Biden was almost Trump-like in his defiance and refusal to apologize for the Afghanistan debacle
By Gary Abernathy
I have to admit, I liked a lot of what Biden had to say
President Joe Biden is taking a lot of flak for the disaster happening in Afghanistan in the wake of our troop removal. Much of it is deserved, because clearly there was little pre-planning in removing key personnel and allies who should not be left to the horrors of what might face them at the hands of the Taliban.
But I actually liked much of what Biden had to say in his remarks on Monday. In fact, one reason I liked it is probably because it sounded a lot like Donald Trump — stubborn, defiant, doubling down and in your face. Right or wrong, Biden is sticking with his decision. Yes, he deflected a bit, but I had no problem with a reminder of how we got here. When Trump pledged to end our involvement in Afghanistan, many of the voices on the right that are crying foul today were silent back then. Now, they’re trying to claim Trump wouldn’t have allowed the current chaos to happen. I don’t buy that.
As Biden said, there’s never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces, wherever they may be stationed. That’s so true. Military leaders will always argue for a little more time, a few more resources, a tweak or two to the strategy, and everything will be alright. Not true.
As painful as this is, it was a no-win situation. Could the withdrawal have been handled much better? Absolutely, and it’s right for Biden to be held accountable for that. But no matter how much planning goes into something as volatile as this situation, there are never any guarantees it will go smoothly or safely.
Whatever happened to Andrew Cuomo?
In an example of how something that is wall-to-wall news is really not very important when something else comes along, the saga of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has all but vanished from our news feeds and cable TV lineups.
The Cuomo story was important, but it was always overplayed in comparison to the impact it had on the country as a whole. Looking back, it was a sign of how slow the news was for several weeks that the Cuomo soap opera was played so prominently and so breathlessly. Again, yes, it was legitimate news. But no, it wasn’t worth the hour upon hour, day after day under-the-spotlight dissection that it received. But no worries — after the Afghanistan story wears out, everyone will turn back to Cuomo at least in time for his last day in office on Aug. 25.
Will the 9/11 anniversary unite our nation for a while?
We don’t agree on much in this country. In fact, there may be only one thing left that we truly agree upon — our shared grief, horror and anger over the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In my new Post column, I argue that even that sense of unity is being endangered by the controversy over our withdawal from Afghanistan:
As the solemn 9/11 anniversary looms, it is overshadowed by the Afghanistan tragedy and consequent blame game. President George W. Bush is being blamed for invading in the first place, President Barack Obama for claiming combat was over when it wasn’t, Trump for committing to an ill-conceived withdrawal and Biden for botching the withdrawal itself. But Afghanistan has long been an unsolvable enigma and a losing foreign policy pawn. Every nation in modern history that has attempted to reshape it for its purposes has exited in shame, leaving misery behind. Our obvious mistakes in how we exited Afghanistan are worth exploring. But the United States is in desperate need of at least a temporary period of unification.
Will the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks bring us together as a nation? Or will it be a springboard for more arguments, recriminations and finger-pointing? The answer is probably the latter. I hope it’s the former.
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