Against Accepting Defeat in Afghanistan

Talking to reporters on July 2, President Biden was pressed about the sudden, embarrassing evacuation of our air base in Afghanistan and widespread predictions the Afghan government would fall quickly to the Taliban. The president testily replied: “I want to talk about happy things, man.”

His retort seems to have had the desired effect. Last week, at a CNN town hall, the president wasn’t asked about Afghanistan at all. The only mention came in a discussion about immigration. After explaining that migrants at the southern border seeking entry in the United States will be turned away, he added: “The one place you may have heard that I’m talking about more immigrants coming in are those folks from Afghanistan who helped the American soldiers, who will be … victimized very badly as a consequence of what happens if they’re left behind.”

This wasn’t the first concession to the reality of what we’re doing by withdrawing from Afghanistan. From the outset, the administration has admitted, mostly euphemistically, that an ugly civil war is almost assured and the toppling of the Kabul government is likely. The reason we’re letting these Afghan immigrants come to America is that everyone knows they’d be slaughtered if left behind because they helped Americans.

Because the withdrawal from Afghanistan has bipartisan support, and because the military never likes to admit a loss, few people are using the word “defeat”—and most of the critics who do hint at using the word lack credibility since they didn’t oppose Donald Trump’s desire to bug out even earlier.

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