Afghanistan pullout: Biden’s biggest call yet — will it be his most calamitous?

DM

If you like neat lines, tidiness and admire symmetry, what’s not to like about the decision of Joe Biden to pull American combat troops out of Afghanistan by 11 September 2021 — exactly 20 years on from 9/11? In modern day America it often feels that all roads lead back to 9/11; the single most defining — and scarring — event since Pearl Harbor: the surprise attack by the Japanese on America’s Pacific fleet, which would ultimately bring America into World War Two. And so it was that 9/11 led to this country’s longest military encounter. The attack on the Twin Towers, the plane that flew into the Pentagon, and the one that crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, were initially the spur for a surge of US nationalism. Young people — in fact people of all ages — were going along to armed forces recruitment offices wanting to sign up. America had come under attack; these patriots wanted to fight to defend the country the “land of the free”, and seek revenge on those who would do the US harm.

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