For weeks now, President Biden has been blamed for what are judged as failures in the U.S. exit from Afghanistan. The go-to adjective is almost invariably “chaotic.” As if the President sent the Afghan government and military running, and brought hordes of desperate Afghans swarming around the Kabul airport. As if the President were actually in a position to force the Taliban to do what we wanted and dictate the release of Americans and our allies still in the country. 

Face reality. It’s a fiction that we have the sheer power to make that happen. Diplomacy and “soft power” are the only tools we have now, used patiently and skillfully, with international partners.

What’s worse in calling the exit “chaotic” is that it dismisses and demeans the exemplary discipline, professionalism, and especially the effectiveness of our troops who engineered the massive evacuation of more than 123,000 people! Nothing like this has ever happened before. They did their work tirelessly and with great courage as if in the calm eye of a hurricane. All around them, beyond their control, was the violent, destructive maelstrom. 

Give credit where it’s due. That evacuation was the most significant achievement of the President and those under his command, “on his watch.” Lay blame for the “chaos” where it belongs.

Fred Reklau

Oak Park

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