Episode 81: Mission Creep Accomplished

The Latest with Greg Ott
The Latest with Greg Ott
Episode 81: Mission Creep Accomplished


Those voices are discussing Afghanistan, the “graveyard of empires” like that of the British and Soviet Union that scored a great deal on a new plot for the United States.

As the USA prepares to wrap up the longest conflict in the nation’s history, many  exhausted citizens find themselves asking the same question: if we want to wage a successful war, could we try invading domestic poverty? 

On Tuesday, President Biden announced that the United States will be withdrawing all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan, leaving a dinner party years after the guests finished their meals and the host, hoping that they’d the hint that it’s time to go, started blowing up their cars in the driveway.

The goal is to leave on 9/11/21, twenty years to the day since the attacks of September 11, a period in which nearly 3,000 Americans dying on a single day wasn’t just background noise you tuned out while working from home.

The date is an extension of a May 1 deadline agreed to by the former president, who you think would have preferred to stick around a little longer given his affinity for violent insurgencies.

In 2001, the United States and its allies descended upon Afghanistan to track down Osama bin Laden, who was believed to have been hiding out in the country’s mountains and would altogether disappear from public view for the rest of the decade like Ashlee Simpson.

After bin Laden was killed in 2011 and dumped into the ocean like an empty two-liter bottle, the USA and NATO members began to draw down forces in the country as they continued to fight The Taliban, a group of religious fundamentalists that make Pat Robertson look like Dan Savage.

But even as forces have remained to fight off terrorist groups like ISIS, and help ward off what’s likely to be an inevitable civil war between the Talian and the Afghan government, finally leaving the country grants the United States the freedom to stop Operation Enduring Freedom from limping along as Operation Enduring Operation. 

It’s not fair to reduce twenty years of conflict down to a six minute podcast, especially to the host and writer who tasked himself with carrying out the research. 

If you want a more thorough breakdown of the country’s recent history, I highly recommend the first episode of The Red Line podcast, hosted by Michael Hilliard — a guest on this program from several months ago, for listeners looking to binge this program’s treasured archive of old news.

Staying is a complicated situation, leaving is a complicated situation. But this concert’s been going on for a terribly long time and it’s not like we’ll be treated to “Freebird” if we stick around for the encore. 

Foreign Policy — the magazine, not the policy — recently explored how National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who resembles an adult Jared Kushner, wants to reframe national security to address domestic needs.

And even though that makes it sound like CVS is about to lock more stuff behind the razor blade cabinet, I can’t help but think that’s correct. 

Between gun violence, misinformation, and the pandemic, it’s safe to say that our house is a little out of sorts — police officers entrusted to “protect and serve” are murdering 13-year-old boys and mistaking Glocks for tasers, yet legislatures across the country are preoccupied with regulating which basketball team a teen that identifies as a girl should be allowed to play for. 

I don’t have an immediate worry of being attacked by a foreign jihadist, but I do have a persistent fear of being blown away by a local jihadist for having made the mistake of walking in to the wrong Staples for a ream of printer paper. 

Those soldiers we’ve been sending into conflict since UPN was still on the air? They’re twice as likely to die from an opioid overdose than the average UPN viewer — thank you for your service. 

And if you’re the type of person who’s worried about the risks posed by a corrupt theocracy usurping power from democratic institutions, you could always stop voting for the GOP. 

I don’t want any part of the world to return to being a safe haven for terrorists any more than I want McDonald’s to resurrect the McRib. 

But after two decades of drone strikes, IEDs, and 24 different versions of Call of Duty, not including the expansion packs, it’s high time we stop focusing on the weapons of war in the hands of trained solders fighting terror cells abroad so we can start focusing on the weapons of war in the hands of incels at home.