I don’t.

        If we couldn’t stabilize that country in 20 years, we were never going to.

        If a majority of Afghan men didn’t come around to supporting rights and education for women in 20 years, they were never going to.

        If after 20 years the Afghan government couldn’t root out corruption, and find a way to feed and maintain the army we trained at for them, they were never going to.

        My heart breaks for anyone who becomes trapped there. I hope we are able to evacuate as many people as possible. I believe we should accept any Afghan refugees who makes it out and requests asylum. But 20 years is long enough.

  6. fluffy_bunny says:

    I think I just saw something on the news that he was at Camp David this weekend so he wouldn’t have been in the WH. It might explain why they used an old photo.

    • salmonpuff says:

      I also heard he was at Camp David this weekend. Regardless, in the middle of negotiating a disaster, security concerns are going to trump transparency every time. They may not have wanted to show who he was actually speaking with or other sensitive information while American personnel lives are on the line.

      I feel for the Afghan people, particularly women and girls. And while Biden is not innocent, given his prominence in government over the last two decades, I’m reserving my rage for Bush and Cheney and their military contractor pals who got very, very rich off the suffering of both the Afghan people and our own soldiers and military families.

      • Darla says:

        Let’s not forget trump who had 5000 Taliban fighters released and also negotiated to have Baradar, a Taliban co-founder, released in 18. And now that’s the guy who will be running Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. So…We must always remember that no matter how awful, corrupt, and maybe even evil those who came before were, there was no act Trump didn’t well, Trump, make worse, and do something more depraved. The most depraved. Trump. Trump don’t walk on this, and I better not see the media making that happen.

      • Seraphina says:

        @salmonpuff, thank you for the comment with sanity. Security trumps transparency every time. And transparency doesn’t mean the entire world (because in the digital age it becomes global) has to know what is going on with hypersensitive matter of state.

      • Amy Too says:

        I guess I don’t see why photographs were necessary though? Just include the text portion of the posts saying that he’s working in his situation room to closely monitor what’s happening in Afghanistan, and don’t include any photos. Old photos lead to all this mistrust and stupid conspiracy theories. They created a silly problem for themselves that they really didn’t need to create.

    • Eurydice says:

      This is supposed to be a photo from Camp David.

  7. STRIPE says:

    I’m of two minds here:
    1) of course this isn’t all Biden’s fault. This has been going on for 20 years. If the Afghan army isn’t prepared to defend their country after 20 years and trillions of dollars, they never would have been. It was time for us to leave long ago.

    2) there are Americans and other diplomats on the ground stranded at the Kabul airport. I’m also fairly certain all of those translators and others who helped us who are now facing certain death are not out. That is completely unacceptable and *that*, unfortunately, is on the Biden admin for not planning better. They needed to get people out before the withdrawal or showed some urgency once it was clear the Afghan army was letting the Taliban take over with no pushback.

    • Jayna says:

      As a huge Biden fan, I am so disappointed in him regarding point number 2 of your post. WE needed to get out. But, boy, under Biden’s watch, this was really bungled as far as the exit planning for all of the translators and Afghan nationals who helped us. It is unacceptable the way he handled it, and I’m shocked that Biden wouldn’t heed the advice of many on the urgency of that since last April or even before.

      • Legalese says:

        You don’t seem to understand how the State Department works. Closing the embassy and evacuating Americans last week would have signaled to the Afghans that the US had lost all confidence in their ability to fight the Taliban. There was worry that this would demoralize the Afghan forces. Non-combatant evacuation operations (NEOs) are not something the State Department takes lightly and are the ultimate symbol of abandonment, loss of confidence, and military failure. This is why the State Department refused to ramp up evacuations even as the Pentagon advised them to do so. So not really as simple as “Biden’s administration” did this.

    • Purplehazeforever says:

      I don’t think the administration could have been prepared for the Afghan army being unwilling to defend themselves against the Taliban, so any transition was going to marred by their inaction. However, the US military is defending the Kabul airport & arranging for transportation of Americans to go home. Afghan translators were also getting out from what I understood due to UK’s help.

