Magazine September 13, 2021, Issue

Who Will Trust Us after Afghanistan?

(Omar Haidiri/AFP via Getty Images)
Our disaster in brief

Following 9/11, a bit of wreckage from the Twin Towers was buried at the American embassy in Kabul, with the inscription: “Never Again.” Now Again has come. On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Taliban flag will fly over the abandoned American embassy and al-Qaeda will be operating inside Afghanistan. Fifty years from now, Americans will stare in sad disbelief at the photo of an American Marine plucking a baby to safety over barbed wire at Kabul airport. What a shameful, wretched way to quit a war.

The root cause was extreme partisanship in Congress. By default, this bequeathed to the

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This article appears as “Who Will Trust Us the Next Time?” in the September 13, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Bing West — A combat Marine and former assistant secretary of defense, Mr. West embedded over many years with our troops across Afghanistan and has written four books about the war. His most recent is The Last Platoon: A Novel of the Afghanistan War.

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The Week

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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