Biden had courage to act in Afghanistan

The following letter was published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on August 23, 2021.

It’s impossible not to be moved by the reports brought to us by such brave reporters as Clarissa Ward of CNN and Richard Engel on NBC regarding the chaos in Afghanistan. Our hearts go out to the people of Afghanistan, especially women and girls, as they cope with the Taliban takeover. In his recent address, President Joe Biden acknowledged that the speed of the Taliban takeover surprised and disappointed his administration, but he did not duck responsibility. “The buck stops with me,” he said.

It’s difficult not to compare Biden’s candid statement with then-President Donald Trump’s remark, in March 2020, about the spread of the COVID-19 virus: “I don’t take any responsibility at all.” We later learned that Trump told reporter Bob Woodward in February 2020 that he realized the seriousness of the disease. As a result of his inaction and incompetence, hundreds of thousands of Americans died.

Biden’s decision to terminate a war that has dragged on for years – costing lives and billions of dollars – was the right one. He had the courage to act, unlike his predecessors, knowing the political costs could be high. That’s what presidential leadership looks like.

Ginny Diehm, Punta Gorda

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