      • Darla says:

        Maybe. They won’t all get out tho, and i’ve been reading about Afghani women journalists in hiding there, no way out. What’s going to happen to them will be on Biden.

      • Va Va Kaboom says:

        Everyone knew the Afghan army would fall quickly. Anyone who has paid the least bit of attention knew they’d actually fold almost immediately. I remember documentaries from a decade ago that had people on the ground clearly laying this all out.

        But we needed a “win” or at least the semblance of anything but a $2 trillion clusterfuck that only ruined good people’s lives and enriched the soulless (on both sides). The top military and government officials have been lying about the viability of the Afghan Army for decades. Well, that or they’re so wholly incompetent and out of touch they genuinely didn’t see this coming…. which is almost worse.

    • Seraphina says:

      @ Stripe, I completely agree on Biden having failed with not planning better to evacuate those stranded there. I cannot imagine the fear they are going through. It makes me ill to even think about it.

      • Legalese says:

        They didn’t fail to plan for evacuations. What happened was a deliberate decision by the State Department, which felt that ramping up evacuations too early would demoralize Afghan forces.

      • Seraphina says:

        @Legalese, is that what news sources are saying?

      • Darla says:

        Well whatever anybody felt Legalese, it’s not turning out too well! It’s getting worse by the minute and now Biden is going to address the nation today, which means they know it’s much worse than they thought or felt or planned for. People falling off American planes they’re desperately hanging onto because what’s waiting for them below is even worse, does not make for good impressions. Even I’m shocked at how badly this was planned, and I didn’t have high expectations on this.

      • Amy Too says:

        How much faster could the Afghan forces have given up the country though if they *had been* “demoralized”? Because this happened so quickly anyways. So what was gained by making sure they didn’t feel demoralized? Was any time gained? Doesn’t seem like it. And was has been/will be lost by waiting and waiting to evacuate? A lot.

      • superashes says:

        Once the Doha agreement happened the Taliban set about making deals to take over all of these areas. Basically cash for guns. The overthrow was won before they even got started and, honestly, I don’t think anyone is that surprised at how quickly the Taliban took back over. We’ve had tons of local leaders to double cross us from the get go.

        I really don’t understand anyone making a decision that early withdrawal would be demoralizing, knowing the full scale of what we knew by the end of this two decades long nightmare. No amount of sitting in an embassy as a point of inspiration was changing this outcome.

  8. Oh_Hey says:

    This was always going to happen. Always. Afghanistan was what took down the entirety of the Soviet Union.

    Most of the country is extremely rocky and divided by mountains. The people speak different languages and don’t have an Afghan identity beyond their own tribe. The infrastructure was and is non-existent. The army surrendered instantly because it was just a job in country with literally no other jobs.

    The only thing that can be blamed on Biden was not getting the civilians that wanted out out, especially translators and native support staff out on the first planes last month. The rest of it was inevitable and anyone saying different hasn’t been paying attention. Afghanistan is called the Empire Graveyard for a reason.

    • TigerMcQueen says:

      Thank you. This.

      The second the decision was made to invade by Dick Cheney, I mean GW Bush, this was going to happen, no matter how long it was before we left or who was president.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Years ago a former friend who has family from the Middle East said that it will never embrace democracy, tribalism is far too entrenched in the society, mind set and religion. As you say there is no self identity beyond the tribe they belong to. This person also went on to say that history has shown that if they are not fighting the west and/or Israel then they are fighting amongst themselves – it has always been that way and will continue to do so because of extreme tribalism. It will take a very strong leader to unite the tribes and make them work together – look at all the drama that seems to happen within the Saudi royal family with the various family factions/tribes fighting for power.

