Columns

Afghanistan Tragedy Is a Political Disaster for Team Biden

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The attack that killed 13 Americans and at least 100 Afghans in Kabul on Thursday does not spell “the end” of the Biden presidency, but it’s absolutely a moral and political catastrophe for the 46th president.

Biden claims Americans agree with his controversial decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. However, even a week before bloody Thursday, he’d lost 20 points of support once people saw the horrific images and pondered a terror attack on the homeland.

And yes, former president Donald Trump made a suspect deal with the Taliban for a full American withdrawal even earlier this year.

This, however, does not absolve Biden of accountability for the ongoing debacle. The world will remember horrifying images of Afghans clinging to and then falling from cargo planes; an infant being tossed over razor wire; and Thursday’s atrocious attacks.

Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline is almost here, and he’s far too obstinate to listen to heartfelt allies who want him to extend it.

The president’s fatigued national address Thursday evening also did not meet the moment, with proclamations for retribution coming across as futile considering his withdrawal deadline on the very near horizon.

The White House is desperately trying to distract by emphasizing the amount of people evacuated by the U.S. military, which reportedly is more than 100,000. Few will consider these operations a moral victory.

Republicans have “pounced” on the recent failures, with Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Josh Hawley quickly calling for Biden to resign, while Sen. Lindsey Graham sought impeachment earlier this week.

None of that will occur — at least until 2023. And for many conservatives, the prospect of the unlikable, inept Kamala Harris in the Oval Office is even worse.

Democrats and their supporters likely hope the Afghanistan surrender and travesty fade from voters’ minds before midterm elections next November. That’s hard to say.

The only certain thing is that the self-inflicted chaos abroad and at home is the toughest stretch of Biden’s presidency to date, and it’s only getting worse.

The Dispatch, in only their second-ever staff editorial Friday, concluded with sentient advice:

“The Biden administration has repeatedly insisted that any withdrawal of this kind would involve ‘some chaos’—as if acknowledging the inevitability of ‘some chaos’ exonerates any amount of chaos and humiliation at the hands of the Taliban or other terrorist groups in Afghanistan. And that is what is so infuriating and heartbreaking. It didn’t have to be this way. If we had continued supporting the Afghan military with a small residual force as part of our counterterrorism strategy, the government could have hung on long enough to at least make an orderly withdrawal possible. If the Trump or Biden administrations had delayed the departure date until winter, when the Taliban returns to Pakistan to wait out the snows and bring in its poppy crops, we would have had the strategic space to avoid unfavorable comparisons to Saigon.”

This is mostly true. “Ifs” don’t win or end wars, though.

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