1. Giving credit where credit is due, at least some of the mainstream media isn’t avoiding calling attention to the Biden Administration’s epic debacle in Afghanistan. This is only a half IIPTDXTTNMIAFB: if Trump had done something even close to this incompetent, the news media would have been in full-fledged meltdown. In fact, there are enough harsh assessments coming from places that are not conservative mouthpieces that maybe Biden will face actual accountability for a change. (Nah, what am I saying?) CNN’s Jake Tapper, who occasionally has flashbacks to his pre-CNN days when he was a fairand trustworthy journalist, grilled Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding Biden’s comments from last month, when he declared that it was “highly unlikely” the Taliban would overrun Afghanistan. That’s some intelligence work there, Joe! After some awkward huminahumina-ing, Blinken, kept trying to change the subject, defaulting to how everything was Trump’s fault. Amazingly, Tapper wouldn’t let him get away with it.
“You keep changing the subject to whether or not we should be there forever. And I’m not talking about that,” Tapper told Blinken. “I’m talking about whether or not this exit was done properly, taking out all the service members before those Americans and those Afghan translators could get out. That’s what I’m talking about. And then you have to send people back in. That’s the definition of, ‘Oh, we shouldn’t have taken those troops out, because now we have to send twice as many back in.'”
On Medium, political analyst John Ellis was on fire, writing in part,
“Handing over Afghanistan to the Taliban is President Biden’s idea, if that’s the right word, and his alone. It is terrible policy, on any number of levels. “Worse than a crime, a mistake” (Talleyrand’s phrase) describes it best. Axios reports that the Administration “derives comfort from the fact that the American public is behind them — an overwhelming majority support withdrawal from Afghanistan — and they bet they won’t be punished politically for executing a withdrawal.” Given events and the likely consequences, the fact that the Administration “derives comfort” from anything regarding its decision to hand over Afghanistan to the Taliban is nauseous. That they’re “betting” they will escape political punishment is perhaps more so….”
But that’s the routine, now. The Democrats count on the news media to minimize or hide their worst botches, so the public won’t know what’s going on and will keep on voting like good littel lambs. Other notes from Ellis:
- “Abandoning the Kurds under Trump was bad enough. But this makes that look like home leave. This is an epic betrayal and strategically foolish to boot….
- “…If you’re President Xi, you see Afghanistan, clearly, for what it is: a humiliating defeat for the United States. He might call it “flexible humiliation.” And what he knows from history is that defeated nations have little appetite for war in the immediate aftermath of losing one. Taiwan is there for the taking….
- “When President Biden first announced that the US would be “leaving” Afghanistan, he set September 11, 2021 as the date when every last one of our people would be out. The announcement was greeted with astonished disbelief around the world. Could it really be possible that the US would officially hand over Afghanistan to the people who made it possible for Al Qaeda to attack it 20 years ago………on the very day of that attack? The answer was “yes,” although the Administration subsequently tried to walk it back without bringing attention to the fact that they were trying to walk it back.”
Ellis concludes, “Remarkably, the American press gave the president a pass on this, which seems to be its default setting when it comes to the Biden administration. “Trump was so much worse,” is the always-applicable rationale. Not in this case. Not by a long shot.”
2. Suicide Ethics. The Vessel (ablove) is a honeycomb-like spiral of staircases in Hudson Yards (New York City), a unique architectural attraction that provides a spectacular view to visitors. Unfortunately, people keep killing themselves there. There have been four suicides at the tourist attraction in a year and a half, so naturally community members want developers to build much higher barriers on the walkways, which will ruin the design and the purpose of the structure but will ensure that people go somewhere else to kill themselves.
The Vessel was closed after the most recent death, a 14-year-old boy, and an investigation is underway. Currently it rises 150 feet above the ground with waist-high glass barriers bordering its walkways, which would normally be reasonable. This was the second closure, the first occurring in January, after two people jumped to their deaths within a month.
The “eliminate all risks” brigade point out that studies prove netting and barriers are effective at stopping or reducing suicide attempts. For example, suicides and attempted suicides both decreased at the George Washington Bridge after netting and an 11-foot-high fence were installed in 2017. But the bridge is there to serve a transportation function, and its aesthetic qualities are incidental. If The Vessel is no longer attractive as art, why have it at all? Already, the suicides have forced the developers to mandate that visitors have to travel in pairs or groups, and tickets went from free to $10. The structure’s management also posted messages discouraging suicides. Of course, such messages might also make unstable think about suicides if they hadn’t already.
Lowell D. Kern, the chairman of the Community Board, demands significant structural changes. Board members met with a suicide prevention expert who suggested installing netting or raising the height of the glass barriers. He doesn’t care about what the result will look like or if anyone wants to go there at all once it’s suicide proof. Raising the barriers by seven or eight feet would be enough, Mr. Kern said, and would still allow people to have a clear view of the city.
“Yes, technically it is a work of architecture, and I’m messing with the architect’s vision. But we are dealing with life-and-death issues,” Kern said. “Art and architecture have to take a back seat.”
Who says? This is a balancing issue, and I’m not certain that the “back seat” should not be taken by the suicide-minded. [Notice of Correction: That “not” was left out of the original version of the post. Thanks to commenter David C for alerting me.] I hate to be harsh, but suicide has been accurately called the most selfish human act of all, and it is deliberately hostile conduct toward society. Those killing themselves at The Vessel are inflicting their entirely volitional ends on the public, knowing that they will cause the maximum amount of trauma to the living. How much is society ethically obligated to sacrifice to indulge such people. Are there studies that prove that an aspiring suicide who wants to go out with flair at a public attraction will decide, as Dorothy Parker wrote in the conclusion of her famous poem, Resumé, “You might as well live”? Or is the goal to just make sure they give up and go home to swallow sleeping pills?