The fall of Kabul has exposed, in horrifying and dramatic fashion, the incompetence and folly of the Biden administration.
The reports and images coming out of Afghanistan are dire. As many as 10,000 American citizens are trapped behind enemy lines, stranded in and around Kabul in what amounts to a massive hostage crisis. It remains unclear whether they will be allowed to leave or even if they can even make it to the airport safely.
Moreover, tens of thousands of Afghans who worked with the U.S. military are also trying to leave before the Taliban find them and their families. The White House seems to have no plan to get any of these people out, and the Pentagon has suggested it might not be able to do so.
All of this speaks to the corruption and ineptitude of American political and military leadership, for which Biden and his deputies must be made to answer. But the reactions to these events, not just from our political leaders but also from our tech and media elites, have exposed a deeper rot: the weakness and moral bankruptcy of the west, and the hollowness of modern secular liberalism.
For days now, liberal news outlets have been repeating, as if to reassure us, that the Taliban have pledged to respect women’s rights, “within the framework of Islamic law.” But we all know what that means. Already there are reports of Afghan women and girls being forced into “marriages” with Taliban fighters, the closure of girls’ schools, and the killing of a woman who appeared in public without a head covering — likely the first of many.
In response, the White House issued a joint statement with dozens of other countries on Wednesday saying they are all “deeply worried about Afghan woman and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement. We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection.”
INBOX: US, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, European Union, Honduras, Guatemala, North Macedonia, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Senegal, Switzerland, & UK call on Taliban to protect rights of women & girls pic.twitter.com/pm2GjBP9WC
— Christian Datoc (@TocRadio) August 18, 2021
The joint statement goes on to declare that all Afghan women and girls, “deserve to live in safety, security and dignity.”
Surely, they do. But if ensuring Afghan women’s rights was really a priority for the leaders of these countries, they would have seen to it that the Taliban, of all people, didn’t seize control of Afghanistan.
As it is, the Taliban are now very much in control, and it does not seem to occur to our leaders that the new rulers of Afghanistan, who adhere to a strict interpretation of Sharia law, have wholly different definitions of safety, security, and dignity for women and girls. Our elites cannot even imagine the mindset of jihadists who believe that western feminism, for example, is an assault on the sanctity of the family and an affront to Allah. They scarcely believe that Taliban fighters are actually motivated by sincere religious convictions.
Even if they could believe such a thing, the notion that the Taliban regime would allow Afghan women to vote, work, or live according to the norms of women in the European Union is ridiculous. The idea that Taliban theocrats would give a second thought to the abject pleading of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who said, “What we want to see is women and girls being able to access work and education,” is pure fantasy. It would be laughable if it weren’t so deadly serious.
Yet this is all our political elites can muster in the face of abject defeat at the hands of jihadist utopians: a strongly worded letter, a stern warning while we hasten to the exits. That’ll show them.
Or consider the moral insanity of Twitter, which banned former President Donald Trump for saying things Democrats dislike but announced this week that it will allow Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid to continue to post to his 322,000 followers — as long as he doesn’t get too violent. In what seemed a parody of doublespeak, the company said in a statement that, “Twitter’s top priority is keeping people safe, and we remain vigilant.”
Picking up on this thread, the Washington Post published an article Wednesday unironically headlined, “Today’s Taliban uses sophisticated social media practices that rarely violate the rules.” Framed as an explanation of how sophisticated the Taliban have become in the age of social media, the article quickly descends into absurdity, citing experts who aver that “Trump’s posts for years challenged platform rules against hate speech and inciting violence. Today’s Taliban, by and large, does not.”
According to the twisted moral logic of Twitter, Trump’s mean tweets are tantamount to the incitement of violence and require his removal from the platform, but dissimulation from an actual terrorist group, infamous for its brutality and actual, mind-boggling levels of violence, is fine so long as they parse their tweets carefully.
All this shows that our elites don’t actually care about violence or even incitement to violence, any more than they care all that much about the rights, dignity, or safety of women. In the face of real evil, real violence, they are reduced to inane platitudes.
The truth is, it does not occur to our elites that the world they wish to impose on the Taliban might be only slightly less morally repugnant than the world the Taliban wish to impose on Afghanistan. Our leaders govern societies that systematically deny the rights of the unborn and the elderly, that aggressively violate their citizens’ rights of free speech and free exercise of religion. They seek to create a world where parents have almost no rights over the education and rearing of their children, where toxic ideologies about race and transgenderism are forced on young and old alike, and parents are afraid to oppose these ideologies for fear of the state.
In other words, they do not really believe the things they say about rights, equality, and dignity. They are morally bereft. That’s why, when confronted by the bloody moral absolutism of the Taliban, they sputter nonsense and do nothing.
It would be better, at this late hour, if our leaders said nothing and quietly went about the business of evacuating our citizens. The time for lectures on morality is long past, and they have no standing to speak.