At 20 years, it was America’s longest war. American troops hadn’t even fully pulled out before the entire Afghan army surrendered to a seemingly bewildered Taliban. Two weeks of frantic evacuation ensued, providing both scenes of chaos and heartbreak—with so many desperate to escape and one vicious suicide terrorist attack—along with brilliant logistical efficiency, evacuating an amazing 122,000 in that time. Journalists on the ground early had scoffed at the idea of even 50,000 getting out. The U.S. and its allies evacuated far more.
Through it all, despite torrents of criticism and hysteria from both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, President Joe Biden stayed on track, reiterating his vow to fully depart from the country by Aug. 31, never deviating. He was assailed by the media, by pundits, even by his allies, to reinvade the country, to retaliate against the terrorists, to make all the same mistakes we had been making for 20 too-long years. He alone in D.C. seemed to have learned the right lessons of this war, and he ignored the critics.
So what now? Republicans are trying to take advantage of Biden’s slide in the polls to stop what’s left of his legislative agenda. They’ll try to make an issue of it in the 2022 and 2024 elections. Will it work?
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