Trying to make sense of America’s disaster in Afghanistan? Let John Oliver help you out. In the latest Last Week Tonight Oliver looks back over the last 20 years of America’s catastrophic presence in the country, from how the US invaded it with little debate and poor planning during the Bush administration, through Obama’s expansion of America’s military presence and massive escalation of drone strikes, to Biden poorly implementing the poorly planned pullout the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban. Throughout its history Afghanistan has successfully withstood the encroachment of imperial powers, and the US is just the latest would-be empire to stumble there—something Oliver points out with a relevant clip from Rambo III, a movie that basically predicted the US’s failure in Afghanistan almost 15 years before the invasion even happened.
Oliver’s segment is a depressing but important explainer on the overarching chaos and confusion that defined America’s nebulous mission in Afghanistan throughout the last two decades, but with jokes. Also it shows once again how Oliver and his show aren’t partisan; it criticizes Obama and Biden for America’s failures and incomprehensible strategy in Afghanistan as much as it does Bush or Trump. That’s something you won’t typically see from right-wing media like talk radio or the various conservative news channels, which tend to only criticize Republicans for not being far enough to the right.
If you’re looking for a summary of the American collapse in Afghanistan that’s slightly easier to watch than a cable news segment, check out this clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.