    • A.Key says:

      You can say the same thing for all of central Asia and the Middle East. This is not about landscapes or (the lack of) nationalism, its about poverty, lack of development and a clash of cultural and ideological values. Just like all of Middle East and most of Asia, Western Christian and capitalist norms do not fit with the traditional societies and ways of thinking. Especially when you take colonial resentment into account.
      But apparently only adherence to Western ideology gives you acceptance on the international scene. Many people disagree with that. And in this disagreement and push back against Western hegemony you get greedy lunatics who take advantage of rising instability to grab power and hide behind religion to impose tyranny and dictatorships.

  9. Willow says:

    I don’t what the answer is in Afghanistan but I do know we need to stop being the world’s police force. Bush should have been strategic and stayed focused on taking out the terrorists that took down the towers. But he wanted the media attention, so he started a war. This is the result.

    • North of Boston says:

      Oh, that’s not why he and Cheney lied through their teeth and started a horrible war. It was MUCH more cynical and purposeful than simply wanting media attention.

  10. MellyMel says:

    This was always going to happen whenever we left. Not sure you can blame something that’s been going on for 20 years on Biden. The only thing you can blame on his admin, is not getting Americans/allies out safely.

  11. Jessica says:

    Yeah, echoing what everyone else said- the fall was inevitable and obviously going to happen as soon as we announced withdrawal. How many thousands of soldiers have died over the past 20 years? How many millions of civilians? We, yet again, went in and destabilized an entire region, just to spend some $$$. The US never learns. And the situation with the translators is beyond awful, I cannot believe how callous we’re being toward them. Thanks for the help over the past 20 years, have fun facing certain death cause we don’t care enough about you to give you a visa. I would say I hope we’re better in the future, but the US never learns. They’ll do the same thing again in another region and we’ll sit here at the end going “how did this happen?”

  12. Lauren says:

    The mess in Afghanistan started in the ’70s-’80s when the mujaheddin were being armed by the US to fight against the URSS army present in Afghanistan at the time. When the URSS left and the Afghan government fell, the mujaheddin became the Taliban in the 1990s and sharia became law. If anything the US created this mess and then went on to worsened it when they invaded in the early 2000s. Biden was dealt an ugly hand since he inherited a 20-year-old senseless war, but a completely different approach should have been taken before removing the US troops. What is happening in Afghanistan now is the result of western countries not wanting to understand that their model of democracy cannot be applied to every country.

    • HandforthParish says:

      The Taliban took over from the mujaheddin- just before 9/11 the mujaheddin-led Northern Alliance fell apart when its leader Massoud was assassinated.
      Then all hell broke loose.

      And as ever, the biggest victims are and will be women and girls- the Taliban are rounding up girls as young as 12 as brides for their fighters.

      • Darla says:

        I believe Massoud was assassinated the very day before, on 9/10 if memory serves, but either way, it was very close and very planned yeah.

  13. Nina says:

    So what was really the point of all the “war on terror”? Of all invasions in the name of freedom? Is anyone going to answer for any of that?

  14. Mary Mae says:

    I did two deployments there. Kandahar and Kabul. I’m devastated for the Afghan people, but this was always going to happen when we finally decided to leave.

    I figured we had a week tops before Kabul fell once Kandahar fell. I do have to give the Taliban props though, this was a well executed take over. It’s going to be brutal to watch them as they solidify their hold, but the efficiency…I can appreciate it at the same time.

    That said, this pullout and the last week was extremely sloppy on our part. I don’t know how Biden survives this politically. And I am a Biden supporter. I think he’s done so much good for our country turning it around after the last four years. But as Commander of our military…this can’t be undone.

    • Savu says:

      Thank you for your service, Mary Mae! I appreciate your perspective.

      • Twin falls says:

        Yes, thank you for both.

      • Mary Mae says:

        Thank you for the support. If you can, please consider donating to organizations that will help the Afghan people. Especially those who are able to flee the country. If they can get out, they’re starting over with nothing.

    • Jayna says:

      I agree, @Mary Mae.

