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Rat-Paddling

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on Afghanistan during a speech at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 31, 2021. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

President Biden is on the radio boasting that we have far exceeded — doubled, even — the number of people that the experts, unnamed, predicted we could get out of Afghanistan.

Hurrah.

That is a strange boast, but a very Biden boast: When we turn tail and run, nobody in the world does it quite like us!

Surrendering to the Taliban (and let’s call it what it is) is a political decision, and it may very well be the right one: The Obama administration wanted out, the Trump administration wanted out, and the Biden administration wanted out. The Taliban didn’t want out, and so all they had to do was to endure and to wait for us to give them their victory.

But the headlong and chaotic retreat from Afghanistan was unnecessary, and it is the result of elevating the political above other considerations. Presumably, American forces could have held any position we chose in Afghanistan for whatever time was necessary. We certainly could have held practically any position necessary long enough to complete the evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies in an orderly and less panicky fashion.

So, even Biden’s boast about how competently we run away from a fight is a little rotten.

I have been watching politics for a long time, and I have observed a many rats rat-paddling away from many sinking ships. That is what rats do: It is an aspect of ratness.

But I cannot think of a rat rat-paddling away who squeaked quite so self-importantly about it.

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