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