    • Sigmund says:

      Most Americans do not care about Afghanistan. Many democratic politicians are open about their desire to stop being the world’s “police”. This is because it’s a popular stance.

      Now, Republicans will definitely hammer on this, because they need to find something. But I don’t think this will destroy Biden.

      • Amy Too says:

        I feel like there are two sides to “most Americans are selfish and won’t care about what happens in Afghanistan.” On the one hand, yes, people are selfish and live insular, very local lives, and won’t care about the atrocities being committed there, the total disregard for human and women’s rights, girls not being allowed to go to school and being rounded up as brides for taliban soldiers, and the people who helped us that we left behind to be captured and killed.

        But on the other hand, this war has been going on for 20 years and many people have been touched by it: soldiers who have died left behind family and friends who will not be happy that their soldier died in vain. Soldiers that came back with traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, other mental or physical health problems, handicaps, etc and their partners, parents, children, and other family and friends who care for them will not be pleased that they sacrificed so much for basically nothing. Even diplomats and state department employees and their families who felt like they missed important things at home while they were working so hard in Afghanistan and now, it seems like there was no reason for them to have been there in the first place. 20 years working on something that doesn’t come to fruition must make you feel like you lost a big portion of your life and career. There a lot of people who have been touched in some way over the course of a decades long war. And the longer we spent there , the more we had invested, the greater the anger over having invested so much and losing it all. Those people might be selfish in a different way and prioritize their anger and hurt and disillusionment over any other political issue… they might hold a grudge against Biden because it’s easiest to have a scapegoat, to direct your feelings at one person who can symbolize the collective failings of many.

        So yes, we’re selfish and we might not care about Afghanistan the country. But there are probably a lot of people who care about Afghanistan the war.

    • Renee says:

      Thank you for your service Mary Mae!

    • superashes says:

      Thank you for your service!!

  15. Betsy says:

    Trump negotiated with the Taliban and released 5000 of their worst fighters who we had in prison. This ain’t on Joe.

    • Darla says:

      Yes, Trump is a traitor to the United States of America, but Joe knew this beforehand, and the method of our withdrawal is on him. This is always what he wanted. People can read about Richard Holbrooke who went to him when he was VP. Biden didn’t care. Hillary did. Not because she’s a war monger you rose idiots, if any are here waiting to chirp from the cheapest seats in the world, but because she gives a crap about women and girls.

      Anyway, none of the men did, don’t kid yourselves. Not just Republicans.

  16. Mrs. Smith says:

    @Mary Mae — I understood the same timeline that the intelligence gave the military a week or more to get everyone out safely. But the takeover happened in one day. I’m hoping the troops can hold the airport long enough to help those who want to get out. THAT can be Biden’s moment to save some face—putting those people first and leaving no one behind— and he can put that information out there with a public address ASAP.

    • Mary Mae says:

      Our leaders were publicly saying we had 90 days. Regardless what our intelligence may have been saying to them, they weren’t listening. Which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. It’s how it goes when any one in a leadership position, regardless of their political persuasion, wants something they want. They don’t listen.

      From what I’ve seen, our military community is reeling at the moment, grappling with a lot. I’m sure the entirety of the DOD and diplomatic community as well. Along with every family of theirs this has impacted. This is 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears gone down the drain very quickly. Lives lost in so many ways, whether they came home or not. And Biden is the current commander. And the military still has missions to perform.

      I don’t think Biden saves face on this. This isn’t someone misspoke. This isn’t someone tripped. This isn’t someone embellished or made up a story. This is a catastrophe, 20 years in the making o er many administrations. Biden is just the one who was left holding the bag when it crumbled out beneath him.

      • sassafras says:

        Biden totally “survives” this because for the majority of Americans, we’re stressing out about Delta in our unmasked / unvaccinated neighbors. We’re praying to God that our kids will make it to Christmas without a serious illness. We’re budgeting for gas and groceries and it’s really really really freaking hard to ALSO care about everyone else in the world.

