Pragmatism In Short Supply As Congressional Democrats Bicker

No one is going to care in November 2022 about the minutia of parliamentary procedure and the various ways power politics played out in the last week of September 2021. No one is going to care if progressive House lawmakers had to vote to pass the infrastructure bill before voting on the reconciliation plan.

What voters, however, will care about is if the popular infrastructure bill was passed and the promised upgrades to roads and bridges will impact their lives. And they will care about how exorbitant costs of infant care will be paid for.

But it also needs to be noted that not so long ago those same voters would consider even a trillion dollars in programming for a variety of national needs, which could be included in a separate and large reconciliation bill, would be a huge amount of federal monies that would be most beneficial for their communities.

But to get from the congressional bickering and narrow-eyed views of some Democratic members today and arrive at the point the party needs to be in for the mid-terms will require something that seems in desperate shortage.


Over the past week, I have wished for President Biden to be more forthright in a public way as to what he can accept, and equally what he is not able to allow when it comes to the large domestic spending bill. The moderates who want to play such a pivotal role in Democratic politics need to be equally forthcoming about how low they wish to drive the dollars for the bill. And last, but not least, progressives have to measure what they wish to achieve against perhaps in their zeal winding up losing the majority in the House.

Crafting legislation is never a smooth journey or one that is easy to watch. When it comes to massive spending measures or ones that will define a president it can be simply overwhelming. For citizens who tune in to watch such processes only occasionally, it must seem chaotic and totally baffling.

But come the mid-terms those same voters will be asking what resulted from the Democratic control of Washington? Elected Democrats need to have not only an answer, they need to have proven results.

It comes as no shock that I am not politically aligned with the likes of Senator Joe Manchin who prattles on about not wanting “to change our whole society to an entitlement mentality.” But I am also not aligned completely with some on the far left who seem unable to control expanding requests for a list of items, though I personally support, knowing some to be far ahead of the country’s appetite for such sweeping reforms.

I have never been one to say the public is overly well-informed, so to have Congress get too far ahead of where the nation is on climate control programs (though they are needed) is one area where restraint is needed. Solar tariffs are one area where the public is lagging behind with information, and the wrong turn by Congress could greatly harm the industry stateside. These are the types of issues that if not handled adroitly now will have consequences come the mid-terms.

It is great to dream bold, and I often have said on this blog we need to do more of that very thing when it comes to national policy. With such policy moves, however, comes the dose of reality. Any President of the United States, or Speaker of the House, or Senate Majority Leader must understand from the start the best way to succeed is knowing pragmatism and compromise must be constantly used in governing.  All parts of the process are now needing to comes to terms with that fact.

I have faith that at the end of this process in Washington there will be an infrastructure bill, reconciliation bill, and, of course, a debt ceiling increase. How the large domestic measure looks, and what amount of funding is included will be up to the compromising needs of creating legislation with the needed votes for passage.

And so it goes.

Republican States Greatly Benefiting From Biden’s Child Tax Credits

If you build it they will come.

Even if the building is done with one team doing all the work, while the other team seeks to block all efforts.

That applies to conservative Republicans who worked feverishly to block congressional efforts to construct the child tax credit.

But once the heavy lifting was done, and the measure signed into law by President Biden, we find that the states in the nation which are most benefiting from it are those which voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

The tax credit can be summed up with one word.


As part of a COVID relief package that Congress passed in March, qualified families began receiving monthly payments from the federal government in July ranging from $300 for children under age 6 and $250 for children under age 18.

The current expanded tax credit has proven a policy favorite across the land. Regardless of party.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found the credit supported by 59% of U.S. adults including 75% of people who identified themselves as Democrats and 41% of people who identified as Republicans.

The top 10 states by average monthly child tax credit payments in August — all from the West and Midwest — were: Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, and Montana, with monthly payments ranging from $515 to $456 in August.  Again, all states that voted for Trump.

