Culture Trips

Stephen Colbert on Afghanistan: ‘An infinity war, with no endgame’ | Late-night TV roundup

Stephen Colbert

Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that all US forces will depart Afghanistan by 11 September 2021, putting an end to America’s longest war, which has cost $2tn and sprawled over 20 years. “To put that another way, this war is too old to date Matt Gaetz,” joked Stephen Colbert on the Late Show. “Those are 17th-century European numbers. That’s the kind of war you fight because the Spanish contessa rejected your proposal to unite the kingdoms and elope with the Duke of Saxony.

“This conflict is older than the Marvel Cinematic Universe! It’s an infinity war, with no endgame.”

Ending the war has long been a goal for the president, who was the most senior dissenting voice against the troop surge in 2008 and 2009. “This has been going on for so long, Biden’s been trying to get the troops out since he was just regular old,” Colbert explained. “Now he’s just Mountain Dew Baja Blast Extreme old.

“Through the whole thing, our troops have always fulfilled their mission, even when Washington couldn’t clearly define what that mission was,” he continued. “But as the war dragged on, the news stations stopped covering it and politicians stopped talking about it, despite the fact that 2,400 service members gave their lives, the ongoing war in Afghanistan received not even a mention at the presidential debates.

“This war has stayed with us through four White House occupants with nothing changing,” he concluded. “And now Joe Biden has decided it’s time to shut that door to nowhere.”

Trevor Noah

On the Daily Show, Trevor Noah turned to a discussion of the systemic racism behind the police killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a mere 10 miles from the courtroom in which officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd.

On Wednesday, the Brooklyn Center officer Kim Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter after she allegedly confused her gun for her Taser and killed the 20-year-old Wright, who was unarmed, during a traffic stop.

“I think it’s good that she’s being charged, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t mean much on its own,” said Noah. “I mean, charging a police officer is like announcing that you’re withdrawing from Afghanistan – I’m not going to hold my breath for results.

“I don’t think there’s any one change that we could make to police procedure, or equipment, or funding that would fix the entire problem of how cops treat black people,” said Noah. But a start would be fixing a problem outlined by Brooklyn Center mayor’s, Mike Elliott, in a press conference: none of the town’s police officers actually live in Brooklyn Center.

“It matters when you’re not policing your own community, when you’re an outsider, because then you’ve been sent in to enforce,” said Noah. “You’re an occupying force. Because it’s human nature to treat people differently when you’re not from there.

“It’s harder to brutalize people when you live in the same community,” he added. “You’re less likely to body slam someone to the ground when your moms might be in the same book club.”

Samantha Bee

The second-degree manslaughter charges for Potter are “not enough”, said Samantha Bee on Full Frontal. “It does not change the fact that this was yet another horrifying example of violence against black people by the police,” and one of 260 police killings that have occurred in just the first three months of 2021.

“When a white person is pulled over, they don’t have to fear for their lives just because they bought an air freshener to make their car smell like a Christmas tree,” Bee said, referencing the reason Wright, minutes before he was killed, told his mother he was pulled over on Sunday.

“Somehow, the police will pull a black person over for a tiny piece of cardboard hanging from a mirror, but not a white person for having a series of bumper stickers,” like Confederate flags and militia symbols “that say ‘I’m probably a murderer’”.

“Make no mistake: this situation was escalated because Daunte was black,” Bee concluded. “Daunte Wright deserves justice, George Floyd deserves justice, countless other lives destroyed by police violence deserve justice, because black lives matter.”

Jimmy Kimmel

And in Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel provided the latest update in the saga of the Matt Gaetz sex scandal. The Florida congressman and Trump fanboy is under investigation for sex trafficking, a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paying for sexual favors.

On Wednesday, new reports discussed his “wild house parties” with Republican officials. “They would have afterparties following official events with drugs and sex and pita chips and everything,” said Kimmel.

Two women who were at the parties told CNN they saw Gaetz take pills and exchange money for sex. “Has Matt Gaetz learned nothing from Donald Trump?” Kimmel wondered. “You’re supposed to have your lawyer pay the women after you have sex with them, in secret.”

Gaetz has denied the allegations, as well as a CNN report that Trump refused to meet with him at Mar-a-Lago. “All the guy does is brag about his time with Trump, which I guess explains why he’d be so upset about the idea of people thinking Trump won’t see him,” Kimmel said. “Maybe they’ll share a cell together, wouldn’t that be sweet?”

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