Opinion | Even in Success, Why Biden’s Victory Lap Will be Short



The relative second-tier standing of this story — sure, will probably be large information for just a few days, however nothing just like the bin Laden killing — could serve to obscure each a transparent achievement and a deeply essential query.

The achievement is the persistent dedication of the USA to avenge the deaths of Sept. 11, for which al-Zawahri bears key operational accountability. We aren’t accustomed to this nation taking a “lengthy view” of the world — once we consider a nation that relentlessly punishes those that have performed it sick, we’re extra doubtless to consider Israel, which slowly and intentionally, over years, hunted down each one of many terrorists who killed its athletes on the 1972 Munich Olympics.

To seek out al-Zawahri, to take him out with out injuring any member of his household or any civilians, is a tactical achievement that places weight behind Biden’s phrases (nevertheless dispassionately delivered) that, “Regardless of how lengthy it takes, irrespective of the place you disguise, if you’re a risk to our individuals, the USA will discover you and take you out.”

The troubling query, in fact, is: Are the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan as soon as once more offering secure haven to terrorists? As former performing CIA Director Michael Morell informed CBS on Monday, “It’s actually exhausting for me to imagine [al-Zawahri] was in Kabul with out the data of no less than a few of the Taliban management.” This seems to render “inoperative” the Taliban’s promise that it could not harbor terrorists because it reclaimed management over the nation.

Return 21 years, to the times after Sept. 11, and you’ll do not forget that President George W. Bush demanded of Afghanistan that it flip over bin Laden and different al Qaeda leaders; when it didn’t, the U.S. launched an invasion that swiftly ended Taliban rule and have become the primary chapter of a two-decade, trillion-dollar marketing campaign that ended final yr in chaos. If the Taliban have opened their county to a key determine within the assaults of 9/11, what does it inform us about who else is being welcomed to Afghanistan?

If there was something remotely constructive concerning the retreat from Afghanistan, it was a extensively shared sense that this misbegotten journey was behind us; that we had been performed with a dedication that had no probability of succeeding, and whose price was measured in 1000’s of lives and numerous {dollars}. But when al-Zawahri’s presence signifies that there are others with malevolent intentions abiding there, then possibly the concept we will take a look at Afghanistan in a rearview mirror is unfortunately misplaced. For all of the chance that Biden will get a (deserved) bump in his approval scores, as Biden and Trump did when bin Laden and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed, that specter of a terrorist sanctuary could restrict that benefit.



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