        Biden “survives” this because everyone with half a brain knows this disaster was started by Bush/Cheney and negotiated by Trump.

        Biden “survives” this because Americans want things HERE fixed and he’s doing that. I’m just so tired of people on the internet telling me I should be ENRAGED by stuff around the globe when I have my babies going to school in a place where they’re doing jack shit to stop a preventable deadly disease.

        I get that military/ veterans feel differently about this. But when I as an educator screamed and hollered about Betsy DeVos taking over and dismantling civil rights protections in the schools for special ed children, y’all didn’t give as much of a F as I did. Because you weren’t “boots on the ground” and hadn’t spent your life fighting for those kids. Now the situation’s reversed. Stop tearing Biden down.

      • Darla says:

        A very interesting perspective sassa, and very thought-provoking. I do believe Biden survives this because Americans have had it with this endless war. Certainly I am 100% with us getting out, but I have a lot of problems with the method. But yeah, it’s very survivable. Well, until the Republicans regain control of Congress next year and hold hearings and then impeach him for something that happens there. You see what they did with Benghazi, so no more need be said.

      • Mary Mae says:

        @sassafras – I think you’re wrong. This didn’t just impact our military and diplomatic Corp. This impacted other countries as well. We aren’t the only ones scrambling to get out. This has far reaching consequences to our allies and how we work with them in the future.

        As long as the Taliban decide not to directly attack the airport, Biden might survive the year. If that turns into a slaughter, he’s gone. It benefits the Taliban to let us go. They want legitimacy internationally. Which is why they haven’t changed the countries name back yet. And it’s a farce. They get to laugh as we scramble to get out in a retreat they orchestrated. It serves them to let us go on so many levels.

        I don’t know how long that holds because while this serves Taliban public facing leadership interests, the different factions that make this alliance up may or may not feel the same way.

        Our standing in the world has changed overnight. But I’ve been wrong about things before. But if Biden doesn’t resign of his own accord, GOP factions will push for impeachment. And it will be dirty. Which our democracy can’t afford.

      • MissMarirose says:

        @sassafras: I know this sounds terribly cold, given what’s happening in Afghanistan now, but Biden survives simply because Americans don’t care. If we’ve learned any lesson about the American people in the last year and a half, it’s that Americans don’t even care about their neighbors over their own self-interest. They’re certainly not going to care about people half a world away.

      • Darla says:

        Biden will not resign over this, that is a fact. And as far as impeachment, Mary I hope you are not being disingenuous here. Are you really a Biden supporter? Because I have to wonder. Anyone who has been alive and conscious in America since the 90′s knows one thing; the very MOMENT the GOP regains control of the house Biden will be impeached. For any reason. For no reason.

        The modern GOP DOES NOT RECOGNIZE the outcome of any election they do not win. The modern GOP DOES NOT recognize any Democratic office holder as legitimate. The modern GOP DOES NOT believe in democracy. They are authoritarian facists.

        Period. Period.

      • Mary Mae says:

        @darla – Since you don’t agree with my viewpoint, I’m not a true believer? Cool. I’m a supporter of democracy. Served 20 years to do so. I’m being pragmatic right now.

        Biden is the leader of our democracy right now. I voted for him, but I’m not in a cult like the Trumpers. This is a major miscalculation that will cost him his presidency or our democracy. Maybe even both. GOP will weaponize this and it’s an effective weapon. Although they do not care about the Afghan people.

        If we lose midterms because of Biden’s miscalculation, we will lose the presidency as well and we are back to fascism 101.

        You believe what you want. Our democracy and our way of life has always been bigger than one leader. If a leader can’t recognize that, than that is their failure.

        Believe what you want. I’m preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. This will get uglier for so many reasons.

