Claim that US is now 'not at war' for first time in 20 years draws Twitter rage down on Vox journo who made it
President Joe Biden took a lot of flak in the US media for pulling the plug on Afghan military presence, both for taking the decision in the first place and for the way it was executed. But, despite all flaws, the pullout remains widely supported by the American public, including some members of the mainstream press, which, overall, was highly critical of the president on it.
One of the journalists celebrating the end of the Afghan War seems to have gone too hyperbolic with his praise of Biden, putting himself in the crosshairs on Twitter. Ian Millhiser, a senior Vox correspondent, declared Tuesday to be "the first full day in nearly 20 years that my country is not at war," contrasting his attitude to that of "many other journalists."
Today is the first full day in nearly 20 years that my country is not at war.I am grateful that President Biden had the vision to make this a reality, even though the end of the Afghanistan war makes many other journalists sad.— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) August 31, 2021
Saying that the US is no longer at war after leaving Afghanistan is a stretch, to say the least. American troops remain deployed in Iraq despite a call from that country's parliament to leave. They are stationed in Syria without any mandate, and with a goal to prevent the government in Damascus from retaking control – some call it "illegal occupation." They are engaged in counterinsurgency operations in many African countries, like Niger – and doing it in so much shadow that even lawmakers who are tasked with oversight of the armed forces can get blindsided. And those are just a few examples of US boots on the ground.
Millhiser's assessment infuriated many readers, who rushed to mock him for overlooking the many other conflict zones in which the US plays one role or another. Even those who share his view on the merits of the pullout didn't like the take.
Senior correspondent for Vox doesn’t understand the 120+ military bases and dozens of operations were conducting across the globe — and people wonder why there’s no trust in the media anymore.— Karl Havoc (@LeviHarris) August 31, 2021
This is blatantly false. But the second part is true— Send More Toblerones 🧢 (@dstenroos) August 31, 2021
this year, the US and its directly supported allies have dropped bombs or fired missiles on Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, as well as operating approximately 700 bases abroad in more than 70 countries with 200,000 troops.— The Original Mr. Good Post (@thispostisgood) August 31, 2021
There were also positive reactions to Millhiser's pro-withdrawal sentiments, some comparing him favorably with NBC News war correspondent Richard Engel. Engel belongs to the crowd of journalists that Millhiser described in his tweet as being "sad" about the development.
I glad you're not suffering from what I call the Engel Syndrome. Stay well, friend.— Reinventing (@Miss_Anthrope46) August 31, 2021
Richard Engel inconsolable.— Grand Wear a Mask Get a Damn Vax Moff 🦄 (@GrandMoffJoseph) August 31, 2021
Ironically, Engel is infamous for misperceiving things in favor of a preferred narrative. In 2012 his news team was abducted in Syria, by people who pretended to be government loyalists. Engel was later forced to admit that the kidnappers were likely an anti-government militia – one of many supposedly "moderate" groups that the US government was supporting in the hope they would topple the government. The apparent false flag was arguably a preview of multiple future attempts by jihadists to provoke a stronger US military involvement in Syria.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan triggered a collapse of the West-backed government in Kabul and landed the country in the hands of the Taliban. Over a hundred thousand people were airlifted out of the Afghan capital before the August 31 deadline.
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