Afghan evacuation accelerates

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Jennifer rubin/ WaPo:

Biden makes it clear: artificial boundaries won’t prevent his evacuation in Afghanistan

Overall, this is in addition to a White House effort to tie the evacuation to the original popular decision to end the unsuccessful war; portray the evacuation as a complex and hitherto largely successful enterprise led by professional and courageous Americans; and to reduce the sense of urgency surrounding the August 31 date and the physical limits of the US presence. Biden clearly wants to avoid an exit rush and focus on maintaining a successful airlift. Once again, if Biden gets all vulnerable Americans and Afghans to safety, last week will look like a rough and heartbreaking start to a historic rescue operation.

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Alissa J Rubin /NY Times:

Was the war in Afghanistan supposed to take place?

In 2001, when the Taliban was weak and ready to surrender, the United States struck a deal. Almost 20 years later, the Taliban have it all.

It was at the end of November 2001 that the Taliban leadership began to reach out to Hamid Karzai, who would soon become the interim president of Afghanistan: They wanted to make a deal.

“The Taliban were completely defeated, they had no demand except for amnesty,” remembers Barnett Rubin, who was then working with the United Nations political team in Afghanistan.

Messengers shuttled between Mr. Karzai and the headquarters of the Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, in Kandahar. Mr. Karzai envisioned a Taliban surrender that would prevent militants from playing an important role in the country’s future.

But Washington, convinced that the Taliban would be wiped out forever, was not in the mood to strike a deal.

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Hilda Bastien/Atlantic:

The FDA must have taken so long

If the approval of the vaccine is extremely scrupulous, it is because the alternative is worse.

Some people want the FDA to step up. Others want him to be more careful. All of this can turn heads for anyone who just wants the agency to do whatever really works to get us out of this horrific pandemic. If one thing has defined the rollout of vaccination in the United States, it is exactly these competing pressures. There is a fundamental tension between the right to access a drug that people desperately need and the right to be protected from dangerous defects in quality. The first asks for speed; the second takes time.

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Catherine Rampell /WaPo:

It’s time for the GOP to distribute a hard love on vaccines

The only half-decent excuse to delay the coronavirus vaccination – one that no shot had received “full approval” from the Food and Drug Administration – is now obsolete. It’s time for “facts don’t care about your feelings” Party to stop pampering their followers, give them a hard love and insist that everyone already get their damn shots.

A year and a half after the start of the pandemic, 40 percent eligible Americans are still not fully immunized. And while public health officials have pleaded with the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, many ambitious Republicans and right-wing “news” figures have, in bewilderment, refused to do so.

It didn’t have to be that way.

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Quinnipiac:

6 in 10 Floridians support the requirement for masks in schools, according to Quinnipiac University survey; 61% say recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida was preventable

Schools should be able to require masks for all students, say 54% of Floridians in a separate question, while 44% say parents should decide whether their own student will wear a mask or not.

On Governor DeSantis’ threat to withhold salaries for principals if they need masks for students, 69% say it’s a bad idea, while 25% say it’s a good idea. There is agreement across partisan lines, as Democrats 91-8%, Independents 70-26%, and Republicans 52-38% say it’s a bad idea.

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