The Political World in which We Now Live

Van Drew

Politics never ends.

That may be an obvious statement, but consider that there was a time when partisanship did indeed end. Foreign policy disasters were once immune to political sniping, at least temporarily.

Instead, people joined each other in grief and remembrance of the fallen. That certainly was the case in 1983 when 241 U.S service members were killed in a truck bombing in Beirut. Ronald Reagan was president.

Those days are gone.

In the aftermath of this week’s attack in Afghanistan – and even before that – some Republicans, led, not surprisingly, by Donald Trump, were calling on Joe Biden to resign.

Jack Ciattarelli to his credit did not specifically do that.

He released a statement expressing sympathy for the victims, but he couldn’t avoid some political commentary.

“This is a national embarrassment and a disgrace for which the Biden Administration must be held accountable,” he said.

A few days before that, Rep. Jeff Van Drew, who seems to be working hard to make people forget he ever was a Democrat, went further.

He said the president, the vice president, the speaker – essentially all government leaders – should resign.

Politicians cheapen their brand and hurt their own credibility with such crazy comments. And if things were reversed, Democrats these days would be equally capable of doing likewise.

There obviously should be legitimate criticism of how the evacuation of Afghanistan has been handled,

But the story of Afghanistan is a book, not a few chapters.

And one can’t forget that Trump, who often condemned “endless wars,” put the U.S. military pullout in motion and at one point, wanted to have Taliban leaders come to Camp David.

A main reason why such foreign policy tragedies were once immune to partisan attacks was because politicians residing comfortably in the United States understood they didn’t know all the details of what happened. And they also knew that by definition, military involvement overseas is risky, messy and sometimes deadly.

These days, a tragedy overseas is seen by some as just another reason to score political points.

Using the standard some are calling for today, Reagan should have resigned after the Beirut bombing.

What’s more, how about JFK quitting after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, or George W. after 9/11?

Reviewing what went wrong is part of the process; political grandstanding should not be.

But this is the political world in which we now live.

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