Speed Reads

Last Night on Late Night

Late night hosts generously parcel out U.S. blame for the Taliban's Afghanistan rout

"Of course everyone's talking about the situation in Afghanistan," Jimmy Fallon said on Monday's Tonight Show. "The U.S. is in the middle of a withdrawal from the country, and yesterday the Afghan government fell to the Taliban. That's right, last year Trump made a peace deal with the Taliban to end the war and now, after Biden's withdrawal, they're back in power. So on the bright side, it's nice to have a bipartisan screw-up. You could tell things aren't good for Biden because today he said, 'Do you know, maybe the election was stolen.'"

The U.S. has been in Afghanistan "for 20 years, we spent $2 trillion, we trained a 300,000-man-strong Afghan army, and the Taliban took it over in 10 days," Stephen Colbert sighed at The Late Show. The U.S. evacuation is being compared to Vietnam, which is "not a flattering comparison," he added. "You never want to see this review: 'The food was excellent and the line up to the salad bar was like the Fall of Saigon. 4 stars.'"

"Because he's the president, President Biden's getting a lot of criticism," and "it's hard to argue that the White House didn't shank the withdrawal," Colbert said. But it was "pretty weird" for former President Donald Trump "to blame Biden for withdrawing troops when this summer he was claiming credit for it," he added. "That's like Andrew Lloyd Webber calling Cats a terrible movie. You wrote a musical with no plot — how did you think this was gonna end?"

In a speech Monday, "Biden pointed out that our Afghan allies did not show the will to fight," and "he's right," Colbert said. "Why should our soldiers be fighting radicals in a civil war in Afghanistan? We've got our own on Capitol Hill." After 20 years and four presidents, "maybe there was no good alternative," he said. "Were we never supposed to leave? Make Afghanistan the 51st state — they'd have better COVID numbers than Florida. So you can make us accept that there was no good alternative, but you can't make us feel good about it."

"The Taliban yesterday entered the city of Kabul and took control of Afghanistan's presidential palace," Seth Meyers said on Late Night. "Most Americans watched in horror, while some Americans watched for tips." More seriously, he urged "the U.S. to accept as many Afghan refugees as possible," quickly.

The Daily Show briefly made sure to include George W. Bush.