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Memories of the 28th Century

Politician showing Courage

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We all know that politicians usually regard their profession as the art of doing what is most likely. There are exceptions, but Trump was an outlier. Biden, oddly enough, is another outlier, but he lies outside the norm in a different direction. Most U.S. Presidents seek first to help themselves and their adherents. George W. Bush sought to help his pals in the oil and gas industry with the war in Iraq, and some say that there were plans for a pipeline through Afghanistan, but that is irrelevant, because his pals in the mining industry were drooling over the mineral wealth of Afghanistan. Even though the subsequent presidents didn't have significant connections with petroleum or mining, they continued W's illegal wars. Until now.

Earlier today, I heard that the last of the U.S. and allied military personnel had been pulled out. Finally, after twenty years, thousands of lives , and trillions of dollars, the waste of money in Afghanistan has ended. I didn't vote for Biden, and I don't think much of him, but he has the courage to actually end the waste than was the invasion of Afghanistan. Anyone who had even a casual knowledge of the history of Afghanistan would support invading the place. If some just read George McDonald Fraser's novel Flashman, he would wonder why anyone would invade the place. Someone who did a little more research would learn about the First and the Third Anglo-Afghan Wars (links below), and someone who bothered reading the news since 1978 would know many more reasons for not invading the place.

I doubt that W. did any of the relevant research, and he has always given the impression that the one part of a newspaper that he reads is the sport section. Obama used to read more of the news, so never figured out why he didn't pull out of Afghanistan; maybe he feared that people would call him unpatriotic. Trump spoke of ending the invasion, but he put it off, so he probably didn't see a hotel in Kabul as a good idea. But Biden appears to have looked the situation, and he ordered the withdrawal.

Since then some people have criticized him, but they produced no reasons for their criticism. Criticisms seem to be along the lines of it makes the country look weak, but that is completely untrue, and pulling out is a an intelligent move, which is unusual for foreign policy.

A greater problem is that we are not used to having politicians with the courage to make a hard decision. They are much more likely to make a decision that pleases their followers. I expected that Biden would be a very mediocre president, and until recently it looked like I would be proven right, but he fooled us. There are a few other foreign policy decisions that demand courage, so we have some hope that Iraq will stop having U.S. military personnel, and that the illegal jail in Guantanamo Bay will be closed. The jail in Guantanamo has been ignored for too long. There is a law on the books that requires that any person being held outside the U.S. be under the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of New York City. And we all knew that it violated U.S. law to hold people indefinitely without indicting them. The U.S. does not hold people captive just for fun; it is done only for judicial purposes. Maybe Biden will notice.

But we shouldn't expect too much. Biden has done one courageous thing, but the noise being created about that might be enough to scare him away from withdrawing U.S. military personnel from other places, and he may not rewrite many of the executive actions that have been made in the past. And he still hasn't decided what to do about unlawful immigration.

He has another three and a half years in his term, so there is time to end the Iraq thing, close Guantanamo, and close the border, if he doesn't waste too much time and resources trying to please his adherents.

Anglo-Afghan Wars

Updated 08-30-2021 at 08:44 PM by PeterL