Ethics And Leadership Failure On Afghanistan, Part II: Signature Significance For An Untrustworthy Leader

Slow Joe

I waited before writing this until President Biden’s hastily prepared TV address \ to stop the metaphorical bleeding (but not the real bleeding in Afghanistan) as critics assailed him for going into hiding, a fair description. I shouldn’t have, and I should have been confident that what we heard was what we would hear: pure deflection. Nancy Pelosi’s leaked “talking points,” which emanated from the White House, told us what the plan was:

Talking points afgh

The issue isn’t whether it was a good idea to get out of Afghanistan, or that, as the President said, the U.S. shouldn’t get bogged down in 20 year wars in foreign lands. The issue is the astoundingly inept, weak and irresponsible manner in which this was handled, and the terrifying leadership deficit it signals.

Here are the markers:

1 .Incompetence. The President ignored his foreign policy advisors and the military, suggesting this debacle was politically motivated, weird as it seems. He wanted to appeal to the budget hawks who are terrified by the exploding debt; he wanted to make the Hard Left anti-war, anti-military wing of his party happy. He counted on most Americans not knowing or caring about Afghanistan, and the news media to bury all negativity in propaganda, flogging the points he made in his address today. But the plan was hasty, there was insufficient preparation for contingencies, and intelligence, as it has been for about 30 years now, failed, and any alert U.S. President has to be aware that intelligence, especially in that part of the world, can’t be relied upon. Look at the “talking points”:

“Was this an intelligence failure. “[The fall of Kabul] was not an inevitability. It was a possibility.” If it was a “distinct” possibility, as the same document says elsewhere, then it was necessary to take steps to ensure that that unacceptable possibility did not occur. Either Biden didn’t think his precipitous actions would lead to what happened (he had said it was “highly unlikely,” which is far from “a distinct possibility”), in which case he did not have sufficient information to make his decision, or was willing to risk it. For all the reasons stated earlier here and else where—the abandonment of allies who trusted us, the carnage to come, the message of weakness sent to China and others, the symbolic rendering as pointless all the sacrifices made by our soldiers, the condemnation of women in the regions to the loss of their rights after being falsely led to believe that the U.S. cared enough to make sure they would not be yanked back to the dark ages—this was feckless and cruel.

2. Irresponsibility. Does this need elaboration? I don’t think so.

3. Failure of Accountability. Biden’s attempt to blame President Trump’ withdrawal plans for his administration’s disaster takes so much chutzpah and dishonesty that it’s almost impossible to process. Biden has taken glee in cancelling Trump’s commitments and suspending his predecessors projects. He could have announced that he disagreed with Trump’ assessment, and announced that Afghanistan needed more troops and a suspension of the intended withdrawal. Nothing was stopping him.

I suppose we should be grateful that he decided to blame Trump rather than systemic racism….

It also takes epic brass for Biden to complain about endless wars when he was a key part of the Obama Administration that enthusiastically pushed the U.S. into its second decade in Afghanistan.

Cowardice. For Biden to go into hiding at Camp Davis as the Taliban was running amuck is the opposite of leadership, although it is reminiscent of how Barack Obama virtually ignored Russia invasion of the Crimea. Then, after giving a ten minute speech to confuse the rubes, he got on a plane and headed back to his vacation.

And in the end, of course, nobody paying attention can trust a leader who behaves like this.

“Don’t worry about all those trillions we;re spending and the growing inflation! I know what I’m doing!”

“Hey, I know how to handle the virus while keeping the nation open! I have experts!”

“Look, everything’s under control at the border. You have a competent President at last!”

How could they?

Addendum: Donald Trump just vomited up this:

Trump-biden-resign

What an idiot. He should, more than anyone I can think of, shut the hell up. He just can’t do it.

24 thoughts on “Ethics And Leadership Failure On Afghanistan, Part II: Signature Significance For An Untrustworthy Leader

  1. 3. Failure of Accountability. Biden’s attempt to blame President Trump’ withdrawal plans for his administration’s disaster takes so much chutzpah and dishonesty that it’s almost impossible to process.

    Heh. I used to say the same thing about Trump’s pronouncements. Of course, virtually all of them were political rhetoric, not foreign policy. That makes a big difference. No doubt, had Trump done something like this, he would’ve blamed … I don’t know, anybody but himself. That Biden is doing exactly the same thing isn’t exactly the look I’d be going for if I were him. Whatever happened to “The buck stops here?” That attitude hasn’t been around the U.S. presidency in a long, long time.

    “Just like Trump.” That is, if Trump were as incompetent as Biden, which is unlikely.

    Cowardice. For Biden to go into hiding at Camp Davis as the Taliban was running amuck is the opposite of leadership, although it is reminiscent of how Barack Obama virtually ignored Russia invasion of the Crimea. Then, after giving a ten minute speech to confuse the rubes, he got on a plane and headed back to his vacation.

    This is the very worst thing about this whole affair. He looks cowardly, recklessly indifferent to his professional advisers, and utterly political. Instead of bringing America’s allies together and showing resolute strength, this has weakened the entire West, and made some kind of conflict with China or Russia more likely. I’ve even seen this couched as the end of NATO, but that seems like hyperbole to me.

