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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.65 minutes to read.

“The rapid reconquest of the capital, Kabul, by the Taliban after two decades of a staggeringly expensive, bloody effort to establish a secular government with functioning security forces in Afghanistan is, above all, unutterably tragic.

Tragic because the American dream of being the “indispensable nation” in shaping a world where the values of civil rights, women’s empowerment and religious tolerance rule proved to be just that: a dream…

It is all the more tragic because of the certainty that many of the Afghans who worked with the American forces and bought into the dream — and especially the girls and women who had embraced a measure of equality — have been left to the mercy of a ruthless enemy.

The Biden administration was right to bring the war to a close. Yet there was no need for it to end in such chaos, with so little forethought for all those who sacrificed so much in the hopes of a better Afghanistan…

While the speed of the collapse of the Afghan government was shocking, the result should not have come as a surprise. This calamity cannot be laid alone at President Biden’s feet, but it is incumbent on the current administration to make right what has gone wrong with the withdrawal plans… The war needed to end. But the Biden administration could and should have taken more care to protect those who risked everything in pursuit of a different future, however illusory those dreams proved to be.”

Editorial Board, New York Times

“President Biden must be held accountable for failing to prepare an orderly evacuation of vulnerable civilians as he withdrew U.S. troops from Afghanistan. What matters most for now, though, is to evacuate everyone at risk who wants to go: U.S. citizens and permanent residents, allied-country nationals, Afghans who worked with the U.S. government, and U.S. contractors and Afghans who worked as journalists, civil society activists, or public officials…

However, there is a tension between completing this immense task and the Aug. 31 deadline for getting U.S. forces out of Kabul… There simply might not be enough time to evacuate tens of thousands of people over the next 12 days, even at the pace of more than 5,000 per day that U.S. officials claim to be near achieving. Leaving no one behind is a moral imperative, and essential to salvaging some U.S. credibility from this debacle. No artificial deadline, whether Aug. 31 or otherwise, should take precedence over that mission…

In an interview with ABC News, Mr. Biden himself for the first time hinted at flexibility on the deadline, ‘if there are American citizens left.’ That won’t be enough: This country’s moral responsibilities begin, but do not end, with U.S. citizens.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post ($)

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.72 minutes to read.

“The Taliban haven’t formally taken any Americans captive in Afghanistan, at least not yet, but it’s clear that the jihadists already have the Biden Administration as a political hostage. That was obvious from Wednesday’s briefing at the Pentagon, where the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admitted they lack the military resources and political mandate to ensure that every American is evacuated amid the Taliban control of Kabul…

The problem is the U.S. military now controls only the Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) with about 4,500 troops. Americans, foreign nationals and some Afghans who manage to make it to the airport are able to board flights to depart. But Americans and Afghans are on their own in trying to make it to the airport, which means getting past multiple Taliban checkpoints in the city and surrounding the airport perimeter…

So far, the Taliban are allowing U.S. citizens who have passports to get through. But the Taliban are not letting most Afghans through, and many who are trying are beaten and who knows what else. Many Americans and Afghan allies are also spread around the country and will have to find a way to get to the airport…

There should be no deadline on evacuating Americans who are still behind enemy lines. The only deadline should be when all Americans and the Afghans who risked their lives to fight with us are safely gone.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“In time, the harrowing images from Afghanistan will disappear from television screens. Americans will debate the incompetence of the final withdrawal, which maximized the defeat, the betrayal of friends and allies, and the blow to America’s credibility and prestige…

And then, the more discerning will notice that Afghanistan suddenly looks almost exactly as it looked just before September 11, 2001: a massive safe haven for terrorists of global reach, nested within one of the world’s most prolific state sponsors of terrorism…

The humiliating end of America’s 20-year mission to keep Afghanistan free of terrorist safe havens begs the question: What next? President Biden, supremely confident in his own good judgment, will assure the nation that he has a plan. But his plan can’t work. That will become obvious soon enough if it isn’t already. In Afghanistan, the clock has just been dialed back exactly 20 years, to the weeks before the attacks of September 11. Like Obama did in Iraq, Biden has now made sure that nobody can say that America’s years of sacrifice and thousands of soldiers lost in Afghanistan were worth it. Biden has given al-Qaeda back its safe haven, demonstrated once again that Americans have become totally unreliable allies, and given the terrorists the one thing they needed most in the long run: an inspiring, incredible victory over the United States.”

Mario Loyola, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a fellow at the National Security Institute of George Mason University. (Published in National Review)