Joe Biden’s been president for seven months, but critics are acting as if he’s entirely responsible for the twenty-year disaster known as the Afghanistan war. From Ted Galen Carpenter at antiwar.com:
The chaotic end to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan has produced an abundance of recriminations. Some of them are warranted, even though the dominant motive in nearly all cases is little more than crude blame shifting. Joe Biden and his foreign policy team certainly can be faulted for spectacularly mismanaging the final stage of the US troop withdrawal. The president’s comments on July 8 emphatically disputing predictions that the Taliban would quickly overrun Afghanistan did not enhance his reputation for accurate insights. It is hardly a good sight to see US helicopters conducting evacuation flights of diplomats from the American embassy in Kabul – an image all-too-reminiscent of Saigon in 1975.
But the intensifying campaign to assign blame goes far beyond complaints about handling the withdrawal. GOP partisans and the ever-opportunistic neocons are attempting to make Biden responsible for the entire fiasco of the failed mission in Afghanistan. As a corollary, they push the insidious and absurd argument that if the United States had just stayed the course for a few more years (or decades), Washington’s Afghan intervention eventually would have succeeded.
In reality, the ineffectual and corrupt nation-building crusade was doomed from the start. Drawing on the Soviet Union’s bitter experience in Afghanistan during the 1970s and 1980s trying to prop-up its communist client, Mikhail Gorbachev recently emphasized that point. Yet in their arrogance, US officials failed to learn from Moscow’s bloody, frustrating sojourn in that country. The administrations of Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and (especially) George W. Bush deserve far more blame than the Biden administration for the Afghanistan fiasco. Former President Bush had the temerity to denounce the idea of a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan despite the passage of nearly two decades, the expenditure of some $2 trillion, and the loss of more than 2,400 American lives.