John Oliver spent the bulk of this week’s episode of “Last Week Tonight” discussing America’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan. The 20-minute discussion very broadly went through the big picture of the war from beginning to end — and Oliver had plenty of words for how President Joe Biden has handled his part of it.
Late in the segment, which you can watch in the embed above, Oliver was discussing Tucker Carlson’s and Laura Ingraham’s preemptive whining about refugees. But he he quickly pivoted to Biden.
“They are not the only ones who’ve been blithe about the fate of the Afghans. Biden’s failure to plan here is astonishing. But his continued indifference to the lives of anyone who’s not American isn’t really surprising. He’s felt this way for years,” Oliver said, citing an account from a biography of the late diplomat Richard Holbrooke.
According to the account, Holbrooke asked Biden about the consequences for those who will still have to live in Afghanistan. Biden responded with this: “F— that, we don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger got away with it.”
“May I just say, Joe, A-plus choice of historical role models there. When you’re rolling with Dick and the Kiss, you know you’re rolling on the right side of history,” Oliver mocked.
Then we got a more recent example of Biden demonstrating little empathy for the people of Afghanistan: an interview with CBS’ “Face the Nation” last year. In that interview, Biden was asked if he would bear any responsibility if the Taliban were to take over after U.S. forces withdraw.
“No, I don’t! Do I bear responsibility? Zero responsibility,” Biden said in the clip. “The responsibility I have is to protect America’s national self interest and not put our women and men in harm’s way to try to solve every single problem in the world by use of force. That’s my responsibility as president.”
Oliver was not amused.
“If Biden wants to argue for isolationism going forward, he is welcome to do that. But what he can’t do is use that as a justification to dismiss the fates of people in whose country we’ve already disastrously intervened,” he said. “Because we have a non-zero duty at this point to do everything we can to help them, and that means getting as many people out as we can.”
Oliver then launched into a rundown of ways the government is screwing up what attempts it is making to help get folks out, before reminding Biden that he could do something about all this if he really wanted to.
“Look, the chaos this week is already a stain on Biden’s legacy. The only question is, how big does he want that stain to be? And that is really up to him,” Oliver said.
“The very least we could do is help alleviate the humanitarian crisis ahead, because no matter what happens in Afghanistan, from here on out, there is absolutely no universe where America bears zero responsibility.”
You can check out the full segment up above, or on YouTube here.