The conservative state of Utah, which is also the nation’s youngest state home to large families, averaged the highest monthly payment of all at $515.

With the broad support for the policy there is now a very concerted effort underway to extend the credit which is part of the President’s $3.5 trillion spending package.

So while the GOP will not give Biden credit for darn near anything they will gladly reap the cash rewards for the hard work his administration has done to create stronger families in the nation.

The reason Democrats can make the claim for strengthening the foundation of families is based on data. Researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy are estimating that Biden’s new credit will cut childhood poverty by 45%. The IRS has estimated that 39 million families and 65 million children will benefit under this plan.

In the world of blue-collar politics, we call this a middle-class tax cut.

One that even Republicans have embraced.

And so it goes.

Leaders Lead: Biden Makes That Point While GOP Throws Virus Grenades

Many of us have family or friends who lived during years when some of the diseases and maladies that have been largely removed from our lives, had resulted in deaths and disabilities for them. Polio and tetanus shots are but two miracles of the medical world that make the case for trusting science. They also underscore why it is imperative to have the leadership to move a nation towards what is best for all.

There is a line in a 2010 documentary about polio that showcases the emotional reaction to the news when a working vaccine was announced so to combat that disease’s misery.

“The presentation was numbing, but the results were clear: the vaccine worked. Inside the auditorium, Americans tearfully and joyfully embraced the results. By the time Thomas Francis stepped down from the podium, church bells were ringing across the country, factories were observing moments of silence, synagogues and churches were holding prayer meetings, and parents and teachers were weeping. One shopkeeper painted a sign on his window: Thank you, Dr. Salk. ‘It was as if a war had ended’, one observer recalled.”

I start the post out this way due to what we now witness from too many in the land over the proven effective vaccines to fight COVID. And the ones who, for purely partisan reasons, are working to undermine increased vaccination rates.

We all know someone who refuses to take this vaccine. We have known these types of people all our lives, be it the flu shots or some other vaccine that has proved to be most effective in making for better health. For whatever cockomanny reason we have heard their lingo over the years.

But what we are witnessing now in the land is something much more sinister. Whole blocks of the Republican Party are now taking a most dangerous political stance as they rant against mask mandates and vaccine requirements, trying to equate sound health policy for some big government plan to undo democracy.

If it were not so damaging to the lives of our fellow citizens we could just label it as more of the same from the crowd that brought us Donald Trump. But the exploiting of talking points from the most fringe and bizarre of the conservative base is something that now impacts all our lives. As well as the life of our national economy.

If you listen to the rants from the GOP one might assume that there are no longstanding policy and legal precedents dealing with a list of other such vaccination requirements. But admitting such past policy does exist, and examples that schoolchildren and members of the military abide by, would not aid in their only use of COVID as an issue in this manner. That being, to try to undermine President Biden.

I was most proud of the actions Biden took last week to force the issue of increasing the vaccination rates. I had wished to see boldness in this fashion many weeks ago.

At the same time, we need to face the fact that too many Republican politicians are playing a deadly game. That game is directed to the base of the party that is simply put, pathetically stupid. Note that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or The National Federation of Independent Businesses are not taking to the streets in a lather over Biden’s plans.

The reason is clear.

These are the folks who want to see the economy percolate and gain steam. They know that will not happen if workers are sick, or as the case with millions like James and myself, customers who refuse to go out and spend money until there is a sense of the pandemic having been contained.

Biden has taken the reins and yanked against the recalcitrant Americans who think the tail wags the dog in this nation. It does not. The unvaccinated can whine and bitch about their Free-Dumb, and needlessly take beds from others in ER facilities. They can find their voices amplified on FOX News and AM talk radio.

But the majority of the nation will take our positions behind a mask and our barrier called commonsense. Like the President, we know it is our duty to be vaccinated and care for the greater good.

