For most of the last week, in the fires of the worst foreign policy crisis of his young administration, the president who won the White House on a promise of competence and compassion has had trouble demonstrating much of either.
The chaos in Kabul and his own conflicting messages have left President Biden struggling to assert command over world events and seemingly more intent on washing his hands of Afghanistan than expressing concern over the humanitarian tragedy unfolding on the ground.
Mr. Biden’s team argues that it will not matter in the long run because Americans agree with his decision to pull out after 20 years of war and do not care what happens in Afghanistan as long as their fellow citizens are extracted safely. Afghanistan is America’s longest war, stretching through four presidencies, and none of those presidents found a way to disengage successfully.
But the tumultuous endgame of Mr. Biden’s withdrawal has nonetheless undercut some…