Critics slam WaPo column for blaming crisis in Afghanistan on American people

Media top headlines August 30

In media news today, Obama’s former education secretary gets slammed for likening anti-maskers to Kabul suicide bombers, Disney faces internal pressure to conduct an outside probe of ABC News’ handling of sexual harassment claims, and ABC’s Jon Karl says Biden admin calling Afghanistan a success is not based in ‘reality’

A Washington Post column published Sunday was slammed by critics for blaming the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan on the American people, rather than the actual perpetrators of the violence unfolding across the war-torn country. 

“If you ask me who is to blame, I would point not only to Biden but to former president Donald Trump — and to all of us, the people of America. By carrying out this pell-mell withdrawal from Afghanistan, our leaders, after all, were only giving us what we wanted,” columnist Max Boot wrote.

“There are recriminations aplenty, but the sad fact is that the only way to avoid this particular disaster would have been either to stay in Afghanistan indefinitely or to leave our allies behind. Both options would have come with their own costs and were overwhelmingly rejected by the American people … Our leaders were simply giving the American people what they thought we wanted,” he added, also citing poll numbers that showed the American public supporting a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Critics took to social media to blast the column, with some drawing a comparison to a similar column written earlier this month in The Atlantic with the headline: “Afghanistan is your fault.” 

Some critics claimed that Boot was actually to blame, citing what they said was his past support in continuing the mission in Afghanistan. Boot is one of numerous former conservative figures in media who have reinvented themselves as staunch critics of the political right.

Most recently, Boot was a strong opponent to Biden’s handling of the Taliban offensive across the country, calling his commitment to diplomacy “delusional” because there was no evidence that the Islamist organization wouldn’t use force of arms in the name of achieving international legitimacy. 

Other critics questioned Boot’s logic and suggested blame should actually be placed on the perpetrators of the bombing that killed 13 members of the U.S. military last week. 

U.S. efforts to facilitate the withdrawal of Americans and others from Afghanistan continue this week ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline.

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