Monday, August 16, 2021

Biden had no other choice

Excellent updates from Josh Marshall about Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal:
  The more I see the more I’m convinced this was the right decision – both what I see on the ground in Afghanistan and perhaps even more the reaction here in the United States. 
 It is crystal clear that the Afghan national army and really the Afghan state was an illusion. It could not survive first contact with a post-US military reality. As is so often the case in life – with bad investments, bad relationships – what we were doing there was staying to delay our reckoning with the consequences of the reality of the situation. ... 
 The perpetual effort to stand up an Afghan government that could exist on its own did not work. That doesn’t mean the decision to topple the Taliban government in 2001 was a mistake. But that was twenty years ago. We are living in a dramatically different world today. 
We have been in a perpetual occupation in pursuit of no clear national security interest of the United States. At a certain point you have to realize that and act accordingly. 
 Someone had to make the decision that Bush, Obama and Trump did not and apparently could not. Biden did. 
   As a matter of strategy, and as one of keeping faith with Afghans who depended on us, this withdrawal is suboptimal. Biden is fully responsible for it. 
 But from his point of view it probably looks like the best option available — the others being, respectively, no withdrawal at all and a protracted, semi-public tug-of-war with senior military officers deeply invested in putting off unpleasant decisions about an Afghan project that has defined so many military careers. Biden looks determined not to let the military leadership do to him what it did to Obama a decade ago. 

 And this:

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