The truth is Afghanistan may already be fading as a news story in the US


A morning in Kabul in Sept 2020, nearly a year before its reconquest by the Taliban. Photo by Mohammad Rahmani on Unsplash

Here’s something to consider as everyone who is anyone writes about Afghanistan and what it might mean for US President Joe Biden.

Even as ‘The Atlantic’ put out a piece arguing that the Biden administration is betting Americans will forget all of this by the midterms, the chatter on American podcasts, radio and television shows has moved on from Afghanistan.

Two examples, the first of which is anecdotal:

** When a former American diplomat, who served two tours in Afghanistan, offered to go on a radio station in the Midwest, he was told they weren’t discussing that issue any more and were talking about male sexual issues instead.

** NPR’s August 24 Politics podcast was devoted to the $3.5 trillion budget resolution, ie, whether or not the House would adopt it (yes), how that might advance Mr Biden’s economic agenda (it will) and what will happen next. That last issue is not certain, but the bill, already passed by the Senate, now goes to committees that will write the details into tax and spending legislation that both chambers will vote on later this year.

It’s understandable that Americans need to talk about their own domestic issues. Remember, polls have showed for some time, that a large, bipartisan majority of Americans wanted the US military to leave Afghanistan.

So, I’m not clear why ‘The Atlantic’, to take one example, would write “The administration is hoping that grisly images of desperate Afghans clinging to a C-17 fade, replaced by collective relief that no more Americans will die in a murky, brutal war”.

Those “grisly images” are, arguably, fading.