Psaki: I wouldn't say that Americans are "stranded" in Afghanistan

I guess we can have a semantic debate over whether someone can properly be described as “stranded” if they still have a chance of being evacuated.

But if I were stuck in an apartment in Kabul, knowing that there are Taliban patrolling the streets, that ISIS is threatening the airport, that crowds outside the perimeter make transit impossible, and that the U.S. is facing a drop-dead date of next Tuesday to get everyone out before the shooting starts, I don’t know.


I might feel a little stranded in that situation.

Not yet “abandoned,” maybe. But headed in that direction.

Jeryl Bier notes that when John Kirby was asked about Americans being “stranded” a few days ago, he didn’t quibble with the description:

Q: Since the mission with the three Chinooks that rescued the 169 Americans have there been any other airlift rescue operations? And is that maybe a way that other Americans who are still stranded might be able to get to the airport?

MR. KIRBY: No. And I won’t speculate about potential future operations going forward.

“If you are behind enemy lines and it’s too dangerous to get to the point of evacuation, you are stranded,” tweeted Rich Lowry.

Can we reach a compromise on terminology, maybe? Instead of “stranded,” how about “isolated with little hope of near-term rescue due to the incompetence of the president’s administration?”

See, I feel like this might qualify as “stranded.” From Tom Cotton’s office:


It’s only a matter of time before we hear grumbling from Democrats about the media being biased by characterizing Americans as being “stranded” in the city. They’ve been doing a lot of that this week, insisting that the coverage of withdrawal has been unfairly negative because the press is hawkish by nature. Not because, you know, the scene at the airport is an insane clusterf**k which has already resulted in several people being killed and thousands of others at risk of being strand— er, left behind.

“The media tends to bend over backwards to ‘both-sides’ all of their coverage, but they made an exception for this,” said Eric Schultz, a deputy press secretary under President Barack Obama. “They both-sides coverage over masks, and vaccines, and school openings and everything else. Somehow [the Afghanistan withdrawal] created a rush to judgment and a frenzy that we haven’t seen in a long time.”…

A source close to the White House identified this dynamic to HuffPost. “They are elevating the Blob, whose members spent years lying about progress in Afghanistan (and who often have financial conflicts of interest),” the source said, using the “blob” colloquialism that refers to the Washington foreign policy establishment. “The result is that many in the press are left effectively endorsing the view that the U.S. should have sent more American service members into Afghanistan to fight and die to stop another Taliban offensive ― despite supposedly being impartial.”


I think the so-called foreign policy “Blob” and its media fellow travelers could have lived with withdrawal, knowing the ugliness that would follow as the Taliban asserted control. What no one can live with is the needless national humiliation unfolding in the execution, the latest indication among many over the past 20 years that America no longer has its act together.

Anyway, here we are, less than three weeks before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and the White House press secretary’s only response to a question about thousands of Americans at risk of being taken hostage by the Taliban is to try to lawyer her way out of it. How’s that for a vignette of U.S. decline?

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