I don’t remember Mike Tyson being a philosopher. By the time the Tyson era dawned, I had thrown in the towel to any further interest in price wars. But a recent comment on The Hill noted this elegant observation, “Everyone has a plan – until they’re slapped in the mouth.”
It was raised in connection with the heavily criticized, much maligned, withdrawal of President Biden from Afghanistan. I replied, “And like a Tyson fight, there was no way it could end without pain. But unlike his predecessors, Biden at least had the courage to step into the ring and end the fight while the crowd whistled out the decision.
George W. Bush, of course, started the whole Afghanistan adventure – spurred on by Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Barack Obama happened to be in office when we (actually Navy SEALs) beat up Osama bin Laden. Game over? No – Obama has stepped up his activities. Donald Trump, who undoubtedly envisioned Afghan golf resorts, made some sort of deal with the highly trustworthy Taliban. After all, he is the master of the “art of the deal” – especially with like-minded criminals. The scale of corruption (more than a trillion dollars) was never imagined before, even by Trump.
While the “mounting criticism” of Biden’s awkward retreat continues, we should at least recognize him as the chutzpah commander in chief to get us to the devil. Bruised, battered and hungry, he stands firm and courageous behind his decision – and so do I.
History will make it clear that we are all ultimately responsible for Afghanistan. We should all feel embarrassed and guilty. Because we are.
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Letter to the editor: Afghanistan withdrawal may not be “over until it’s over”