A Taliban 9/11 and other commentary

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Ex-speechwriter: A Taliban 9/11

President Biden “hoped to use the 20th anniversary” of 9/11 “to proclaim himself the president who had succeeded in doing what none of his predecessors . . . could: end the ‘endless war’ in Afghanistan,” notes The Wall Street Journal’s William McGurn. Oops: “The bungled exit” has brought a Taliban “photo of its fighters, clad in captured American gear, raising the Taliban flag in a parody of the iconic World War II image” of US Marines on Iwo Jima. So for “the 20th anniversary of the deadliest attack on” US home soil, as “those who gave shelter to the terrorists who pulled it off will be whooping it up in Kabul,” what do “Biden’s speechwriters come up with?”

Science watch: Dishonest ‘Nudging’

Experts wonder “whether the scientist who literally wrote the book on dishonesty is himself being dishonest,” reports BuzzFeed News’ Stephanie M. Lee. “A landmark study” purported to show people were less likely to lie when signing an “honesty declaration at the beginning of a form, rather than the end.” Governments and businesses worldwide used it as a “cheap and effective method to fight fraud” — but scientists just discovered the data were faked. Dan Ariely, a professor and Wall Street Journal advice columnist whose work has been questioned before, gave “vague and conflicting answers about how he obtained the data.” It’s “the latest blow to the buzzy field of behavioral economics.” Several “high-profile, supposedly science-backed strategies” that claimed “nudging” can lead people “to unconsciously make the right decisions” — an idea the Obama administration fêted — have failed “to hold up under scrutiny.”

COVID beat: US Intel Punts on Origins

The US intelligence community is punting on determining COVID’s origins, sighs National Review’s Jim Geraghty: “Our best spies, analysts and experts” claim they can’t do much when China resists. Huh? “Having a proper investigation of topics when the main party involved doesn’t want to cooperate” is “why we have an intelligence community, isn’t it?” But evidence is there, such as the failure to find any animals hosting what’s supposedly “a naturally occurring, highly contagious animal virus,” the fact the Wuhan Institute of Virology hosted experiments on the likely root virus in unsafe conditions, plus Beijing’s odd behavior spending the epidemic’s “first three to six weeks insisting that the virus was not contagious, even as the medical counter-evidence piled higher and higher. . . . Was the Chinese government trying to avoid looking guilty and hoping it seemed as surprised as anyone else by the virus’s danger?”

Nat-sec expert: Dump Biden’s ‘Yes-Men’

Ideally, President Biden would resign or be removed for his “incompetence” in Afghanistan, fumes Fred Fleitz at The Federalist. Absent that, “other action must be taken,” namely: “replacing his top national-security advisers with experts who have the experience, principles and gravitas to reverse the damage” and “stand up” to Biden’s “dangerous decisions.” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley knew Biden’s Afghan plan was wrong; they should’ve resigned. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Sullivan “are third-stringers.” And “Austin apparently has so little influence with Biden that the president forgot his name at a press conference.” Bipartisan action is needed to “compel” Biden to replace these “unqualified yes-men.”

From the right: The Left’s Georgia Lie

Federal data showing almost “an astonishing 95 percent of Georgia citizens aged 18 or older are registered to vote” flies in the face of “the establishment media” lie that the state is “making it harder for minorities to vote,” observes the Washington Examiner’s Quin Hillyer. Georgia’s push for “stricter identification requirements to vote” prompted widespread accusations of voter suppression from the left, but in fact, the “law passed this year actually expands access to early voting, makes permanent some pandemic-created opportunities for voting at drop boxes and takes steps to reduce waiting times in voting lines,” ensuring “Georgia will likely continue to be a national leader, not a laggard, in voter participation.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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