NIALL FERGUSON: Images of a baby being thrown over razor wire give Biden's desertion a human face that's rousing America from its slumber | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

NIALL FERGUSON: Images of a baby being thrown over razor wire give Biden's desertion a human face that's rousing America from its slumber

It is one of the ironies of history that the American intervention in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was given the name Operation Enduring Freedom.

So what should we call the shambolic American exit we are currently witnessing? Operation Evaporating Freedom? How about Operation Enduring Foul Up?

There was certainly something enduring about the scenes in Kabul last week. Read Graham Greene's 1955 novel The Quiet American: 'We go and invade the country: the local tribes support us: we are victorious: but… [then] we made peace… and left our allies to be crucified and sawn in two.

They were innocent. They thought we'd stay. But we were liberals and we didn't want a bad conscience.'

I doubt Joe Biden has read much Greene. But he's certainly of the generation of liberals that Vietnam scarred, even if he watched the war from the comfort of the US Senate, to which he was elected in 1972 – aged 29 – after campaigning for US withdrawal.

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