Biden’s dishonest defense of his Afghanistan pullout

Joe Biden is pulling the U.S. out of Afghanistan and the country is spiraling toward civil war (maybe) and a takeover by the Taliban (almost certainly). Biden is no stranger to catastrophic pullouts. As vice president, he was behind our withdrawal from Iraq which led to the rise of ISIS and the creation of its caliphate. We had to return.

Biden tried to defend the current pullout yesterday. He said he anticipated that difficult challenges would arise during the withdrawal.

I suppose we should be thankful that Biden retains the mental capacity to have anticipated difficult challenges, obvious though they are. Unfortunately, the difficulties won’t be confined to what occurs during the withdrawal, though that seems to be all Biden cares about. The real disaster — the bloodbath, the oppression of an entire country, the ascent of terrorist organizations in a position once again to attack the U.S. and its allies — will occur mostly thereafter.

Why accept these consequences? Biden answered by asking supporters of our engagement, “how many thousands more Americans, daughter and sons, are you willing to risk?” For his part, Biden declared “I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome.”

The dishonesty of this defense is breathtaking. Early this year, we had around 3,500 American troops in Afghanistan. In 2020, ten American troops died there. Only four were killed in action.

Thus, there is no question of “sending another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan.” Nor would maintaining our 2020 force level there put “thousands of Americans,” much less “daughters,” at meaningful risk.

Finally, we need not expect a different outcome to justify our small, but important presence in Afghanistan. The current outcome — or the one that prevailed before implementation of Biden’s pullout began — was worth preserving at the current low cost.

Certainly, the Taliban hasn’t been defeated. However, it had been thwarted in its effort to take over the country. Many millions of Afghans, especially women, enjoy freedom from the unspeakable Islamist oppression that prevailed before we intervened. Folks who courageously sided with the U.S. against the Taliban are (or were) largely safe from reprisals.

Moreover, as far as we know, none of the terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan — the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS, and whomever else — has been able to export terrorism from there to the West. They have been deprived of a springboard for international terrorism, like the one al Qaeda had before we intervened or the one ISIS had in Iraq-Syria after that Biden pullout, before we reengaged.

Not to worry, though. Biden promised, “I intend to maintain our diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. . and we’re going to engage the determined diplomacy to pursue peace and a peace agreement that will end this senseless violence.”

Senility would be the best defense for a statement like that. I’m afraid, though, that the real explanation lies in deep cynicism and dishonesty.

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