When leaders lead, as Biden has now done, we all benefit. Even conservative business people as the cash registers again start to clank away with sales from a growing economy filled with more vaccinated customers.

And so it goes.

Biden Faces Backlash Over COVID Policy, Removing Masks

(This post written prior to President Biden addressing nation Thursday afternoon.)

Many people around the nation, including this home, have never stopped wearing masks when in stores or at places where large numbers of people gathered. Such as watching fireworks on July 4th.

I viewed the May announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear face coverings indoors to not be in line with common sense. The virus was still spreading, and masks have been proven to be most effective at stemming that spread. There was already evidence of breakthrough cases. We know that the collecting of data about breakthrough case has been poorly done.

It was noted at the time of the CDC announcement about masks that public health experts were somewhat aghast at the move, and for obvious reasons.

Taking issue with the CDC decision was easy. Unvaccinated people, who could have Covid-19 and not know it, would choose not to wear masks or face coverings when out in public. We just know that many of our fellow citizens abused the guidelines. It seems a terrible thing to say but we simply cannot blindly trust many of those we meet when out and about.

The data from states around the nation clearly demonstrate how not taking sane preventive measures, from receiving vaccines to wearing masks has a terrible price. When mandates are removed, and lax standards are accepted during a pandemic the outcome our health care system is stressed to the maximum.

Today Public Health Madison & Dane County announced the indoor mask mandate will continue through October 8th. Some are already kvetching about the move locally, but at the national level–as on National Public Radio this morning– it was noted with concern how the too-soon announcement that made it seem the pandemic was over was a seriously flawed one from the Biden White House.

I have held close to the views of epidemiologists since early in 2020. I noted at the time of the May mask relaxation announcement there was a stark contrast with a large majority of epidemiologists who were asked for their views.

In the informal survey at that time, 80 percent said they thought Americans would need to wear masks in public indoor places for at least another year. Just 5 percent said people would be able to stop wearing masks indoors by this summer.

In large crowds outdoors, like at a concert or protest, 88 percent of the epidemiologists said it was necessary even for fully vaccinated people to wear masks.

“Unless the vaccination rates increase to 80 or 90 percent over the next few months, we should wear masks in large public indoor settings,” said Vivian Towe, a program officer at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Based on such learned views from professionals James and I have followed the advice which many have ignored. Has it been fun?

No. But it is merely wearing a mask.

Does it make sound sense and align with the data to wear a mask?

Yes. The latest huge study from Stamford and Yale this month make the case, yet again, that mask wearing is a proven way to limit the spread of the virus.

I am most pleased that President Biden sits in the Oval Office. But I would not be candid with my readers if not taking issue with lapses in policy construction and logical steps to further safeguard the nation’s health during the pandemic.

Make no mistake, the bulk of the problem in the nation is with those who are unvaccinated and abused our trust and faith in them as they prance about, drink it up, fill stadiums as they shout spew. And fail to wear a mask. They are the weak links in our society.

But Biden and his team need to provide tougher leadership so to put forth consistent messaging and a better defined path forward as we battle this fourth wave of the pandemic.

And so it goes.

No Black And White About Exit Strategy In Afghanistan

If you listen to the angry politicians who take to the airwaves and pontificate over Afghanistan a listener might be falsely led to believe that there are absolutes at play in the end to the nation’s 20-year war in that nation. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

Over the past weeks, I have very much limited my intake of the reactionary Republicans on Capitol Hill who consider a dialogue on par with a fourth grader to be the extent needed when conversing on this topic. Making only inflammatory remarks when an international crisis flares are not my definition of leadership.

In addition, it is not possible to have the sureness the Republicans are pushing without the context of how we arrived at this point in time. That of course does not stop them from talking, nor those who listen from gobbling up the pablum.

I have found the best path to facts and analysis about Afghanistan are the same sources I use continuously. The Economist, Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker, NPR, and BBC.

And of course, The New York Times.

