Allahpundit wrote about two polls this morning that showed that respondents, including Democrats, weren’t thrilled with Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan exit. This afternoon/evening there’s another poll out from Reuters which shows Biden’s approval has hit a new low for his 7-months in office.
The national opinion poll, conducted on Monday, found that 46% of American adults approved of Biden’s performance in office, the lowest recorded in weekly polls that started when Biden took office in January.
It is also down from the 53% who felt the same way in a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll that ran on Friday.
That’s a 7-point drop in three days. No wonder the White House is in an panic and sending Joe back to
the basement Camp David. It also helps explain why his media allies are so desperately pleading for their fellow reporters to give him a break. Unless they can turn this around fast, it’s going to stick and Biden could spend months climbing out of this hole.
What’s interesting here is that even though they clearly didn’t like Biden’s handling of this, Americans basically agree with him: “a majority of both Republican and Democratic voters said the chaos was a sign that the United States should leave.” I’m guessing the White House had its own polling suggesting the same thing which is why Biden’s speech yesterday was heavy on the need to withdraw and very light on what went wrong.
Despite the support for the goal, 75% of respondents support sending in troops to complete the withdrawal. So there’s overwhelming agreement that we need to fix this screw up, even if that entails the same risk we’re trying to avoid by leaving. But as you get into the details things become a bit less clear.
a majority of the 18 to 65-year-olds who took the Ipsos survey – 68% – agreed that the war “was going to end badly, no matter when the U.S. left,” and 61% wanted the United States to complete its withdrawal of troops on schedule.
Yet a smaller majority – 51% – also agreed that “it would have been worth it for the United States to leave troops in Afghanistan another year,” and 50% wanted to send troops back into the country to fight the Taliban.
Reuters suggest the seemingly contradictory responses might be the result of Americans who aren’t entirely sure what to think about all of this yet. Here again, you can bet the White House views this as an opportunity to step in and emphasize the inevitability of failure. I’ve already seen a lot of this sort of thing today. The Washington Post ran an editorial earlier saying unequivocally that this disaster was Biden’s mess. I read through some of the comments on that editorial and they are overwhelmingly from Biden fans making precisely this sort of inevitability argument:
Once Trump negotiated directly with the Taliban to exit, the legitimacy of the Afghan government was destroyed. They started to fall apart at that moment.
Leaving a small force would then be too vulnerable. Remember the Marine barracks in Beirut? We would either need to increase our force 20x to defend ourselves, or leave.
I’m glad we are leaving.
Are you kidding me? If that could have worked, it would have worked a long time ago. It couldn’t, and didn’t.
Avoidable? NonsensE. Yes, in theory everything is avoidable and rosy. Not in reality though. Allied forces never rooted in Afghan soil, not in all those years. They were heavily armed occupiers. When you walk around in villages, armed, not talking the language, you have no credibility. You are a stranger, aliens. Soldiers longed for home. Families wondered what on earth they were doing there, except fearing for their life. The culture, religion, traditions, the way people reason and see things, it is all very different. Western armies had no business there.
If you can allow me to go on a tangent, there have been a lot of comparisons to our exit from Saigon in the past few days. The basic message of those was a) Biden said this wouldn’t happen and it did but also underlying that was another point b) this was always doomed to fail…lessons of Vietnam, etc.
What bothers me about this debate is that the legacy of Vietnam isn’t the only relevant legacy. We also fought a war in Korea which we fought to preserve the original division of the country. As a result, North Korea is a communist hellhole where people are starving and South Korea is a prosperous ally that produces excellent cars and boy bands. None of that would have happened if not for our willingness to fight (we lost ten times as many men in Korea as we did in Afghanistan) and beyond that to stay for the long haul. We’ve had troops in Korea for 71 years.
That doesn’t mean the same would necessarily be true in Afghanistan or that we were wrong to leave. Americans should make those decisions and at this point most of them want out. But I think the proposition that this was always doomed or that similar invasions always result in failure like we’re seeing now isn’t true. The lessons of Vietnam shouldn’t be forgotten but the lessons of Korea shouldn’t be ignored. Our time in Afghanistan does seem to be ending in a mess but that wasn’t inevitable and President Biden shouldn’t be let off the hook on the grounds that was destined to be a clusterf**k. Hopefully his polling will continue to reflect that there were other, better ways to handle this.
What are your thoughts on the story? Let us know in the comments below!