Ben Boyce


The Empire drops back

Posted on September 14, 2021 by Ben Boyce

The steadfast commitment of President Biden to actually follow through on the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 futile years of pointless war was an act of political courage that is rare in this era. 

Biden did not run on this issue, even though it might have shored up his bona fides with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. It is public knowledge that Biden advised Obama as far back as 2010 that the war in Afghanistan was a money pit quagmire that we should exit ASAP. 

In retrospect, Joe Biden may have been the only man in the contemporary political class who could have pulled off this end to the war. Trump wanted to make a big populist gesture of ceremoniously ending the war during the 2020 campaign, which might have pushed him over the top. 

Trump was blocked from decisive action by his own narcissism and geo-political ignorance. The handsome generals and the military-industrial complex consultants all warned him that chaos would break out and he would look like a loser. Obama would have wilted under the combined multi-day onslaught of bad optics, anguished handwringing by the NYT and WaPo op-ed boards and the nearly universal condemnation from every mainstream media anchor.

The pundit class showed their hand by so clearly revealing that their primary allegiance is to the maintenance of the empire in service of the primacy of capital. Irish Joe’s honeymoon with the press is now over. The bottom line is no future American president will be able to get Americans to go back into Afghanistan. That’s over now. Thanks, Joe. We’re all at the ice cream parlor.

Biden bit the bullet and got the job done. His team had priced into the decision the chaos that withdrawal would inevitably create. That’s mature leadership. This bold action was my first strong clue that Biden is not planning to run for a second term. He can afford to take the hit, because he knows that he’s not running again. 

Biden could get a lot of good done on the way out, like releasing the crushing generational ball-and-chain of student loan debt via executive action, an action that will be controversial in elite circles but widely popular with the younger voters the party needs to engage. 

Red state abortion bans, critical race theory, and woke cancel culture are the agenda items on the Republican menu for 2022. We can hope that the cruelty and deep misogyny of Texas’ de facto repeal of Roe v. Wade will ignite the Democratic Party base to turn out en masse to reject the reactionary Republican hostility to women’s rights. This cannot stand.

On the local scene, I have put my shoulder to the wheel to turn back the latest Republican power play, the attempted Governor’s recall. I have walked three Sonoma precincts and made hundreds of phone bank calls to union members through the North Bay Labor Council volunteer program. We must hold the line.

In talking to rank-and-file voters, it’s clear that the public doesn’t understand the arcane recall setup. Your vote on the recall is not a midterm performance evaluation of the Governor’s performance. His position on X, Y, and Z should have no effect on your NO vote, unless you think that suddenly having a completely unqualified right-wing talk show host in charge of our state is going to solve your issue. Please send in your ballots as soon as possible.


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