I want a broad-based and intelligent perspective on what is taking place.

Sunday the NYT ran a superb news analysis article written by Peter Baker. If Baker writes it there is no way one should miss it. He is one of our essential reporters in America today.

Baker certainty questions the approach taken by President Biden, but also places the exit from Afghanistan in the larger arena of events.

Under the four-page deal signed in February 2020, Mr. Trump agreed to withdraw all American troops by May 1, 2021, lift sanctions and compel the release of 5,000 prisoners held by the Afghan government, which was cut out of the negotiations. The Taliban committed to not attacking American troops on the way out or letting terrorist groups use Afghanistan as a base to attack the United States.

While the Taliban agreed to talk with the Afghan government, nothing in the publicly released part of the deal prevented it from taking over the country by force as it ultimately did and reimposing its repressive regime of torture, murder and subjugation of women. It was such a one-sided bargain that even Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster called it a “surrender agreement.”

Following the deal, Mr. Trump reduced American forces in Afghanistan to 4,500 from 13,000. Eager to be the president to end the warhe signed a memo to the Pentagon instructing it to pull out all remaining forces by Jan. 15 before leaving office, but was talked out of it by advisers. Instead, he ordered the force drawn down to 2,500 troops in his final days, although about 3,500 actually remained.

For Mr. Biden, inheriting such a small force in Afghanistan meant that commanders were already left with too few troops to respond to a renewed Taliban offensive against American forces, which he deemed certain to come if he jettisoned Mr. Trump’s agreement, requiring him to send thousands more troops back in, officials said.

The Biden team considered other options, including keeping a small presence of troops for counterterrorism operations or to support Afghan security forces, but reasoned that was just “magical thinking” and would take more troops than was sustainable. They discussed whether to renegotiate the Trump agreement to extract more concessions but the Taliban made clear it would not return to the bargaining table and considered the Trump deal binding.

Mr. Biden’s advisers also considered extending the withdrawal deadline until the winter, after the traditional fighting season was over, to make the transition less dangerous for the Afghan government. The Afghanistan Study Group, a bipartisan congressionally chartered panel that was led by Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., a retired Joint Chiefs chairman and that included Ms. O’Sullivan, in February recommended extending the May 1 deadline and seeking better conditions before pulling out.

But Mr. Biden was warned by security specialists that the longer it took to withdraw after a decision was announced, the more dangerous it would become, aides said, so he extended it only until Aug. 31.

Particularly influential on Mr. Biden, aides said, were a series of intelligence assessments he requested about Afghanistan’s neighbors and near neighbors, which found that Russia and China wanted the United States to remain bogged down in Afghanistan.

“Biden basically faced the same issue that Trump faced,” said Vali Nasr, who was a senior adviser to Richard C. Holbrooke, Mr. Obama’s special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan, “and his answer was the same — we’re not going to go back in, we have to get out.”

Republican criticism now, he added, was brazenly hypocritical. “They’re the ones who released all these Taliban commanders, they’re the ones who signed this deal,” he said.

Mark T. Esper, a defense secretary under Mr. Trump, agreed that the deal was flawed and in fact argued against drawing down further in the final months of the last administration before being fired in November. In recent days, he said, “there were more options available to President Biden” than simply continuing Mr. Trump’s withdrawal.

“He could have tried to go back to the table with the Taliban and renegotiate,” Mr. Esper said on CNN. “He could have demanded, as I argued, that they agree to the conditions they established or they agreed to in the agreement and that we use military power to compel them to do that.”

How we arrived at this stage of the Afghanistan war must be viewed from the start of the mission. Republicans will not tell their constituents that , but Foreign Affairs presses the point continuously.

