OPINION

Facing cancer, the Afghanistan crisis, Trump, and homeschooling during COVID: top columns

From cancer, Bush's failure in Afghanistan, and homeschooling in the pandemic to vaccine mandates and Trump: top columns you may have missed.

USA TODAY

In today's fast-paced news environment, it can be hard to keep up. For your weekend reading, we've started in-case-you-missed-it compilations of some of the week's top USA TODAY Opinion pieces. As always, thanks for reading, and for your feedback.

— USA TODAY Opinion editors

1. George W. Bush made the bigger mistake in Afghanistan

By Robert Robb

"President Joe Biden doesn’t deserve the blame for the Taliban taking over Afghanistan. However, he is at fault for the disorderly, dangerous and chaotic end to the U.S. involvement. The original, and tragic, strategic miscalculation in Afghanistan was made by President George W. Bush. He repeated the error in Iraq."

2. I hate cancer. I hate the pain. I hate the meds. I hate the incremental death.

By Jack Kurtz

"It is completely mental, but the paralysis is total. I can’t function. It’s a horrible thing to be sitting in the car, in a state of mental paralysis, and not be able to get out. At home, when I’m triggered, I go to bed and try to burrow through the bedding to some place cancer doesn’t exist."

3. Mr. President, get them out. Get them out now. Bring them home safely.

By The Editorial Board

"But those 1,500 U.S. citizens remain (and that number doesn't include legal residents of America, who remain in Afghanistan but are not included in the official tally, Blinken said). The lives of thousands of Afghans who worked with the U.S. government and NATO allies also are in jeopardy. Their only hope now is to reach the airport and to be flown to safety outside the country."

4. Trump is not ruining democracy, we are. And it's been anguishing to confront

By Tom Nichols  

"We, ourselves, have become unwilling to engage in civic life at even the most basic level of regular voting. We, ourselves, have embraced consumerism that demands ever better and ever cheaper products no matter what the cost to our own economy. We, ourselves, have chosen to be solitary viewers of television and social media, and then to express ourselves in public only with performative and childish rage."

5. Are we overreacting to COVID by keeping our son home for school? Spoiler alert, we're not.

By Louie Villalobos 

"So we’ll keep our son away until he’s vaccinated and we’ll deal with the stress that will come from home-schooling and the worry that he’s missing out. We’ll do our best to foster exploration through field trips and bring in varied learning tools to help him stay on task. We’ll keep wearing masks when we go out and insist people who visit do the same."

6. With Pfizer's FDA approval, employers should now require COVID-19 vaccinations

By The Editorial Board 

"But with only 51.5% of the population fully vaccinated, kids going back to school and cases increasing, America can't wait for people to make up their minds any longer. After months of proving to Americans that the vaccine is safe, it's clear that employer-based mandates are the only way to get some people to act – for their own sake and for the safety of everyone around them."

7. Trapped in Kabul: Why has America left its citizens in Afghanistan to fend for themselves?

By James S. Robbins

"UK troops are picking up British, Irish and Afghan nationals and other nationalities if they are at the pickup location. The Taliban have not stopped those rescue efforts so far. However, these daring operations are getting pushback from American senior commanders who think it threatens the airport security deal."

8. Voters want progressive prosecutors. Biden must follow through on promise to guide reform.

By Keith Ellison, Miriam Aroni Krinsky and Joyce White Vance

"Despite these long overdue changes, some have been pushing back on reform by promoting an unfortunate and inaccurate narrative. As violent crime rates rose in some cities across the country, police union leaders and tough-on-crime officials, including then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr, falsely proclaimed it the fault of criminal-justice reform and laid blame at the feet of so-called progressive prosecutors. This misguided and partisan finger-pointing ignored the far more pertinent fact that the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the institutions responsible for promoting public safety and plunged countless Americans into desperation.

9.  Masks? No masks? Parents are not OK with the circus routine of back to school as COVID cases rise

By Connie Schultz

"Their circus routine makes the case for mandating face masks. Parents who mock science and public safety during a pandemic are raising the next generation of bullies. Schools that make masks optional are setting up children who do wear them for ridicule, and possibly worse."

10. Look homeward, America: Afghan women aren't the only victims of gender-based violence

By Carli Pierson

"Journalists, educators and politicians must be careful not to center Afghani women solely as victims. Women in Afghanistan are resilient, educated, powerful and run the gamut of opinions, desires and deeds (much like non-Afghan women). We are also guilty of taking away their agency when we frame them only as victims."