We Won’t Forget Americans Left Behind


We saw it, and called it out, on September 2. After a couple of weeks of intense coverage of Afghanistan that was just brutal to President Biden and his administration, the news media started to move on to other issues. The front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today all turned their attention to Hurricane Ida’s rains hitting New York City and the Supreme Court’s declining to block the Texas abortion law.

On that day, it seemed like the media were eager to change the subject to anything but Afghanistan. MSNBC’s lead story was about January 6 again, and the top item on Memeorandum that morning was the New York Times story, “Joe Rogan, A Podcasting Giant Who Has Been Dismissive of Vaccination, Has Covid.” You could almost hear the sigh of relief in big-city newsrooms as the news cycle returned to “normal,” and big media organizations no longer had to remind their readers, listeners, and viewers that Joe Biden had led the country to a humiliating defeat and humanitarian disaster.

The Morning Jolt of that day noted all this. And NR’s morning newsletter, and countless articles and essays by my many colleagues, continued to cover Afghanistan, week after week, including the struggles of the American citizens and green-card holders and Afghan allies left behind. Unlike some other news institutions, National Review never assented to the Biden administration’s attitude of “out of sight, out of mind.”

We won’t move on. We’ll continue to cover this story. It’s just part of the work we do that our fall webathon aims to support. Work such as this:

  • In a series of articles, our Ryan Mills reported on a group of more than 100 U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who escaped from Afghanistan and were being held at the Abu Dhabi airport after American agencies initially denied their charter flight’s entry into the United States. They later made it to Chicago.
  • Brittany Bernstein reported how Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley declared there was a “real possibility” that al-Qaeda or ISIS could rebuild in Afghanistan as early as this coming spring.
  • Kevin Williamson asked hard questions about what President Biden knew about the drone strike that killed an innocent aid worker and several Afghan children, and when he knew it.
  • Jay Nordlinger interviewed John Bolton, who declared, “We have given up a huge strategic advantage for the United States and left ourselves more vulnerable — not just to terrorism emanating from Afghanistan, but from the impression we created all around the world by withdrawing.”
  • John McCormack reported the jaw-dropping statistic that only “approximately three percent” of the 60,000 Afghan evacuees already brought to the United States “have been individuals who are in receipt of the special immigrant visas.”

One of the tasks National Review is best at is maintaining attention and scrutiny on the stories, issues, and scandals that the rest of the media would prefer to forget. At a time when so many other publications have demonstrated their acquiescence to the administration’s desire to move on, we have stood athwart the temptation to forget. The story’s not over yet. Innocent people are still in harm’s way. We are likely to be dealing with the consequences of the Taliban takeover and the chaotic withdrawal for a long time.

It’s all a grim picture. But what we can do is refuse to look away and refuse to go along with an administration that would prefer we all forgot about that country and its people.

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