      • Darla says:

        IF we lose the midterms it won’t be over this, and I’ve always thought we are likely to lose them anyway. Because you just historically do in the midterms. That may be changing but I don’t know if it is yet. and whenever an election is lost, people always state it was lost over THEIR issue. Always. It won’t be that though. It will be gerrymandering and voter suppression and outright election fraud. And racism. Democratic idiots not bothering to vote in midterms like they didn’t in 2010. All the usual American reasons.

        once the GOP regains control they were always going to impeach Biden. Always. They didn’t need Afghanistan, but sure, they’ll use it. Unless they invent something more sensational by then. They’ll impeach him over Hunter’s art. They don’t care. He was always going to be impeached once the GOP regains control of the house. Always.

      • Mary Mae says:

        @Darla – These midterms were never a lock, as they always are. This is just one more big reason on a top of a mountain of others that will swing people who might have supported Biden. It will motivate people to get out to the polls for sure.

        Rereading your comments, I think we agree on the finer points more than we don’t where this is going, regardless if we agree on Biden’s salvagability. I just don’t think you like the tone or direction I’m coming from. Which is fine.

        I do want to be wrong. But Afghanistan is a quagmire. It’s not going to be done with us for a very long time, even if we decided we are done with it.

      • Mary Mae says:

        @sassafras – I also think it’s interesting you know how I felt over Devos and what I supported on that as well and whether or not I was listening or doing anything. Cool.

        And because you didn’t feel heard, others should shut up? That’s your take? Wow.

        I will criticize Biden where he needs to be criticized. No leadership is perfect. But this isn’t about perfection.

        Trump laid the groundwork for this withdrawal. Biden could have scrapped it, he could have renegotiated it or made changes that wouldn’t have turned this into a nightmare for our diplomatic community that is now waiting to leave Kabul because airops have been grounded due to Afghans clinging to planes.

        Lives are impacted in both. I don’t think what Betsy Devos isn’t heinous, but I’d also prefer we get our diplomatic community out of Afghanistan alive now that we messed up the opportunity to do that safely.

      • Darla says:

        Well, if you end up being right, maybe that’s the karmic price we pay as a nation for our behavior post-9/11. The majority support for the invasion of Iraq, the fact that nearly all Americans never saw Afghanis as people, but as targets for their understandable rage over 9/11, those were horrible years under horrible people. The Iraq war was a lie. Saudi was to blame for much of 9/11 but it didn’t serve the people in power to say so. Saudi’s Bin Laden hid out in Afghanistan but bombing that place was never the answer for that either. Certainly bombing Iraq wasn’t. We incurred a lot of debt so if we have to pay the piper I won’t be surprised.

        Biden was always a reprieve for me. I know facism is coming here, it’s here. I do live post-hope so maybe that is the difference. The Gop will regain control. Afghanistan, no Afghanistan, these are all just plot points. How we get to where we are going. But the destination is not in question. To my mind.

        To be clear; i don’t believe the translators, the women, the girls are plot points. And I do hold Biden responsible for how this was done. But does it surprise me that no one really gives a isht? No. I believe Hillary does. But even if she was President I don’t know if that would have changed anything. So who knows.

      • Becks1 says:

        Biden isn’t resigning over this and the GOP isn’t going to remove him either, even if they impeach him after the midterms. You know why? Then they get Kamala Harris as the first female president, and they do NOT want that, especially heading into 2024 where she would be the likely Dem candidate. Incumbents are hard to beat and she would be very hard. GOP may impeach just because it will make them feel better about the Trump years or whatever, but they aren’t going to remove Biden.

      • Darla says:

        Becks, that’s probably the truth of it, but the GOP has gone so wild in my lifetime that I don’t trust anything. It makes sense they don’t want President Harris, but OTOH, they have such lunatics running the show, maybe they double down and bet they can impeach and remove her too. I really don’t know. What you say here is the likeliest outcome though, I think, yeah.

        Edit to add, and maybe because she’s a black woman they believe they can get her killed. I truly believe Trump tried to get HIllary killed with his “second amendment solution” comments among others. They only get worse. They only grow more brazen, more deranged.