‘’In the aftermath of 9/11, intervention in Afghanistan took on enormous importance for the Bush administration, which was determined to prevent another catastrophic attack on American soil. But the administration had no desire to garrison Afghanistan indefinitely, so it chose to help build a successor regime to the Taliban that could presumably govern the country on its own one day—and ensure that it didn’t again become a safe haven for terrorists. The invasion of Afghanistan and the ousting of the Taliban went surprisingly smoothly, producing a quick, low-cost victory. In the flush of this initial success, the Bush administration was led to believe that the follow-up nation-building mission could be similarly easy.

The Bush administration’s first mistake was a failure to fully appreciate the geographic obstacles in the way of an Afghan reconstruction effort. Afghanistan is on the other side of the world from the United States, and in addition to being landlocked and inaccessible, it is surrounded by several powerful and predatory neighbors, including Iran, Pakistan, and nearby Russia. The only way the United States could get most of its forces and their supplies into or out of Afghanistan was through or over Pakistan—a country that did not share American objectives there and actively sought to subvert them.

Moreover, the population of Afghanistan was considerably larger than that of any other country involved in a post–World War II U.S. intervention: in 2001, Afghanistan had almost twice as many people as wartime South Vietnam. Typically, the troop-to-population ratio is an important determinant of the success of a stabilization operation. Two years before the invasion of Afghanistan, in 1999, the United States and its NATO allies had deployed 50,000 troops to stabilize Kosovo, a country of 1.9 million. Afghanistan’s population in 2001 was 21.6 million—yet by the end of 2002, there were only around 8,000 U.S. troops in a country that was more than ten times Kosovo’s size and had no army or police force of its own. There simply weren’t enough U.S. boots on the ground to secure the country the United States had captured.

One reason for the relatively small deployment was that the Bush administration did not intend for U.S. forces to assume peacekeeping or public security responsibilities—rather, they focused exclusively on tracking down residual al Qaeda elements, at the expense of the foundational security required to build a functioning state. The Bush administration also neglected to commit the necessary financial resources to the Afghan stabilization effort. In Bosnia, the United States and other donors had provided economic assistance amounting to $1,600 per inhabitant per year for the first several years after that war. The comparable figure in Afghanistan amounted to $50 per person—a paltry sum.’’

Flags In Dane County Underscore Weight Of National Pain

On my way outside of Middleton this afternoon I spotted an image that matched the mood of the nation. Three large American flags audibly flapped in the brisk breeze. Heavy, sad, and a most weighted feel matched the somber atmosphere across our nation.

There is no way to escape the enormity of the moment we are living in as the nation withdraws from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. The national angst was underscored with live coverage Sunday morning as 13 dead American soldiers returned in caskets to Dover Air Force Base.

The Taliban threatened us as we entered the war in 2001 and are seen now as victors upon our defeat. No matter how it is assessed the bulk of the war was a colossal failure.

Yes, we did gain an advantage over the ones who fueled the hatred and perpetrated the heinous crimes on 9/11. We sent the remains of Osama bin Laden to the bottom of the ocean.

We did open up the ability of a younger generation of Afghans to dream and see the world outside of a burqa and a tortured reading of the Koran. Therefore, we feel deep sadness about ‘turning off the lights’ on their education as the Taliban will again reject modernity when governing.

But the nation-building and processes for building a government, and have it in any way to be self-sustaining did not succeed. There was not enough time, or the willpower on the larger part of the Afghan populace. The urban areas grew, but the tribal foundations of the countryside did not have time to turn towards the 21st century.

Meanwhile, many people in America who by their own admission find history to be boring, have no real touchstones with the past so to weigh and balance what is now happening with the chaos and death in Afghanistan. One of my childhood heroes, astronaut John Glenn, after becoming an Ohio Senator spoke in 2009 about dead soldiers, also returning to Dover from Afghanistan.

As John Glenn said: “It’s easy to see the flags flying and the people go off to war, and the bands play and the flags fly. And it’s not quite so easy when the flag is draped over a coffin coming back through Dover, Delaware.

