Americans Cheer Afghan Departure, But Criticize Chaotic Management
In bad news for both hawkish fans of forever war and the Biden administration, Americans favor the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the quagmire in Afghanistan but are deeply unimpressed by how it has been handled. Officials will, no doubt, complain that the public holds them to an impossible standard and allows them no room for correcting errors. But a more accurate read is that people are averse to fiascos and don’t appreciate it when politicians and generals conclude decades of ill-advised military intervention with bloody displays of pandemonium.
“With the U.S. military evacuation of Afghanistan completed – bringing America’s longest war to an end – 54% of U.S. adults say the decision to withdraw troops from the country was the right one, while 42% say it was wrong,” Pew Research reported this week. “The public is also broadly critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan: Only about a quarter (26%) say the administration has done an excellent or good job; 29% say the administration has done an only fair job and 42% say it has done a poor job,” Pew added.
It should be no surprise that the public supports withdrawal from Afghanistan after two decades of what 69 percent of them say is failure to achieve the goals of intervention. After all, multiple administrations also believed the U.S. blew it through the lives, years, and fortunes spent in Afghanistan.
“A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The Washington Post reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false and hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable,” that newspaper reported in 2019. “They underscore how three presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump — and their military commanders have been unable to deliver on their promises to prevail in Afghanistan,” the report added.
The nature of the failure that officials covered up through multiple presidential administrations is a glimpse into the moment we’re living right now.
“U.S. officials tried to create — from scratch — a democratic government in Kabul modeled after their own in Washington,” the Post story noted in 2019. “It was a foreign concept to the Afghans, who were accustomed to tribalism, monarchism, communism and Islamic law.”
That artificial government created and propped up by American officials dried up and blew away almost overnight. Its army abandoned posts and weapons in the course of a frantic week, and i
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