As U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan, the country’s government basically abandoned ship, setting the stage for the Taliban to essentially win total control with astonishing speed. The result is a humanitarian crisis as people likely to be targeted by the radical fundamentalist Taliban government attempt to flee the country.
It’s a horrible catastrophe on multiple levels, one Stephen Colbert devoted his entire monologue to discussing on Monday’s episode of “The Late Show.”
During the 11-minute bit, Colbert basically took viewers through a look back on the 20-year-long sad, tragic and as he pointed out, bipartisan history of America’s military involvement in Afghanistan culminating in the current nightmare. That’s a lot of ground to cover, and we won’t recap it all here, but one point in particular stuck out: When Colbert noted how dishonest Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, are being when they criticize Joe Biden for how things turned out.
Briefly, Trump has bragged about, and taken credit for, the pullout for the better part of a year, and in fairness he did set the original May withdrawal date. Also as Biden pointed out over the weekend, negotiated with the Taliban but not with the Afghan government itself, which Biden said left the Taliban more powerful militarily than they’d been in decades.
Back to Colbert, who noted how just a few weeks ago Trump was bragging about it at one of his rallies, then broke down Trump’s responsibilities for what’s happening like this:
“I’ll say this, the former president is right about one thing: His policies are equally responsible for the Taliban’s takeover. After all, he reduced our troop presence from 15,000 to 2500, the ceasefire he negotiated was directly with the Taliban. He didn’t even include the Afghan government. Then, he went back and convinced the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, many of whom are currently fighting in Kabul. While also agreeing to pull all troops out by May 1.”
“You can’t put all the blame for a debacle you helped set the stage for. That’s like Andrew Lloyd Weber calling “Cats” a terrible movie. You wrote a musical with no plot. How did you think this was gonna end?” Colbert joked.
There’s a whole lot more, including some justifiable criticism of Biden, and plenty of jokes about how sad it is that the U.S. wasted so many lives and so much money on a can’t-win war like this. Watch it above. The Trump stuff begins about four minutes, 24 seconds in.