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The Morning Briefing: Afghanistan, Tucker, Cruz, Boosters, and Chris Cuomo

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 17, 2021 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 17, 2021 |


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Good morning. I guess the Morning Briefing is back!

— President Biden yesterday defended his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, insisting “I stand squarely behind my decision,” and taking full blame for what transpired. “The buck stops with me.” He said he would not pass the conflict on to a fifth president, and getting stuck in a civil war in Afghanistan is not in our national security interests. I still don’t know what to make of all this, except that Biden was saddled with 40-years of bad American foreign policy in Afghanistan (that began with Reagan) and took it upon himself to try and clean it up. I’m not defending the guy, exactly, but he was given a bad hand, and he played it poorly. But even if he’d played it perfectly, the result would not have been that different.

I also feel like the media has been waiting for six months for Biden to make a colossal mistake so that they could finally extract some clicks out of this otherwise boring Presidency, but I think they’re hitting the sauce a little hard with headlines/false equivalencies like these:

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Everyone still remembers that Donald Trump called the leader of North Korea “little rocket man,” abandoned Kurdistan as a favor to a dictator, started an insurrection, was impeached twice, and handled the pandemic in such a way that we are still paying for it with 130,000 cases and 500 deaths a day? But sure, Biden’s just as bad.

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In any respect, the Biden Administration has vowed to continue evacuating 22,000 Afghan refugees who aided the U.S. effort. I hope to God they pull it off. It doesn’t look like a particularly safe withdrawal.

But if you ask Tucker Carlson what the Republicans are most upset about, it’s not Taliban rule or the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and it’s not in the way that Biden mismanaged the withdrawal. It’s the fear that those Afghan refugees — to whom our military owes a great debt — will become permanent residents of the United States. WHAT IF THEY VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS?

Meanwhile, Ted Cruz — trying to score political points off of human suffering — retweeted a misleading meme from conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec and got called out for it by CNN.

The journalist, Clarissa Ward, who bravely pressed a Taliban fighter about women’s rights, also explained why the meme was inaccurate:

Oh, and Ted Cruz, by the way?

In domestic news, let’s just say that things are still not going well in Florida. FOUR DAYS!

The Biden Administration, meanwhile, is calling for COVID booster shots about eight months after your first shot, so older folks and healthcare workers should be able to start lining up as soon as they are approved, which is expected to be around mid-September. Let’s get those shots for kids under 12 lined up soon, too, OK? (Those booster shots, by the way, are already available to immunocompromised folks).

Those vaccine mandates seem to be working some, too.

Finally, over on CNN, Chris Cuomo returned last night, and addressed the situation with his brother. Do you care what he had to say because I don’t care what he had to say.


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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.



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