Real Afghanistan Withdrawal Has Never Been Tried
The mainstream consensus emerging in response to the disaster in Kabul is that withdrawing from Afghanistan was the right decision to make, but President Biden botched its implementation.
Some serious and thoughtful people hold this position, but it strikes me as fitting a little too comfortably with certain powerful partisan impulses. If you’re on the left, it allows you to establish that of course you’re a good peacenik and you want America to end its interventions overseas—while disowning the actual consequences of doing so. If you’re on the right, it allows you to indulge the fantasy that Trump would have executed this withdrawal so much better—it would have been the best, the strongest retreat, everybody says so—even though Biden was following the basic roadmap Trump drew.
So everyone will compare the actual retreat from Afghanistan to the idealized fantasy model in their heads and assure us that real Afghanistan withdrawal has never been tried.
But we should take a few minutes, while this disaster is fresh and before it goes down the memory hole, to consider whether the actual, real-world results show that withdrawal was a bad idea in the first place.
Read the rest at The Bulwark.