The president appeared indignant and unwilling to concede defeat in a 26-minute speech that marked the close of a 20-year chapter

Victory speeches are easy; conceding defeat is much harder. On Tuesday, Joe Biden tacitly blamed his predecessors for the failure of America’s longest war but implied that, against all odds, one winner had emerged: him.

In a 26-minute speech at the White House, the US president fiercely defended his decision to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan and hailed the mass evacuation from Kabul as a triumph. He scored highly in making the case against forever wars and expressing compassion for US military families.

Related: How the US created a world of endless war

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