Should Biden Resign Over The Afghanistan Debacle?

Actually it took courage to get out despite all the political opposition. We should criticize the failures of our political leaders, but we should also celebrate the end of this war.

Trending on Twitter today is some variation of the hashtag #BidenResign or just #resign or #ResignNow and so on and so forth. A lot of people who are brazen partisans got this going and a lot of other people who actually don’t give two shits about Afghanistan or the Afghan people are signal-boosting it.

The truth is, Biden and his administration had to exert enormous political courage to leave, to pull troops out of this failed two-decade-long occupation, to say once and for all that our attempts at nation-building were a failure—an arrogant, foolish, disgraceful failure that began with the Bush administration, inexcusably continued through Obama’s two terms (even after the death of Osama bin Laden) and only started to wind down under Trump, a president I despised but whose foreign policy was nevertheless somewhat less terrible than the neocons and neoliberals.

The terrorist attack in Kabul that left 12 US Marines and countless civilians dead and dozens more wounded is a horrific tragedy and certainly an example of why we should want no part in this backwater country filled with religious fanatics whose worldview could not be more different from our own. And while my heart goes out to the innocent people who died and who will now live under the Taliban’s cruel Sharia law, it remains a fact that this is not our country, these are not our people, we have no business determining their fate.

Everyone wringing their hands over what should have, or could have, been done better is engaging in grotesque hindsight. Lots and lots of armchair generals on Twitter going on and on about how this is all inexcusable and if only we’d done X, Y and Z differently everything would have been hunky-dory. Yes, isn’t it wonderful how in hindsight we can see all the little errors that were made. Isn’t it just as wonderful that all these people who give no shits about Afghanistan or its people are suddenly So Deeply Concerned with the whole thing.

I’m not a fan of Joe Biden but I admire his willingness to do something unpopular with the political class, something that he knew he’d get pushback on from the right but also from within his own party. Of course, I think most Americans would rather we not be there anymore, would rather we focused our energy and money here at home or at least through charitable aid rather than brute force. It is our political class, the planners and the big-wigs, who are the most warlike, who are quickest to rush us to war, to send young men to die. Who drum up fear and nativism and all the other bad impulses so easily fomented among the public.

To hell with that. The real scandal is the occupation itself, not Biden’s botched withdrawal. Yes, by all means let’s criticize Biden also. Certainly he and his generals and advisors could have planned it all better, but we should be wary of pretending like we know better or like we, in all our Twitter wisdom, could have handled things better or even that any other administration would have. This is messy business. That’s the nature of it and we can’t possibly know all the little ways plans go awry in a situation like this.

But sure, pretend you know best, repeat whatever angry nonsense your talking heads tell you on Twitter or Fox News or wherever. Surely that will solve all the world’s ills. And if Biden resigns and Kamala Harris becomes president, what then? Will you be satisfied?

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