HomeLatest NewsJoe Biden's Afghanistan policy counts on fading importance for war-weary Americans

Joe Biden’s Afghanistan policy counts on fading importance for war-weary Americans

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden is fending off criticism of his administration’s chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal because he and his allies believe the political fallout at home will be limited, according to White House allies and administration officials.
Biden and his top aides argue that they are conducting an evacuation operation https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/afghanistan-edge-after-anti-taliban-protest-east-kabul-calm-airlift- goes- 2021-08-19 as well as the expected rapid takeover of the country by the Taliban and seeking to draw attention to the choice of withdrawing US troops from the country.
The strategy is based on internal and public polling showing that withdrawing from Afghanistan was the most popular decision Biden made so far, even though the issue was not central to most voters.
“The public opinion was pretty clear that Americans wanted out of an ongoing war and didn’t want to come back in. That’s true today and it’s going to be true in six months,” said a Biden aide. “It’s not about not caring or being sympathetic about what’s happening over there but about what’s happening in America.”
Biden has faced criticism even from some fellow Democrats for his handling of the crisis.
But White House officials believe Americans’ desperation over the graphic images https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/small-afghan-girl-is-lifted-crowd-capturing-desperation-flee-kabul-2021-08 -19 Chaos in Kabul and pleas from Afghans who fear they will be killed by the Taliban support the president’s decision to withdraw troops from the country by August 31 after 20 years of war.
They expect the Afghanistan story to drop from the headlines, replaced by a resurgence of Covid-19 cases, the economic recovery and other issues, people familiar with the matter said.
A White House spokesman declined to comment.
Biden’s aides praised the talking points weeks ago for using even the worst-case scenario of a withdrawal, some of which have come to fruition, including insisting that leaving Afghanistan was the right decision.
“The idea that somehow, there’s a way out without chaos, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden told ABC News on Wednesday. “There is no good time to leave Afghanistan. Fifteen years ago it would have been a problem, 15 years from now. The basic choice is do I send your sons and daughters to war in Afghanistan forever?”
In recent days, Biden has also attacked the Afghan military for refusing to fight, condemned the now-ousted Afghan government and declared that he inherited a bad withdrawal deal from his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump.
Political experts say the strategy has obvious risks. “The concern is that this is going to undermine his credibility as commander in chief,” said Jim Manley, once a top aide to former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “If the Taliban go back to what they have done in the past, and I assume they will, then a very bad image will come out of that country.”
inadequate response
Messaging in Afghanistan has been at odds with an emerging consensus within the administration that the White House, Defense and State Departments, as well as the U.S. intelligence community’s plans for the current situation were inadequate and needed a full review once the key personnel evacuation mission was underway. All and 5,200 US troops from Afghanistan have now moved to Kabul.
“We’re in the Pentagon and even we know it could have been better,” one official said. “Much better.” Members of the US Congress also plan to investigate what went wrong.
Public opinion, at least for now, is mixed. A majority of Republican and Democratic voters say https://www.reuters.com/world/us/biden-approval-drops-lowest-level-this-year-after-taliban-takeover-2021-08-17 A quick surrender of the Afghan government ” Why the United States Should Pull Out of the Conflict.”
A Reuters/Ipsos poll this week found that 31% of American adults agreed that the United States should continue its military operations in Afghanistan, up from 25% who felt the same way in a 2012 poll.
Yet an Ipsos poll conducted Monday https://tmsnrt.rs/3k4cwxs also found that fewer than half of Americans like the way Biden has handled the U.S. military and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan this year. They rated his performance worse than the three other presidents currently presiding over America’s longest war, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Trump.
Biden’s overall approval has dipped to 46% of American adults in a Reuters/Ipsos poll, the lowest the weekly poll has recorded since taking office in January.
Republicans, including Trump, have begun to weaponize the recall as an issue undermining Biden’s credibility as commander in chief.
Most Democrats are likely to accept public support for a withdrawal decision and the issue should be over before the November 2022 congressional elections, said an adviser working on Democratic congressional campaigns.
He added, however: “The Biden administration will probably have to defend every negative headline that comes out of Afghanistan during his tenure, so that’s a real unknown.”

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