As American troops were preparing to leave Kabul for the last time, their commanders had their priorities straight: As we now know, they weren’t taking steps to ensure that all American citizens could safely leave the country. They also weren’t doing anything to get $85 billion worth of American weaponry into safe hands, which we know because the Taliban are now the proud owners of all that taxpayer-funded materiel. They weren’t even doing anything to make sure that it was the Afghans who actually helped us who got onto the planes out of Kabul. No, U.S. commanders in Afghanistan had a far more important priority on their minds: making sure that the Marines didn’t leave behind any messages that the Taliban or ISIS would find insulting.
Marines at Kabul’s airport had taken out their frustration over the catastrophically humiliating mismanagement of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the failure of the twenty-year mission in general, by leaving some coarse messages on the airport’s walls: “F*** ISIS,” “F*** the Taliban,” that sort of thing. Not high-level diplomatic communications, to be sure, but the kind of thing that has happened in wartime since time immemorial.
Until now, that is. Not only did commanders demand that the troops scrub the walls clean and remove the graffiti; they also ordered them to clean the place up, so that the Taliban would have a spotless airport to showcase for all the international authorities who will soon be flying in to Kabul to deliver their billion-dollar aid packages. One Marine recounted: “My boys had to go…pick up every last piece of…trash for who? The Taliban? It was a slap in the face to us.”
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, “Marine spokesman First Lt. Jack Coppola said that the cleanup was enforced to prevent delaying any flights leaving the airport. But it is unclear why the graffiti was also removed.”
Maybe it was because Biden’s handlers didn’t want to anger a group that they don’t consider to be an enemy of the United States. A few weeks ago, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace asked National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan: “What is the Taliban? Are they now our frenemy, are they our adversary, are they our enemy? Are they our — what are they?”
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