Depends on the question.
There is a Victorian street’s worth of gas lighting about getting out of Afghanistan. Biden’s hands were tied by Trump, even though the Democrat revoked scores of his predecessor’s decisions. Trump wanted out but would have done it better. A lot of recent history is being rewritten these days.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden were wrong. Both fall back on this trope: Americans were tired of forever wars. Public opinion polls said so.
Not so fast. Depends on how the question is asked. “It’s hard — in some cases, arguably impossible — to phrase questions about policy in a non-leading fashion,” Sarah Isgur writes in The Dispatch. Isgur provides two examples:
- The Hill asked: “Do you approve or disapprove of Biden’s plan to remove the troops from Afghanistan?” 73% of respondents approved; 27% disagreed.
- Fox News asked: “Do you think the U.S. should remove all military troops from Afghanistan, or should some U.S. troops remain for counterterrorism operations?” 50% answered that some troops should remain; 37% responded that we should remove all troops.
The neocons are having their moment again
The USA put 2,500 boots on the ground to decapitate any incipient terrorist threats. In our 20 years in Afghanistan no terrorist deaths occurred on American soil. Our military suffered no fatalities there in over 18 months. Cost less than one percent of the Pentagon budget. A working Air Force base at Bagram. One helluva listening post in the beating heart of jihadism.
Images that define
Mindful of the people hanging onto the plane, the pilots taxied slowly at first. Military Humvees rushed alongside trying to chase people away and off the plane. Two Apache helicopter gunships flew low, seeking to scare some people away from the plane or push them off with their powerful rotor wash. REACH885 accelerated and was airborne.
Minutes later, however, the pilot and co-pilot realized they had a serious problem: The landing gear would not fully retract. They sent one of the crew members down to peer through a small porthole that allows them to view potential problems in the wheel well while aloft.
It was then the crew saw the remains of an undetermined number of Afghans who had stowed away in the wheel well — apparently crushed by the landing gear. Scenes captured in videos of the flight showed other people plunging to their death.— “Body Parts Found in Landing Gear of Flight From Kabul” in the New York Times.
An American hero, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-IL, said this: “The Taliban has always said that America has the watches, but they have the time.”
Blaska’s Bottom Line#1: The best public opinion poll is an election!
Blaska’s Bottom Line#2: We’re not out of there yet.