Magazine September 13, 2021, Issue

The ‘Forever War’ Fallacy

A man watches the Taliban use weapons to control the crowd at Kabul’s airport, August 17. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times)
Our mission in Afghanistan was sustainable and vital

In one of his earliest acts as a declared candidate for president, Joe Biden promised Americans that he would “end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East.” In this, he echoed Donald Trump’s pledge to end “the era of endless wars” by withdrawing Americans from “ancient conflicts in faraway lands that many people have not even heard of.” Both presidents tapped into a populistic impulse among voters and their interpreters in the punditocracy who want nothing more than for the United States to declare the nation’s overseas commitments won and done.

In Afghanistan, the demagogues who wanted to see

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Afghanistan is a debacle and, more than most acts of the U.S. government, it is the responsibility of one man — Joseph Robinette Biden.

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