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When casualties do and no not matter to the Blob


Some important context for today’s horrible terrorist attacks in Kabul:

American service members killed in Afghanistan through April: 2,448.

U.S. contractors: 3,846.

Afghan national military and police: 66,000.

Other allied service members, including from other NATO member states: 1,144.

Afghan civilians: 47,245.

Taliban and other opposition fighters: 51,191.

Aid workers: 444.

Journalists: 72.

None of which is stopping the Blob from concluding that today’s attacks mean that the occupation should have continued forever:

The “Biden was wrong” argument seems to be that 6,300 American troops and contractors getting killed was no reason not to continue an occupation that was accomplishing nothing, but 11 casualties creates a moral imperative to continue the war forever. And to square the circle they continue to advance the ridiculous lie that we could have gotten the benefits of making a withdrawal deal with the Taliban while not withdrawing.

And as Ezra pointed out today, the non-Americans killed by pointless American military operations never seem to factor into the equation at all:

To many, America’s pretensions of humanitarian motivation were always suspect. There are vicious regimes America does nothing to stop. There are vicious regimes America finances directly. It is callous to suggest that the only suffering we bear responsibility for is the suffering inflicted by our withdrawal. Our wars and drone strikes and tactical raids and the resulting geopolitical chaos directly led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis.

This is the deep lacuna in America’s foreign policy conversation: The American foreign policy establishment obsesses over the harms caused by our absence or withdrawal. But there’s no similar culpability for the harms we commit or that our presence creates. We are much quicker to blame ourselves for what we don’t do than what we do.

This war should have been ended long ago, and the dangers posed by ending the occupation are another good reason to avoid starting occupations in the first place.

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