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Wall Street Journal Has Scathing Words for Biden

Highlights of editorials from big newspapers on Afghanistan
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2021 11:20 AM CDT
What Newspaper Editorials Are Saying About Afghanistan
President Biden in a file photo.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool, File)

(Newser) – It's not only individual pundits weighing in on Afghanistan but newspaper editorial boards as well. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, skewers President Biden in particularly harsh manner (details below), while other big papers also chide his decision-making. Biden will get a chance to defend himself Monday afternoon when he speaks from the White House, per the AP. In the meantime, four editorial viewpoints (plus one opposing op-ed):

  • New York Times: What's happening is "unutterably tragic," write the editors. After "more than $2 trillion and at least 2,448 American service members' lives lost in Afghanistan, it is difficult to see what of lasting significance has been achieved." The editorial lays the blame for this on both parties but faults Biden in particular for mismanaging the pullout. "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."

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  • Wall Street Journal: The conservative editorial page is scathing in its assessment of the president. His "statement on Saturday washing his hands of Afghanistan deserves to go down as one of the most shameful in history by a Commander in Chief at such a moment of American retreat." The editors fault Biden for trying to deflect blame to his predecessor and warn that US adversaries are taking stock of the US. "There will be more trouble ahead," they write. "The costs will be all the more painful because the ugliness of this surrender was so unnecessary."
  • USA Today: This editorial board also calls out Biden. In April, he "could have conditioned any further drawdown on good faith efforts by the Taliban to reach a peaceful settlement with Kabul," but instead he set a firm September deadline for withdrawal. Biden may have done so to avoid more American casualties, "but he may wind up with the blood of US friends and freedom activists on his hands, not only because of his decision to so rapidly exit, but because of his ensuing failure to carry out that mission before the Taliban aggression he unwittingly unleashed changed everything."
  • USA Today, II: As is its policy, the newspaper is running an op-ed with an opposing view to its editorial. In this one, Paul Scharre of the Center for a New American Security makes the case that prolonging the withdrawal only would have made things worse, and he gives Biden credit for having the "courage" to do what previous presidents could not.
  • Washington Post: The newspaper hasn't weighed in with an editorial since Kabul fell, but last week the editorial board noted that the US "was stalemated, not defeated" in its 20-year war. "There's a difference—and how big a difference may soon become tragically apparent." Worst case, an increase in terror attacks and a rollback of human rights progress in the nation could ensue. The US has "assumed at least partial responsibility for all Afghans" because of its actions the last two decades, the editors write. "Afghan lives ruined or lost will belong to Mr. Biden's legacy just as surely as any US dollars and lives his decision may save."
(Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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