      • ElleV says:

        I’m with MissMarierose – I doubt very much this will make any difference in whether Biden wins or loses midterms. If Americans cared about Afghanistan this whole mess wouldn’t have dragged out as long as it did.

        If Biden loses it will be because of apathy and Americans chronically underestimating the threat posed by Republicans (or just giving over to despair). People who would turn their back on Biden over this – especially when their own country came this close to a coup – would have found another reason to cut their noses off to spite their faces anyways.

        That said, I’m not of the fatalist view that fascism is inevitable – it’s like bindweed – spreads easy and takes a ton of work over years to uproot but we CAN beat it

      • Mary Mae says:

        @becks1 – I wandered into a Fox News comment section today just to see what’s being said. I noped out as soon as I saw a commenter calling for Biden, Harris, & Pelosi to all resign/be impeached over this. They’ll never accept Harris. They’ll probably swap their 25th amendment conspiracy to make her president with this.

        @darla – I don’t think you’re wrong. Ive had similar thoughts on what our country deserves collectively for our hubris. I’ve been Team Asteroid since sometime after Jan 20, 2017. I don’t remember the exact moment anymore, but I do think our experiment in democracy has failed. While we’ve dodged it for now, authoritarianism is coming. I also don’t think we’re prepared for it. Now that the Taliban is emboldened, it will be interesting if they start attempting terrorist attacks for furthering their end goals as well as retribution. That will definitely accelerate it.

      • Darla says:

        Yes, the great experiment has failed, I agree. It’s shocking but it has. I’m sorry about what I said above, being suspicious of posters’ intent is a left over fault I have from political message boards. Ironically, during the W years, when I was there a lot and it was reported that the GOP actually hired people to post on those message boards. I shouldn’t jump to that, my apologies.

      • Mary Mae says:

        @darla – I appreciate the apology. I knew saying what I’ve said would mark me as suspect. I still thought it was important enough to be said because if we even have a chance of our democracy surviving, we have to all take a hard look at how we posture ourselves politically and start looking ahead more. We’re way too disconnected and that’s where fascism creeps in. They’re really good on their collective messaging. Which is all that is really needed.

        And I’m honestly too tired to get too mad about it. I’m numb at the moment.

  17. Phyllis says:

    I was a civil affairs soldier during my time in the army and while in Afghanistan, we opened 5 girls schools, a clinic, a water well, and started the foundation for funding for many other community building projects. Along the way, I met so many beautiful, lovely, compassionate, funny people who are just like you and me…people who care about their families, neighbors, community, and country. To see this happen to normal people who have no control over their situation and because it is at the hands of a screwed up withdrawal (bush through biden and all the commanding generals and leadership could have been preparing for exactly this) is completely devastating. This could have been avoided and that it hasn’t been tells me this is what OUR government WANTED to happen! They plan for ALL contingencies and our people knew this would happen. This is so devastating.

    Edit to add…it’s not just translators…it’s mujahadeen that served as security for small teams, housekeepers, cooks, engineers…there are so many people who helped.

  18. Darla says:

    I just watched a clip from an interview Hillary did with Fareed Zakaria several months ago about what the aftermath of withdrawal will look like and it makes me cry. What we lost.

    I will never forgive Hillary-haters. I will never forgive you.

    • Jayna says:

      I’m right there with you. What could have been. Imagine the last four years and no Trump as president, and HIllary would have been an amazing POTUS.

  19. L4frimaire says:

    Any way you slice it, it’s a humanitarian and foreign policy disaster. How could no one have anticipated the sudden collapse of the Afghan government and military? This started under W, escalated under Obama and Trump, who negotiated with the Taliban, including releasing from prison this Taliban leader who has now proclaimed himself president. Also, those nations who had the most sway with the Taliban like Pakistan, Iran and Saudi didn’t seem to seat seat at the table because our policies kept those actors at arms length since they are frenemies and enemies. However, this is happening on Biden’s watch and he now needs to own it. I don’t know if there was any way to avoid this chaos, especially if those now in charge seem to use it as their modus operandi, but this withdrawal seemed backwards and unplanned. It’s just been so depressing with this, Haiti and the ongoing Covid pandemic. Just because you change presidents does right mean that problems disappear or things suddenly go our way. Those who were right about never getting involved in Afghanistan are feeling no triumphant vindication and for those pushing for the unconditional withdrawal after negotiating with the Taliban, what exactly did they think would happen? For the government to just melt away abd the president to just leave makes one wonder if they ever had real support beyond Kabul. The US and the international community have completely thrown this country to the wolves, it it started long before this. We will be paying the price for this in years to come in ways we can’t even anticipate.

