Afghan Angst

  • Say this for President Joe Biden and the tragic mess that has been the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan: He did the right thing. But he did it poorly. Some national security heads–such as NSA Jake Sullivan–should roll. And you don’t have to be a Trumpster or a disaffected Dem to agree.
  • The Taliban and ISIS, however odious, are adversaries, not allies. The Taliban reflects political Islam, wants foreign aid and recognition and yearns to govern, even if in a non-secular, medieval manner. The remnants of ISIS are depraved jihadists. So why did the Taliban expedite the release of all those ISIS prisoners when they stormed Kabul? Because this is Afghanistan, a failed, corrupt, narco state, and this is what you get when overthrowing a government. It’s never seamless. If the Taliban were sagely sincere about their seemingly moderate statements—because they don’t want isolation from the international community—they would work, in effect–on or off the record–with the U.S. to eliminate ISIS and save lives. And then take the credit as America ingloriously exits.
  • Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 83, is the senior member of the Court’s (three-member) liberal wing. It would not be an understatement to say that he is the subject of speculation and concern about his ongoing tenure on the Court. The untimely death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a reminder of the implications when the justice and the incumbent president are ideological opposites and Mitch McConnell is still lurking. Breyer hasn’t committed himself to stepping down while Joe Biden is president—only to thinking about it. “I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die—hope not,” said the still-equivocating Breyer. Take one for team democracy, Judge.
  • Democrats are encouraged by data showing increasing urban diversity in Southern states. It has potential (but well shy of a guarantee) to complicate GOP efforts to keep statehouses red.
  • Heads up, Joe Biden. “Saturday Night Live” will soon return and the president will be in their parody crosshairs. It won’t be pretty. There’s already too much material.

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