April 12, 2024

successes and a horrific failure

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
Two successes and a horrific failure
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
          WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden has simultaneously succeeded and failed, proving at least for now that he is a domestic affairs rather than a foreign affairs executive. As a result, he receives two high grades and one disastrously failing grade, a disaster that turned tragic with the ISIS-K bombing, and it may get worse.
          So, we must lead with the failing grade. Either he has some horrific advisors or he just doesn’t listen because rank amateurs could have told him that you evacuate civilians first and service people second. He did it the other way around and was forced to send 6,000 servicepeople back to secure Kabul’s airport, and that was insufficient. Once again, amateurs could have told him that a perimeter devoid of open space would allow good guys and bad guys alike to come right next to the barbed wire and walled-up fort. It would not take a military genius to realize this is not the way to defend a fort.
          Now, as mistake follows mistake, the president offers rationalization after rationalization. He needs to stop the excuses. The airport perimeter must be expanded, our ground force enlarged, and the Taliban told we will leave when we leave. But clearly, this is not going to happen. Our allies pleaded with us to stay until the job is complete. He ignored them, and, instead, bowed to the Taliban’s demand that we adhere to the August 31 deadline. ISIS-K claimed responsibility for the bombing, and Biden said there would be retribution. How? He claims this has been America’s 20-year war, yet until now there have not been American casualties for 18 months. Our war in Afghanistan ended long ago. This is not a war, and he should quit saying that it is.
          In short, things can get worse. The president’s Afghan policy has failed.
          Meanwhile, his domestic agenda is reaching heights not seen since FDR’s New Deal or LBJ’s Great Society. He, Speaker Pelosi, and the Democratic leaders in both houses of Congress are geniuses for how they have quietly advanced their domestic agenda in the middle of all the negative coverage the president is getting for his handling of Afghanistan. Thanks mainly to Pelosi, House Democrats overcame their internal policy disagreements and voted to authorize debate on a $3.5 trillion legislative blueprint to support a wide array of pro-family initiatives and social benefits, and address climate change.
          Biden ran on his belief that he could make Congress work, and he gets A+ for his handling of Congress.
          Biden also ran on a promise to bring the Pandemic under control, and he gets a solid B for his efforts. It would have been an A if the Delta Variant hadn’t arrived and if Republican governors weren’t so adamant about opposing mask mandates and putting personal freedom over the common good.
          The announcement that the Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval to Pfizer for its vaccine should help encourage more people to get vaccinated. We’re also likely to see more businesses and institutions mandate the Covid vaccine, putting it on an equal status with other vaccines that have eradicated smallpox, polio, measles, and the mumps.
          The anti-public health stance of some GOP governors like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defies common sense as they take all the precautions for themselves and their families yet encourage their constituents to take potentially fatal risks. In South Florida, 75 doctors took part in an early morning protest to object to the rising number of unvaccinated people taking away beds in intensive care units that cancer patients and accident victims need when a safe and effective vaccine is available free to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths from Covid.
          It is all reminiscent of LBJ whose masterly sway with Congress brought us the Great Society while he simultaneously refused to listen to military advice in his conduct of the Vietnam War.
          Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.
          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn
          © 2021 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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