If Republicans have their way, the voting public’s reactions to the end of the war in Afghanistan will be shaped around a desire to hold only President Biden and Democrats accountable for the terrible scenes of the withdrawal that are being beamed into their living rooms.

Thus, some GOP leaders expressly declare that Biden is “solely” responsible for the deaths of 13 U.S. service members last week. Others are signaling that if Republicans win the House in 2022, they will launch Benghazi-style investigations that will doubtless focus only on the administration’s handling of the withdrawal, with not a second of discussion devoted to the 19 years that preceded it or to the underlying wisdom of ending the war itself.

But this strategy requires Americans to play along. And so far, they may not be: New polling from the Pew Research Center finds that Americans are taking a refreshingly nuanced view of the turbulent and tragic end to our 20-year involvement in Afghanistan.

The poll finds that a total of 71 percent say the Biden administration has done either an “only fair” job (29 percent) or a “poor” job (42 percent) at handling the situation. That’s obviously what Republicans are hoping for.

But Pew’s survey also finds that 54 percent nonetheless say that the decision to withdraw was the right one. Though these are separate questions, the fact that a solid majority still favors withdrawal even as large majorities are taking a dim view of the handling of it suggests many Americans will not allow their support for Biden’s underlying decision to be clouded by concerns about short-term execution.

Notably, this balance turns up in other polls. A recent CBS News/YouGov poll found that 63 percent of Americans approve of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, even as 70 percent say it should have been handled better.

The CBS poll also finds that large majorities blame the Afghan army and government, not Biden (or former president Donald Trump) for the Taliban takeover. That suggests most Americans see the current debacle as the outgrowth of a fundamentally failed overall mission, not the outgrowth of a narrow failure around executing the withdrawal well.

This basic set of nuances also turns up in numerous interviews that the New York Times conducted of voters in a California swing House district. They were well expressed by one independent voter, who declared: “When you have no good choice, you still have to pick one.” It’s striking how many interviewees said something similar.

And in truth, this amalgam of views seems pretty reasonable. There are plenty of legitimate, lingering questions about Biden’s handling of the withdrawal: Whether the intelligence failed to adequately anticipate a quick collapse by the Afghan army and government, whether decisions were made that didn’t incorporate intelligence that got things right, and whether major, foreseeable failings occurred in the process of enabling Afghan refugees to escape and get settled here.

Yet it’s possible to want answers and accountability related to those questions, while also recognizing that what we’re seeing now is the result of a much larger series of mistakes and failures, and that those left us in a situation where withdrawal was likely the least bad option.

Those who want questions of accountability framed narrowly only around the withdrawal’s failings — to limit the circle of blame and to foreclose a broader reckoning — have a vested interest in obscuring those nuances. But, whatever the long term political impact of all this, it’s heartening to see that majorities of Americans are not getting fooled.

We probably shouldn’t be Pollyanna-ish about this. Many things are probably contributing to this public support for withdrawal: war-weariness after witnessing 20 years of grinding failure; a long time lag since a major international terrorist attack on U.S. soil; a general cynicism about the United States’ capacity to do good in the world that is hardly something to celebrate. Another terrorist attack here could unleash another war frenzy at a moment’s notice.

But for now, at least, the balanced reaction of Americans to the end of our longest war seems like something to welcome.