Protesters gathered outside the White House this weekend to demand that President Joe Biden extend the Tuesday evacuation deadline that’s displacing a number of Americans and Afghan allies left behind in Taliban-occupied Afghanistan.
Many of the protesters were especially passionate about their cause since they (or their families) have lived to tell the tales of horror from the place where America waged a 20-year war.
According to Fox News, chants to “push the deadline” echoed down Pennsylvania Ave. all of Saturday afternoon.
The protest displayed the growing disdain people of all backgrounds, ideologies and walks of life have for Biden’s hasty pullout from the region.
This is no partisan issue. This is no issue reserved only for those directly involved.
No, just like the 20-year war we waged, this is an issue that speaks to us all.
The question is: How will we respond to it?
Fox News’ report delved into several responses from protesters who recaptured the experiences they or their families have had with the Taliban, voiced their distress over the chaos they blame the Biden administration for creating or even called out the president personally.
“You failed us. As an American, you failed us,” a resident of Washington, D.C., named Jimmy said, speaking of Biden.
“Twenty years for what? America has lost lives for what?”
Fox included another protester’s admonishment geared directly toward Biden with a bold assertion: “[Y]ou have blood on your hands.”
Poignant, yes. In fact, the rhetoric proved poignant throughout the event with people demanding that Biden heed their warnings to never trust the Taliban or to refuse to negotiate with terrorists. (To be fair, Republicans who favor former President Donald Trump should probably steer clear of the “never” negotiate claim and focus on the manner of such negotiation instead — considering Trump also negotiated with the Taliban, but in his own way.)
Some protesters, however, fell back on their experiences and the experiences of their families.
“I have family that are U.S. citizens and they have been stuck there,” one woman told Fox News.
“There’s possibly no way for them to get out because officials aren’t giving them exact directions of where to go and even if they do go there, the Taliban or other checkpoints won’t let them through.”
“They got really close to evacuating,” another protestor said, speaking of her family. “We actually had someone from the inside help but they were not able to get through past the gate.”
Another cause entered the spotlight on Sunday when activists stood outside the White House to show solidarity with Afghan women who now fear living in their own country, according to The Washington Post.
Activist Noorjahan Akbar called for Biden to “prioritize the evacuation of women from Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover” while Sweeta Noori, an Afghan speaker present at Sunday’s march, “shook and yelled through tears as she turned to face the White House, the symbol of a government that she said abandoned Afghan women,” the Post reported.
“I am asking you, Mr. Biden, can you hear me? Who is responsible? You are responsible!” she shouted.
But did these pleas or demands yield any results?
For these women, their hope comes in the form of a nonprofit — Vital Voices Global Partnership, which worked in conjunction with several women’s groups to organize the protest and has raised approximately $6 million to assist in evacuation efforts, according to the outlet.
However, the demand for an extended withdrawal deadline could only be answered in one way and by one leader.
Days later, we see the effort to extend this deadline negotiated between the Biden administration and the Taliban fell on deaf ears.
On Monday, news broke that the final U.S. military plane had left the Kabul airport and our forces had completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
America’s “forever war” had ended at last.
Well, at least in one regard. I doubt we could say the same for those left behind in the Taliban’s wake. For them, the nightmares are only beginning.
But, to bring the issue back home, we must consider what this cataclysmic chapter of Biden’s first year in office might mean for the president (and the Democratic Party in general) when future elections roll around.
Though it’s speculative at this point, it’s obvious there’s a bounty of outrage surrounding Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco, and this just might translate into a narrowing or complete dissolution of the Democrats’ small House and Senate majorities come 2022. (Of course, Democrats only hold the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, but the point remains.)
Many Americans wanted to pull out of Afghanistan and had made the demand for years. That’s no secret.
Trump appealed to those demands by laying out a foreign policy which included an eventual full removal from Afghanistan — though, it’s likely that the execution of that plan would’ve been less disastrous than the one we’ve witnessed.
We can speculate that a different administration might have been careful enough to ensure the safety of Americans and Afghan allies amid the Taliban’s presence, and that a different administration might’ve avoided leaving any military equipment behind for the Taliban to commandeer.
It’s a long route to say that the problem isn’t necessarily the pullout itself, but rather how poorly it has been executed.
But, I don’t have to delve into that too much. I’m sure you’ve heard similar complaints elsewhere — maybe even a million times at this point. (I know I have.)
The consensus extends across party lines and other demographics as well — what has happened in Afghanistan has been a complete disaster.
At this point, all we can do is sit back and guess just how this might affect Biden and his party going forward.
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