Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/17/2012: The Ethics Buck Stops Here [Updated]

All My Fault

1. Note to future elected officials and politicians trying to weasel their way out of a fiasco of their own making: if you say “I take full responsibility,” then you can’t go on to blame anyone you can think of. The painting above, by artist Mort Künstler (b. 1931) is titled “It’s All My Fault,” and depicts the moment when General Robert E. Lee met his shattered troops after they had marched, under his orders, into Union artillery and Meade’s troops entrenched on higher ground, in the doomed “Pickett’s Charge” that ended the Battle of Gettysburg. “It’s all my fault!” is what he reportedly told his men. National leaders like President Biden, Hillary Clinton and former President Biden might well reflect on those words, which in my view justify remembering and honoring Lee all by themselves, as their supporters tear down Lee’s statues. (President Trump tried to protect the statues, but he has never emulated Lee in the matter of accepting responsibility either.) Their version of taking responsibility is to mouth “I take full responsibility” followed by a string of “buts” that translate into “It wasn’t my fault!” In the Biden version, you do this and then refuse to take questions (Like, say, “WHAT???) and jump on a plane to flee.

Yesterday, President Biden cynically used Harry Truman’s creed “The buck stops here” after blaming the Afghanistan debacle on President Trump and the Afghans themselves. Apparently in a competition with other media hacks for the boot-licking gold, Brian Williams said, on the air, that Biden’s speech wasn’t what it was (Rationalization #64). “He didn’t run from it, he owned it. He owned this decision. He owned the fact that, as he put it, the buck stops with him,” the exiled former NBC news anchor said. Since Williams has no credibility whatsoever, he has none to lose, but this was still stunning: not just a lie, but a Jumbo: “Excuses? What excuses?”

2. I know, polls, but…It’s always bad news for Democrats when the American public shows signs of not being as lazy, apathetic, stupid and easily deceived as their strategy assumes. A new poll released by The Trafalgar Group in partnership with the Convention of States Action suggest that most Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the exit from Afghanistan. The question on the poll read, “What best describes how you feel about how President Biden is handling US military operations in Afghanistan?” This is the important question to ask: another survey, conducted by Morning Consult and Politico between Aug. 13 and Aug. 16 found that only half of American voters support President Biden’s decision to pull troops from the country. The matter at hand is how the troops were pulled.

In the “handling of the withdrawal’ poll, 59.5% strongly disapproved and another 9.8% disapproved. 10.7% of likely voters polled “strongly approved”—you know, strongly approved of us pulling out without adequate planning, allowing the Taliban to take over all the major cities in a flash and terrifying Afghans so much some were grabbing onto departing planes and falling to their deaths, while the President tried to hide out at Camp David and his press secretary was “on vacation.” What’s not to like?

Who are these people?

3. Speaking of ducking responsibility, former President Trump deleted from his website a statement that withdrawing from Afghanistan would be a “wonderful and positive thing to do.” Of course he did.

UPDATE: The Republican National Committee has removed a webpage from 2020 in which it praised Trump for signing a “historic peace agreement with the Taliban.” The removed page described how the former U.S. president had “continued to take the lead in peace talks” and claimed that “while President Trump has championed peace, Joe Biden has taken the lead in pushing for endless wars.”

4. Right into the “res Ipsa loquitur” files: Speaker Pelosi’s statement after Biden’s speech:

“The President is to be commended for his strong leadership and exceptional focus on bringing American military involvement in Afghanistan to an end. He does so ensuring that Americans and our Afghan partners make it to safety as soon as possible and with a continuing laser focus on counterterrorism efforts to protect U.S. interests at home and abroad. In the days and weeks ahead, the Congress will continue to receive additional briefings from the Administration as we continue to work together on the evolving security situation in Afghanistan.”

5. Wait, what would give them such an idea? Global Times,a Chinese Communist Party (CPP) media mouthpiece published an editorial Monday, addressed the Democratic Progressive Party, ruling party of the Republic of China onTaiwan, stating, “The DPP authorities need to keep a sober head, and the secessionist forces should reserve the ability to wake up from their dreams. From what happened in Afghanistan, they should perceive that once a war breaks out in the Straits, the island’s defense will collapse in hours and the US military won’t come to help.”

5 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/17/2012: The Ethics Buck Stops Here [Updated]

  1. It used to be that one’s honor was not something to be sacrificed for expediency or politics. A handshake was as binding as a written contract. To expect narcissistic Americans or most anyone in a developed country to enshrine these concepts into their core values is wishful thinking at best. Biden is merely a mirror image of most Americans.

  2. 2. Who are these people?

    I’m guessing they are the people so fearful and full of loathing for Trump and, well, any Republican you can name, they would approve of a rotten turnip as long as it had a “(D)” by it.

    It may be shocking, but there are people like that. Their support of Biden is based totally out of fear and loathing of the alternative.

    3. Speaking of ducking responsibility, former President Trump deleted from his website a statement that withdrawing from Afghanistan would be a “wonderful and positive thing to do.” Of course he did.


    4. Authentic frontier gibberish. I doubt she even believes it, but the Democrats do understand circling the wagons very well.

    5. A reasonable, and under Biden, likely correct analysis. Also, to be clear, I’m not 100% sure it wouldn’t be true under Trump as well.

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