One word has been repeated again and again, all along the ideological spectrum, in the reporting on the disaster in Afghanistan: “incompetence.”
Incompetence there has been aplenty, and its display is both depressing and ubiquitous. It turns out that the technocratic elite to which we have entrusted our lives, not to mention the lives of the Afghans, is technically maladroit and incapable of effective governance. Our preposterous and “woke” Secretary of Defense epitomized the incapacity a few days ago when he admitted that the United States does not have the “capability to go out and collect large numbers of people.” Hello?
But incompetence is only a surface presentation of a much deeper malady, which revolves around the question of legitimacy.
I mean this in the deepest sense. It’s not just a matter of whether certain rules have been followed in putting various people in office or securing their government sinecures.
That’s one sort, perhaps an essential but ultimately superficial sort, of legitimacy.
What is happening here is something much deeper, more existential, if you will.
What just happened—what is happening still—in Afghanistan is an unfolding horror for the Afghan people.
For the United States, it is a rude snatching away of the curtain of legitimacy.