The Bansai At Karzai

The shitshow at Karzai International Airport was looking like explosive diarrhea, but an Immodium shower seems to have happened. Full planes are departing, empty ones are arriving, troops are there, and it all seems less frantic from my comfortable perch on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.

The Defense Department has taken over the briefings, while the hapless officials at the State Department have faded and have quit giving absurd replies to journalists’ questions they don’t like, which was pretty much all of them. Defense Department spox seem to be straightforward and as transparent as possible. Did something happen?

My amateur eye is impressed so far with the Defense Department’s conduct. At least 5,000 troops are there to secure the airport, with more on the way. Getting that many people there that quickly was pretty good, and it isn’t just the people with guns. They have to eat something, sleep somewhere, rotate shifts, get medical care, shit, shower, and shave, and so on. It’s not just the folks with guns, it’s the support they require as well. It’s been a Class A logistics achievement.

Karzai Airport has one runway. At times, full planes depart every ten minutes, if I heard this morning’s briefing correctly, with empty planes also landing. Moreover, fighter jets are circling overhead. That means, to me, that air traffic control is pretty good in the middle of all the chaos. The Defense Department has done all that in just a couple of days.

The State Department still has to “process” the non-Americans who want to leave, and the bureaucratic process appears to be stifling. The army can’t do that part, nor should it. But still, compared to just a couple of days ago, I wondered if the operation’s management had shifted from State to Defense.

Why did the State Department mess up? Was it because the staff had been gutted during the prior administration? Was it because whoever was doing the work wasn’t good at it? Poor planning, or even zero planning? We don’t know. We’ll find out in the post mortem.

Is Andrew Sullivan Right?

I booted up Twitter early this morning and saw that Andrew Sullivan (@Sullydish) was trending. My choice at the moment was to find out why, or to walk the dog. The dog won. As best as I could determine, during some TV segment or other, Mr. Sullivan said something to the effect that we need to learn to live with COVID and quit spending so much time arguing about what to do. The dog was unimpressed.

I’m calling Marquess of Twitter Rules, here, which means I get to opine without seeing the segment nor reading 99.9 percent of the comments. Moreover, this blog is mine, and I can do whatever I want.

So: Mr. Sullivan has a point, I think. Why? The angry fighting over it all—mask/not mask, vax/not vax, the whole catastrophe—isn’t accomplishing much. If governments mandate people to get vaccinated or to mask up, does that mean everyone will just say, Oh, okay, sounds good? No. Everyone just gets pissed and launches into their hardwired talking points.

As one who believes in vaccinations and masking, I’m kind of sick of carrying water for those who do not, and those who drag their feet, their knuckles, or explode in righteous outrage need to face the consequences. Already, we’re seeing airlines and hotels and bars and restaurants requiring vaccinations of both patrons and staff. The same thing should happen in grocery stores, shopping malls, and everywhere else people gather.

No vaccination? Fine. Our hours for the unvaxxed are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Don’t want a vaccination or don’t want to wear a mask? That’s okay, but you’ll have to get your own airline. And so on.

These are sensible business decisions. I, for one, won’t take an airline that doesn’t require vaccinations and/or masks, and I won’t buy groceries at outlets who don’t take this COVID thing seriously. And as I read news reports, more and more businesses are adopting these kinds of restrictions.

My guess is schools will follow. The danger of COVID in schools appears to reflect the severity and number of cases in the greater community, and school boards will react to protect kids and teachers. Don’t want a vaccination or don’t want to wear a mask? Okay, fine. Stay home. But you’re responsible for work missed. Oh, and if you play sports, you’ll need to figure out something else.

But whatever restrictions happen, the larger point is that with so many people not getting vaccinated, COVID isn’t going away. Like any virus, it will continue to mutate as long as there are enough hosts out there, and lots of people have decided they’d prefer to be hosts. Right or wrong, that’s a fact on the ground.

That being the case, Mr. Sullivan is right. We’ll have to figure out how to live with it.