Joe Biden physically represented the devastating blow to his presidency caused by the assassination of 13 US military men during the frantic Kabul evacuation. Addressing the country from the White House, Biden bent his head for a minute of grief before accepting questions from media who pressed him on the brutal twist in the already sad mission to end Afghanistan‘s 20-year conflict.
As he spoke about the deceased “heroes,” he looked to be on the verge of tears at times. And when he told the assailants, “we will hunt you down,” he spoke with steel in his voice.
The explosion at Kabul’s airport has undoubtedly rocked Biden’s administration to its core. After the tumultuous Donald Trump years, he assumed office in January pledging peace at home and respect for the United States internationally. Now Biden faces a mountain to climb if he is to persuade the country and America‘s allies that either objective is still feasible.
The 78-year-old Democrat was already hurting from the nearly instant fall of the US-backed government and army, which had left the handful of surviving US forces and many thousands of US citizens and allies at the mercy of the Taliban.
Working around the clock for ten days, his administration had hoped to salvage a victory from calamity.
The airlift was going far better than expected, with the US military executing perfectly and the Taliban mostly fulfilling its part of the deal in protecting Kabul. The White House proudly announced the latest amazing numbers early Thursday in Washington: more than 95,000 individuals had been safely flown out since Kabul’s surrender to the Taliban.
Then the explosives detonated.
Biden, who was surrounded by aides in the Situation Room, canceled a meeting of state governors and informed visiting Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that their planned meeting in the Oval Office would have to be postponed until Friday.
Biden did not initiate the Afghan conflict. George W. Bush was a Republican. And Biden was the first of four presidents to make good on vows to halt the tragedy. However, as Biden stated, the “buck stops” with him. That means he won’t be able to avoid the outpouring of rage and grief in his own country as a result of the servicemen’s murders – or the political repercussions.
Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn said in a tweet that Biden and his top national security advisers “should resign or face impeachment and expulsion from office.”
The Republican backlash was unsurprising. However, the broader harm shown in surveys will be more concerning for Biden.
(Source – TOI)