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Biden unites us

The president’s Afghanistan pullout creates political common ground

President Joe Biden AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Biden unites us

Joe Biden in January said he’d work hard to bring Americans together. Congratulations, Mr. President. You’ve succeeded: Looks like everyone (except those on the far left and the ultra-far right, a few Taliban fans) is against your decision to abandon Afghans who allied with us.

The analysis I take most seriously is by people who have been at ground level and have ground through years of careful observation. One of the true experts is WORLD’s Mindy Belz: Her article yesterday is important reading. Another, by Britain’s former secretary of state for international development, is in The Washington Post.

I identified Rory Stewart by his impressive title first, but that’s not what makes me value his observations. Stewart’s outstanding book, The Places in Between, tells of his 36-day solo walk across Afghanistan early in 2002. Stewart also ran a Kabul-based foundation for three years. He knows that country and cares about the human beings in it.

Here’s part of what the Post, up to now a public relations arm of the Biden administration, gave him room to write: “U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan formally ended in 2014; troop levels had decreased to about 2,500; and there have been no American combat fatalities since February 2020.

“When he became president, Biden took over a relatively low-cost, low-risk presence in Afghanistan that was nevertheless capable of protecting the achievements of the previous 20 years. …

“... So long as the United States and other members of the NATO alliance provided strategic command structures and air support from their bases, the Afghan security forces were able to contain the Taliban in rural areas and protect major cities. The lighter American footprint was sufficient also to preserve the fragile stability of Afghanistan. …

“... Biden and his team pretended it was still 2009 and presented his decision to withdraw as freeing Americans from the high-casualty, budget-breaking operations of a ‘forever war.’ He made little effort to explain how moderate the U.S. and NATO presence in Afghanistan has been in recent years. …

“Two decades of multilateral cooperation and, in many individual cases, long-standing relationships of respect and trust have been shattered. …

“... Afghanistan and American foreign policy interests have been cruelly, recklessly, and unnecessarily betrayed.”

Thus the testimony of two eyewitnesses, Mindy Belz and Rory Stewart.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is the former editor in chief of WORLD, having retired in January 2022, and former dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.



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