Joe Biden may be able to recover from the Afghanistan fiasco, but it’s going to leave a very dark and deep stain on his presidency.
Even though it is not completely of his own making, the appalling disaster is coming on Biden’s watch, the proximate result of his own decisions, and is a moral, political, and policy FUBAR for the ages.
The optics are horrible. The reality is worse. And the worst is certain to come.
Make sure you read these pieces in today’s Bulwark:
“America Has a Moral Obligation to Get Our Translators Out of Afghanistan,” by André Mann and Alan Cross:
We promised we would get them out. We promised we would stand by the thousands of Afghan translators and their families as they stood by our troops and American government personnel and contractors for almost 20 years. But, now those promises are in grave danger of being broken.
As the American flag has been lowered at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul after the Taliban swept into the capital city over the weekend in the wake of U.S. troop withdrawal and the fleeing of the country by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, thousands of Afghan translators and their families are running, or hiding, for their lives. The Taliban has declared them to be enemies and traitors. It is a moral imperative that the American government and people fulfill our promises and rescue the 80,000 to 90,000 Afghan translators and family members who are enrolled in the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) application process (around 18,000 interpreters). We have only rescued around 2,000 at this point.
“We Didn’t Think Our American Friends Would Leave Us in the Dead of Night,” by Martin Rahmani:
When President Joe Biden was elected, we were promised a return to “normalcy.” The grown-ups had come back into government and America would wash away the stain of President Donald Trump’s legacy. As the Taliban took Kabul over the weekend, the return to normalcy was President Biden exhibiting the same reckless callousness we had come to expect from Trump.
“Why the Afghan Army Fell to the Taliban: When the U.S. withdrawal was announced, logistical support evaporated.”
Rarely has an American president's predictions been so wrong, so fast, so convincingly as President Biden on Afghanistan….
The big picture: It's a stunning failure for the West, and embarrassment for Biden. And it's a traumatic turn for U.S. veterans who sacrificed in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, the 20,000+ wounded in action, and survivors of the more than 2,300 U.S. military personnel who were killed.
There’s plenty of blame to go around for the 20-year debacle in Afghanistan—enough to fill a library of books. Perhaps the effort to rebuild the country was doomed from the start. But our abandonment of the Afghans who helped us, counted on us, staked their lives on us, is a final, gratuitous shame that we could have avoided. The Biden administration failed to heed the warnings on Afghanistan, failed to act with urgency—and its failure has left tens of thousands of Afghans to a terrible fate. This betrayal will live in infamy. The burden of shame falls on President Joe Biden.
Hot Takes — An Overview
The commentary is brutal, but — as usual — runs the gamut from the good, bad, and ugly to the hackish, bigoted, and revisionist. A sampling:
The Maga house-bigot:
The FashCon take:
The hilarious homophobia:
Erick Erickson @EWEricksonThe American Ambassador to Afghanistan has taken down the American flag and fled. What did he do with the rainbow flag?
The memory hole:
Mike Pompeo @mikepompeoThe Taliban are butchers. We demanded a set of conditions and made clear the costs we would impose if they failed to deliver. They haven’t. The deterrence we achieved held during our time. This administration has failed. https://t.co/pdG2Mneh5Y
And the hackish:
Seung Min Kim @seungminkim“Civilians are already reporting shuttered girls’ schools, poor families forced to cook food for ravenous fighters and young men pressured to join the ranks of the militants.” https://t.co/wtSTmsVO3C
NT Breaks Bad on Biden
Nota Bene: Never Trump does not mean giving a pass to Joe Biden.
Liz Cheney @Liz_CheneyThe Taliban continues to support, harbor and fight alongside al Qaeda. They are not a partner for peace. Any deal that fails to prevent America’s enemies from establishing safe-havens on Afghan soil is a phony deal that threatens our security and risks another 9/11. https://t.co/Yd7X3Tif7w
Adam Kinzinger was not impressed with the WH photo-op.
Jo @JoJoFromJerz@AdamKinzinger Why? Because it wasn’t staged to look like something it’s not? Where should our President be? Golfing? I appreciate your steadfast adherence to the truth when it comes to the 1/6 attack on the Capitol, but trolling the POTUS all day ain’t it, Congressman. This is petty & small.
Yes, Trump set this in motion. But…