The gung-ho mentality that too often leads a nation to war is not able to define goals, strategy, or any exit policy. As Glenn said flags fly, and bands play.

And then soldiers die.

As a nation, we will most certainly be arguing how the Afghanistan evacuation policy was created and executed during the past months. There will be those expressing that our nation only needed to maintain a few thousand military personnel in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. A land, I need not remind my readers, which is termed the Graveyard of Empires.

Such arguments can be rebuffed with those pesky things called facts. After 19 years of our footprint all over Afghanistan, their government had seen its control seriously erode to 30% of the country’s 407 districts. Meanwhile, the depraved Taliban controlled 20% of the country, and it should be noted that was more than at any time since the U.S. started the war. As I said, 19 years previous!

We all are unpleased how this larger episode defines our nation on the international stage. After the past four years, we needed to start the restoration of our country’s image and undertake that mission by doing masterful deeds. While no defeat at the hands of the Taliban was ever going to look good the exceptional chaos and blunders (and worse) by the Defense Department, State Department, and White House–and there is plenty of blame to share–is beyond mind-boggling.

Just more reason to stand under a flag at half-staff and sadly ponder it all.

And so it goes.

Why Most Americans Did Not Know Of Problems In Afghanistan

The assessment of what happened in Afghanistan over the past year, and how that translates into the chaos at the Kabul airport or the headlines being reported hourly is most worthy of our attention. There is no way to watch the bedlam and misery being unleashed following the Taliban takeover and not wonder what was missed leading up to the past weeks? Americans are asking how could the White House and Defense Department not have responded ‘more appropriately’?

The images from Afghanistan are gripping, the many questions have merit, and they absolutely require detailed responses. Some of those issues will start to be examined with Capitol Hill committee hearings this coming week.

But it also must be asked of the American public, “Where were you during the past 15 months when this removal process was being crafted by the Donald Trump Administration?” That is not a partisan jab, but rather a pointed reminder that the role of a citizen of this nation must include staying current with the affairs of the country.

While I understand the nation grew, rightly so, weary of a two-decade-long war it also needs stating the end of the American footprint in that war should have elicited more than a passing glance at how its conclusion was going to proceed.

The brunt of my question does not land solely on the average American sitting on their sofa, but in equal measure to the main television networks which did a most miserable job of reporting what the Trump White House was proposing for the military withdrawal. Additionally, the public needed to have been aware of the snail pacing of the application process so as to move certain Afghan citizens (and their families) out of that nation for their safety.

International publications such as The Economist were constant and probing with their reporting on Afghanistan, the BBC without doubt ‘on top’ of each development, and monthly offerings such as Foreign Policy examining in-depth the options and policy proposals in that nation. BUT the majority of the nation receives their news from network evening broadcasts.

The networks, however, proved to be simply embarrassing with their coverage of this international story.

Out of a combined 14,000-plus minutes of the national evening news broadcast on CBS, ABC, and NBC last year, a grand total of five minutes were devoted to Afghanistan, according to Andrew Tyndall, editor of the authoritative Tyndall Report, which has monitored and coded the networks’ nightly news each weekday since 1988. 

Those five minutes, which covered the February 2020 Doha agreement between the United States and the Taliban, marked a 19-year low for Afghanistan coverage on the three networks’ newscasts. They compared to a high of 940 minutes the networks devoted to Afghanistan in 2001, all of it following 9/11 and the subsequent U.S. intervention, as shown below.

While the pathetic amount of coverage of the conflict last year can be partially explained by the virtually total dominance of the news agenda by the COVID-19 pandemic, the three networks devoted a total of only 362 minutes to Afghanistan in the preceding five years, or just two hours of coverage per network, or an average of only 24 minutes per network per year.

My pointing out this lapse in reporting from the networks does not absolve the responsibility of a citizen to stay informed. PBS News Hour is a weeknight offering and is thoroughly substantive concerning events of the day. Not seeking such news reporting can only be placed upon the individual.