    [Trump is] an idiot. He should, more than anyone I can think of, shut the hell up. He just can’t do it.

    Indeed. Idiots gonna idiot, and that is more true of Trump than most.

  2. We know where the US equipment is now so why have we not launched cruise missiles to destroy the weapons and technology that will be used against so many or fall into the hands of the CCP. We should flatten the airbase and everything else we built there. Biden is giving aid and comfort to the enemy by not destroying those assets.

    • That was one of the things I told my wife this afternoon. Why didn’t they wire everything they couldn’t carry out with 10-minute fuses and just blow it all up? Yeah, it’s a terrible waste of money, but that’s better than the alternative.

      I’m guessing the Administration in general, and possibly the President in particular, doesn’t care. I have to think at least one advisor suggested that letting the equipment and technology fall into Taliban hands was a horrible idea. Democrats are experts at wasting our tax dollars except when it actually makes sense to do so.

      • An Afghani security officer is tweeting that they were ordered to stop fighting and hand everything over to the Taliban. Assuming it’s true, that’s a huge scandal. We already know that Biden lied about every single thing in his speech, including the local soldiers’ lack of any “will to fight.” Would not be surprised if handing over all of those goodies was the plan. There certainly didn’t seem to be any struggle or difficulty in getting them, and -correct me if I’m wrong- it looks like the vehicles the Taliban acquired came with the keys.

        Why would they do such a thing? Well, assuming that Biden may or may not actually be in charge, any number of reasons. Obama secretly called off a massive international drug bust as a favor to Iran to help get the Iran deal done, and he hid this action from Congress and the public. Assuming equal levels of sleaze on the part of his successors (Susan Rice is still slinking around, remember,) there may have been a secret deal with the Taliban in exchange for their leaving Kabul alone for a few months. This would explain the White House’s “surprise” at the Kabul attack, despite the fact that they were warned 100 times over that Kabul was ready to fall. Perhaps they were trusting in a secret deal which the Taliban broke.

        OR, maybe certain war hawks in the administration wanted to send a message: if you try to extricate America from being perpetually at war, awful things will happen. Recall that the Left and neocons united to wail and cry when Trump pulled us out of Syria. They predicted a disaster like what is happening now (“he betrayed our allies!”) but it failed to come to pass. If pulling out of Afghanistan were similarly non-catastrophic, people might want to (gasp) not be involved in any foreign wars at all. I know, you think “no one would purposefully allow this to happen” but then again, this debacle really tests the limits of what can be chalked up to mere incompetence.

        OR OR (just one more,) is this a progressive soft coup against Biden? Watch for think-pieces testing the waters for a President Kamala. Look for “Biden isn’t socialist enough” takes. See if the 25th Amendment is about to become a hot topic.

        • Oh, here’s another possible explanation: China and the Taliban are allies. China owns Biden and has proof of his influence-peddling with them via family members. China wanted this to happen, and Biden did what China wants. This explains all the frustrated experts trying to point out that they warned Biden about exactly this scenario, and he ignored them.

        • Isaac-
          All that is missing from your “war hawks” paragraph is a reference to Eisenhower’s Military-Industrial Complex warning. Still good advice after 60 years. War, whither or not it directly involves the US is good for the bottom line.

  3. Biden’s not doing or thinking or saying anything. He’s (just barely) reading a speech on the teleprompter and then going back to wherever he’s kept and taking a nap. The man is GONE. He’s demented. Stop talking about Joe Biden. He’s a marginally self-propelled mannequin.

    And Nancy Pelosi’s staff are setting U.S. policy? I don’t understand that. The presidential handlers are laying things off to Nancy Pelosi’s staff? They are setting up plausible deniability by being able to say, “Don’t blame us!” once this speech bombs?

  4. What is most troubling is our abandonment (if the reports I’m reading are accurate) of the Afghani people who assisted us in our mission. How can we expect any citizen of another country to assist us in any way that puts them or their family in danger in the future?

    My father was a mathematics professor at a state university and said that the first generation of Vietnamese who came here after Saigon fell where the hardest working students he ever encountered (the second generation less so). Loyal immigrants from countries with oppressive systems of government often appreciate this country more than native born. They make our country stronger.

    • I was thinking about that. The Vietnamese refugees were the first group to people a small neighborhood of their own in the city’s Tenderloin district, and were the fastest to move out of it: onward and upward.

  5. As it’s oft noted, when you have to remind everyone who you are, you are simultaneously not confident in yourself nor are others confident in you.

    How many times did Biden in several ways have to remind everyone he’s the President? How many times did he try to word things in a way that none of these events are outside his ability to handle?

    Sad.

    By the way, this will be a good time to point out that the Biden/Harris administration in 7 months has turned out to be exactly as or exceeding the unmitigated disaster that we were promised for 4 years Trump/Pence were going to be (but never were).

  6. re Trump’s post script: It was not bad until the end. As you’ve said, he just doesn’t know when to stop. Or was that “to shut up?”

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