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Editorial roundup: Collected thoughts from around the nation
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Editorial Roundup

Editorial roundup: Collected thoughts from around the nation

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Questions must be answered, both internally and externally, about the decisions and tactics leading up to and through the United States’ final moment in Afghanistan. Historians and pundits will debate whether the die of inevitability was cast years ago, but there can be no denial of the departure from Kabul, while historic and massive, heroic and tragic, also represented a failure of imagination.

The after-action review of the 9/11 Commission — an independent, bipartisan panel — identified missed signs, unresolved contradictory intelligence and information silos that collected crucial information but were unable or unwilling to connect to threat indications in other parts of government.

Into this moment, we urge Congress to authorize an independent, bipartisan commission to review the final stages of the end of American presence in Afghanistan — from the Trump administration’s ill-advised unilateral peace agreement with the Taliban through the Biden administration’s chaotic evacuation.

We cannot overemphasize that this commission must look beyond partisanship and be an honest broker. The commission cannot be a repeat of the GOP’s partisan foray into the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. Nor should Democrats oppose an inquiry that touches an administration of their party, as Republicans did when they voted overwhelmingly against an independent commission and a select congressional committee to review the Jan. 6 insurrection.

There are many lessons to learn from 20 years of war in Afghanistan. But the last two years deserve additional scrutiny and insight that only a commission of significant heft and a fair-minded approach can offer.

— Dallas Morning News

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The recent loss of at least 13 American service members, killed along with some 200 Afghan men, women and children, by a brutal terrorist attack outside the airport in Kabul does not appear to have been carried out by the Taliban, the long-standing adversary. It was the work of a third party, a yet-more-extreme group with a vested interest in undermining the Taliban’s apparent victory — particularly if the Taliban plans to, as it has claimed, mend its ways.

ISIS-K is known for disregarding international borders on the premise that the Islamic caliphate cannot be confined by such. Its stated goals include the defeat of Israel and the United States.

An inconvenient truth blew up in America’s face. This was the message: There are those to the right of the Taliban who specialize in terrorism.

In Afghanistan and beyond, the war on terror is far from over. All nations who believe in freedom, safety and democracy will have to re-engage. There can be no withdrawal from that.

— Chicago Tribune

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Across the West, megafires are no longer uncommon, and unprecedented fire behavior is no longer unexpected. On the Caldor fire, more than 4,000 firefighters have been working night and day to try and save communities around Lake Tahoe.

This is one of the most beautiful and beloved corners of California. And while Lake Tahoe’s dazzling blue hue will most likely return in time, there are real concerns about what lies ahead for the region’s ecosystem and economy if the calamity of this summer becomes a regular occurrence.

There’s one reason the Caldor fire is so disturbing: State and federal authorities have thrown tremendous numbers of firefighters and resources into fighting this blaze, and they haven’t been able to stop it. Plus, the Tahoe Basin is more prepared for wildfires than other regions in California.

The path forward should be clear, even if it’s not easy. Of course, California should be doing much more, much faster to make communities resilient to wildfires. The state should stop sprawling in high fire-risk areas.

We can’t stop the megafires of today, but with radical action to phase out fossil fuels and slash carbon emissions, we can help prevent even greater devastation in the coming decades.

— Los Angeles Times

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President Joe Biden’s bid to placate far-left members of his party by extending a moratorium on evictions has, predictably, crumbled following the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring the moratorium unconstitutional.

Biden had declared his unwillingness to extend a previous eviction moratorium because Supreme Court justices made clear they would not uphold any future moratoriums without specific congressional approval. Now, no amount of protests can stop the coming tsunami of evictions.

Congress has approved $46 billion for rental assistance to help tenants and landlords make it through the pandemic’s first wave. But by mid-August, only $4.2 billion had reached households, the National Low Income Housing Coalition reports. The first order of business, then, is for states to distribute the aid and avert a national homelessness crisis.

The members of Congress who led the pressure campaign to make Biden extend the moratorium now must go the traditional route: writing legislation, negotiating compromises with skeptics and using their best powers of persuasion to convince members that a new moratorium is urgently needed. If this is the only option likely to pass Supreme Court muster, it sure seems worth a try.

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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