Majority of Iowans disapprove of Biden’s handling of Afghanistan

D.C. lawmakers propose memorials to war veterans

By: - September 21, 2021 5:38 pm

The U.S Capitol Building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on Jan. 18, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Three weeks after the last U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan, over two-thirds of Iowans said they disapproved of the way President Joe Biden handled the situation, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll.

Iowa’s lawmakers in D.C., many of whom have been critical of Biden’s approach from the onset, are turning their attention toward creating memorials for veterans of the Global War on Terrorism.

The latest on the Afghanistan withdrawal

America withdrew its last troops from Afghanistan in late August. The final days of the 20-year war centered on the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, as the U.S. sought to evacuate American citizens and allies. In the final week of the withdrawal, a terrorist attack at the airport killed dozens of Afghans and 13 American servicemembers, including a 23-year-old Marine from Iowa. 

The U.S. launched a retaliatory drone strike against the terrorist group behind the attack, ISIS-K, just days later. Last week, military officials admitted the drone killed 10 civilians in Kabul.

Majority of Iowans disapprove of Biden’s approach to Afghanistan

A September poll by the Des Moines Register found that over two-thirds of Iowans disapprove of Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The results show a strong partisan split — 94% of Republicans disapproved of the way Biden handled Afghanistan, whereas 1 in 4 Democrats disapproved.

Biden’s overall approval rating fell in the September poll. His rating on Afghanistan was the worst of any issue included in the survey.

Iowa lawmakers push for recognition of Afghanistan War veterans

Iowa’s House delegation on Monday introduced a bipartisan resolution to recognize the sacrifice of Iowa servicemembers in Afghanistan. All four representatives — Reps. Cindy Axne, Randy Feenstra, Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks — participated in the resolution, which stalled out in a Rules Committee meeting and will not be part of final legislation.

“We must never forget what our fellow Iowans have done to protect us and our allies,” Axne said in a Monday news release. “With our delegation’s amendment, we ensure recognition of that service is included in the Congressional Record, and hope to see it added to the legislation that we’ll be debating and voting on later this week.”

Lawmakers have also signed on to plans to create new monuments to war veterans and fallen service members. Sen. Joni Ernst, a combat veteran, held a press conference Tuesday to advocate for a memorial to veterans of the Global War on Terrorism. Ernst is advocating for the monument to be built on the National Mall — an exception to a 2003 law prohibiting more monuments in that space.

“Folks, this is so common sense, and it doesn’t cost a dime of taxpayer money, and it will honor our heroes of the Global War on Terrorism for years to come,” Ernst said. “This memorial is ready to go, so let’s get it built on our National Mall in Washington, D.C., where it belongs.”

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin blocked the proposal due to concerns about the memorial’s location, but The Hill reported Monday that bipartisan support for a War on Terror memorial is growing among lawmakers. 

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.