We have a Twitter heavy lineup today partly because the fast breaking Afghan news has not been written up elsewhere.
But you can’t simplify twenty years of complexity.
The Taliban, created in 1994, took over the country with lightning speed. They controlled it by 1996. The most powerful nations on earth sent in an army and still after a matter of a relatively few years, the Taliban regained control or contested 30-40% of the country.
The US military has for two decades overstated its ability to materially change the ground truth of this country. In recent years, the Taliban were gaining again. The last administration recognized they were the real power in Afghanistan and effectively capitulated to them.
The outcome you see today was inevitable, predictable before this started, predictable ten years ago. The advocates for keeping a force there ignore the gains achieved by the Taliban while we have had a force there.
The efforts to create a counter-force there controlled by the Afghan government were, from the start, a shit show and few who viewed them up close had any faith in their ability. Corruption and incompetence undercut the best efforts of a valiant, committed and capable few.
Inside America’s Covid-reporting breakdown
Crashing computers, three-week delays tracking infections, lab results delivered by snail mail: State officials detail a vast failure to identify hotspots quickly enough to prevent outbreaks.
Oklahoma’s struggle is America’s. The CDC relies on states to identify and monitor viral outbreaks that, if uncontrolled, can kill thousands of people. But the coronavirus exposed a patchwork system in which state officials struggled to control the spread of Covid-19 because their outdated surveillance systems did not allow them to collect and analyze data in real-time, according to a six-month POLITICO investigation that included interviews with four dozen health officials in 25 states and more than a dozen current and former officials at the CDC and other federal health agencies.
Few are pointing out the undeniable truth about the disaster in Afghanistan: whatever Biden’s or Trump’s proximate blame for it, or Obama’s hand in it earlier on, the real author of the greatest American foreign policy disaster since Vietnam (arguably worse) is George W. Bush.Bush could have set a much more limited mission for American military power: get Bin Laden, exterminate al Qaeda. Instead it turned to nation-building with no real understanding of the geopolitics of the region.
And then he turned to Iraq, compounding the historic error.
U.S. death toll is not the proper way to measure the scale of this disaster. Foreign policy decisions, choices to go to war & occupy exist *in a specific place in time*. 1973 was not 2001 and esp. not 2021. The trajectory looks like irreversible decline.
It’s liberals who are the tough-minded realists about policy
Over the decades, conservatives have been enormously successful at selling a parody of liberalism. Liberals are cast as dreamy idealists who think “throwing money at problems” is the way to solve them. They’re painted as hostile to a tough-minded examination of their programs and indifferent to whether they work.
This parody has things exactly backward. In 2021, it’s liberals who want citizens, politicians included, to look rigorously at the evidence. It shows how many public programs make a substantial, positive difference in the lives of Americans, especially kids from low-income families. It’s conservatives who prefer ideology and moralism to the facts.
The spending that liberals favor these days — much of it included in President Biden’s American Families Plan that Democrats are pushing through Congress — is for government interventions that have been tested and proved.
Helen Ubiñas/Philadelphia Inquirer:
Stop begging the COVID bullies. We can’t ‘nice’ people into doing the right thing
If people who are eligible and able to get the vaccine haven’t been moved by the more than 3 million people worldwide who have been killed by the virus, no amount of pleases and thank yous will do it.
Just look at how anti-mask parents recently threatened doctors and nurses at a Tennessee school board meeting as the number of cases rise in the district and state.
“We will find you!” one of the especially deranged dads yelled as he and others screamed at the medical professionals, blocking their cars and berating them as they tried to drive away.
Yo, tough guy, that would sound a lot more ominous if we didn’t already know where to find most doctors and nurses these days — at a hospital, probably near you, trying to save the lives of the unvaccinated.
“If you don’t trust the medical field to prevent you from getting it, why do you trust them to cure you from it?”
That drop-all-the-mics question came from a viral TikTok video posted a couple of weeks ago by Jason Arena after his wife, with stage IV breast cancer, was discharged from a North Carolina hospital early because it was overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Denise Dewald, MD/Twitter:
We need to talk about the pediatric bed situation in the USA.
Because things are going to get really bad, real fast, unless people doing things to stop it.
This is an important thread. Please share.
If the average stay is actually 4 days (not unreasonable, based on anecdotal reports from the field), we would need 23,000 pediatric hospital beds and 6,800 PICU beds. 21/nRecall that the USA only has about 27,500 pediatric beds and 4,500 PICU beds.
Either way, those sorts of numbers would vastly overwhelm our pediatric hospitals’ capacities. 22/nThe message here is that we just don’t have any wiggle room for mistakes.
We need to do everything in our power to prevent a giant surge of pediatric COVID cases, even if only 1% of children need hospitalization. 23/n
So them’s the numbers. 24/nThis is why we need to have absolute mask mandates, EVERYWHERE.
This is why we need mandatory vaccinations for everyone eligible who sets foot into a school. 25/n
And now it gets even worse….we aren’t sure if surgical masks can prevent even vaccinated people from spreading delta and being infected from it.