Wednesday August 18, 2021
Joe Biden’s speech following the Afghanistan debacle made for compelling television for one main reason: here is a government official – the man who holds the office once called the “leader of the free world” – recognizing the limits of government.
No matter how long the US stayed, no matter how many troops the US deploys, no matter how much blood and treasure are expanded on this war, the US could not accomplish its ends. “How many more lives, American lives, is it worth? How many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? I’m clear on my answer,” he asked.
“Despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the Afghan security forces, we could not give them the will and they ultimately decided that they would not fight for Kabul and they would not fight for the country,” added his national security advisor.
As I listened, I began to replace one set of words for another. Taliban equal SARS-CoV-2. Lives and fortune lost equal collateral damage of lockdowns. The dream of a free and democratic Afghanistan equals a nation without the pathogen that causes Covid. Lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, and other mitigation measures all equal the measures deployed for 20 years to achieve the unachievable.