  20. superashes says:

    I was discussing this with my mother. For her it brings back memories of the fall of Saigon, and the Vietnamese who were desperate to leave with us. She remembered this awful story about a man running alongside a bus trying to get anyone to take his baby out of his outstretched hands as the bus drove away, and then him tripping and dropping the baby and the baby dying. She cried in retelling it because to her it was emblematic of what happened to those that tried to help us in Vietnam who were left behind, and those being left behind today.

    A lot of lights on this earth will be extinguished as a result of this travesty. Not just the interpreters and others who tried to work to a better future by collaborating with international aid workers, our armed forces and others, but every woman that dared attend a school or to work a job over the past two decades. Pretty much anyone who signed onto the American Dream.

    I think this result was predictable, and in a lot of respects was pre-negotiated after the Doha agreement. That is why I don’t blame the Afghan forces that laid down their weapons. Why even bother? We couldn’t fix this, we abandoned the Kurds and we abandoned them. By the same token, I don’t understand why we weren’t better prepared for this. There is plenty of blame to go around on that front, imho, and as much as it pains me to type it, I don’t think Biden is free from it.

  21. among us says:

    I will never forgive Hillary’s detractors. You will never be forgiven by me.

    • Darla says:

      i say the same. and i will never ever knowingly have sex with a man who didn’t vote for her again. i debated with myself earlier this year if it might be okay for just a fboy but you know what, it really isn’t.

  22. Jayna says:

    This article is riveting and depressing and informative and it winds up with what is going on in our own country as far as the far right domestic terrorism. The author, Daniel Johnson, served in the military. He was deployed overseas. I read it twice.


    • Jayna says:

      This is the author of the Slate article. Daniel Johnson served as an infantry officer and journalist with the United States Army in Iraq and is a Roy H. Park fellow at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC–Chapel Hill. He is the author of #Inherent Resolve, a book on his unit’s experience in the war against ISIS.

  23. karys says:

    first thing i noticed is that Kamala is at the Naval Observatory. She didn’t move in there until April because of all the renovations – it was a news story because of how long it was taking before she could move in. Seems to mess up the theory the pic is from Feb.

  24. Miranda says:

    Have we all seen the photo of hundreds of Afghans crowded onto a cargo plane meant to carry just 150 people? They managed to climb up the half-raised ramp, and the crew decided to take off with them onboard rather than force them off the plane. They saved 640 people. That’s the one bright spot, a moment of compassion, I’ve been able to find in all this.

  25. ML says:

    Possibly this comment won’t be seen, but as an American expat, I feel the need to mention how others see us. The US withdrawal forced our (European) allies to withdraw as well, which caused them to scramble. The US left literally in the dead of night and without warning the locals in Afghanistan, which left a lot of people feeling panicked, betrayed, and unsafe. In the Netherlands, the national news sees the US as a potential back stabber. Trump and the Paris accords, his weird love of despots, vaccine hoarding, double crossing in regards to medical equipment, etc…were seen as an anomaly, and the Dutch welcomed Biden as a return to normal. However, Afghanistan has the Dutch questioning how trustworthy Biden and the US actually are.

  26. A.Key says:

    Well Syria and Yemen have been and still are humanitarian and foreign policy disasters. But no one cares anymore. Watch as the world media moves on from this story after a month (or sooner), and everyone’s attention shifts to the next problem.