Many Americans now weighing into the ‘whys’ and ‘what-ifs’ regarding events in Afghanistan are doing so mostly blind. That will result in stilted hearings, with certain politicians playing to the under-informed base. That is not the way to make for a true and complete analysis of the events leading up to the headlines of the recent past.

This is just one more example as to why an informed citizenry is a must for a working, competent republic.

And so it goes.

Like It Or Not, Biden Showed Leadership With Afghan Decision

There is no doubt the chaos of the past days from Kabul, Afghanistan has been painful to watch. Maddening in fact. The meltdown was as much an intelligence disaster for the United States as it is a military one for the former Afghan government.

There is also no doubt that President Biden showed leadership by taking resolute action to remove our footprint from that nation. There was no path forward for those wishing of a military ‘victory’ or for the desires among some to plant a form of ‘democracy’ on that terrain. Such hard truths are not easy to take as citizens, but we must be adult enough to grasp the wisdom shown when a leader makes a tough call.

We must be mindful when dealing with international relations to know there are times when no good answers exist, and one needs to accept the least of the worse ones listed.

There are legitimate questions to be answered about the planning for the drawdown in U.S. troops and State Department employees. There needs to be a better answer provided about the reasoning as to the timing of when groups of Americans were to leave, and at the same time not unbalance the Kabul leadership, sending them into panic mode.

While all can agree events on the ground could be worse–and they could be much worse given the outlandish nature of the Taliban–does not remove the need to analyze what did go so miserably wrong with the execution of our withdrawal.

There are concerns aplenty about not only American personnel, but also the many Afghan citizens who worked either with our government, news organizations, or national relief organizations. Many of us have pressed for quicker application processes to get Afghan citizens who provided so much help the assistance they now need to flee the country.

What was most disheartening to watch unfold over the past days were the military forces within Afghanistan who completely relinquished not only their weapons but also their responsibility to the country. Their lack of willingness to fight for their own country underscores one of the problems that has long simmered during this 20-year process that we have watched play out.

If the Afghan citizens will not stand up for their own country, fight for their own interests, one has to rightfully ask how many more years should America contribute resources and personnel to undertake a mission that they themselves do not find important enough to contribute to.

President Biden committed himself to the removal of American forces during the 2020 presidential campaign. The previous person to sit in the White House had often talked about our nation’s “endless wars” and in a strange overlapping of the issue, there is a large bipartisan segment of the nation who share such views.

There is no way to predict the fallout from this weekend, or the days to come, but the chaos of actual events, along with the heated rhetoric from the usual crowd might not be aligned with the larger mood of the country. I suspect there is a “silent majority’ who endorse our removal from Afghanistan this month.

President Biden told the nation there was no more reason to wait for another year, or five years, or a decade. The dynamics on the ground in Afghanistan were not going to change.

While I view the world through the eyes of an internationalist, and my loathing of the Taliban really has no limit, I am also a pragmatist. While I understand the role our nation can and should play in the world and the power we wield both in terms of military power and diplomatic finesse, I also recognize limitations on those levers we can use.

With all the hope and resources at our nation’s disposal none of it matters, however, if those we seek to lift up or advance are not willing to embrace it or not able to sustain it.

President Biden is going to face harsh political winds from both his opposition and from within his party. He is experienced enough to understand that this was bound to happen. International relations and political fallout have always gone hand-in-hand and he is no novice. He knows the current political storm will be a serious one.

So it is incumbent upon the majority of the nation to step apart from the political rhetoric and embrace the reality of the decision that had to be made.

Our president has demonstrated leadership with a calm and resolute nature, a high degree of common sense, and with no doubt, some thought given to President Washington urging our nation to restrain itself from global entanglements. Biden has made it clear that more lives should not be lost or more national treasure expended. He refuses to hand this problem off to yet another person to sit in the White House.

President Biden has rightly concluded this chapter.