You’re reading Reaction. To get Iain Martin’s weekly newsletter and full access to the site, sign up for a free 30-day trial here. Rhetoric and reality have drifted apart with the news from Afghanistan and the wordplay continues in London, Washington, and the capitals of Europe. “This is what defeat looks like” the Army veteran MP Tom Tugendhat declared in the most powerful speech in the special debate in the House of Commons. The most powerful reality check, however, came from the former prime minister Theresa May, spelling out how America had consulted no ally about the manner in which they abandoned Afghanistan.