BY JAMES BEMBRIDGE
‘The world feels like a slightly better, kinder place today’ Gary Lineker tweeted during Biden’s inauguration, addressing him with the sort of asinine adoration that was then the custom. But given the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, Lineker’s tweet has aged about as well as the president’s spare and perma-surprised stare.
While Afghans scramble to save their lives from danger, Twitter blue ticks scramble to defend the man who put them in it, with that other font of wisdom, George Takei of Star Trek fame, asserting: ‘Blaming Biden for Afghanistan is like blaming him for Covid-19. It’s a disaster he inherited.’
The notion that Biden – a man who wanted to withdraw 7 years prior to Trump – was some reluctant enforcer is hardly a persuasive one. Nonetheless, such a perception prevailed among his base with daunting ease. Scores of vague minded celebs with a vaguely ‘liberal’ bent could once again indulge in their diet of self-righteous indignation – guilt-free. That was until certain revelations forced them to look closer at the ingredients of their man’s politics. It was reported that in 2009, when asked about American obligations to Afghans like the girl in the Kabul school, Biden’s reply was as tactless as it was terse: ‘F*ck that’ – and there’s that ‘slightly better kindness’ Lineker gushed about.
The withdrawal has also somewhat undermined the charitable efforts of carer-in-chief Jill Biden to campaign for female education in deprived countries given that her husband has just deprived Afghan girls of theirs, thus condemning them to a life of sexual serfdom. Other Western leaders’ responses to their plight have included a not-so-strongly worded letter, with Jacinda Arden calling on the Taliban to show ‘humanity’. Sure – bloodthirsty savages will listen to that tiresome, doe-eyed wet sop as much as starving tigers will hear out chiding children.
Not to be outdone by the tepid response of politicians, the media’s response has played like a comedy of errors. ‘They’re just chanting Death to America.’ CNN’s Clarissa Ward said, reporting on the Taliban. Adding, reassuringly, ‘But they seem friendly at the same time’.
Ah, so a mostly peaceful death threat then?
Speaking to Sky’s Kay Burley, Sir Nick Carter remarked: ‘I think you have to be very careful about using the word enemy.’ One would have hoped the UK’s Chief of Defence would be able to glean that ‘Death to America’ hardly denotes a replacement threat to the special relationship.
Meanwhile, another Taliban statement was reported by Western media with blindly credulous acceptance and without pointing out its rather obvious flaws: that Afghan women will ‘enjoy the womens’ rights of Sharia Law’.
CNN’s once fawning headlines towards Biden now read like the epitaph of his presidency, with one stating ‘Joe Biden’s political honeymoon is officially over’. The tension between President Biden and the activist journalists who legitimised him, perhaps illegally, into one could be seen at the end of his press conference in which one horrified reporter asked, ‘Mr President, how can you take no questions on this?’ And it feels like only yesterday the press corps were asking Sleepy about his favourite ice cream flavour.
The current population of the United States of America is 333,188,423 as of Wednesday, August 18, 2021. And our American cousins chose a senile, disoriented laughingstock to run the free world? While the West slept, Afghans wept.
James Bembridge is Deputy Editor of Country Squire Magazine.