Last year, a White House staffer dressed as Easter Bunny prevented President Joe Biden from answering questions about his botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
This Easter, the administration released a useless official “assessment” to do much the same. And you won’t be shocked, I suspect, to discover that the administration places most of the blame for the deadly debacle, which saw 13 American servicemen and over 170 Afghans murdered at the Abbey Gate outside Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, on Donald Trump.
Indeed, the Afghanistan nation-building experiment was a bipartisan, trans-administrational disaster. In over 20 years, thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars were spent trying to build a self-sustaining Afghan military, police, infrastructure, educational system, and “democracy.” All of it fell in only 20 days to the Taliban. But it wasn’t Trump who promised a “safe and orderly” departure. It wasn’t Trump who failed to evacuate thousands of Americans and allies before the country collapsed. Nor was it Trump who left behind billions in military equipment to the Taliban. It was Biden who gave Islamists their “Fall of Saigon” moment.
Perhaps a Republican president would have ignored warnings from military leaders regarding the dangers of staying wedded to the Taliban’s timeline. Maybe they would have ignored warnings from intelligence officials that terrorists might take advantage of unsecured paths that U.S. officials were actually encouraging civilians to use to get to the airport. But it wasn’t. It was Biden who oversaw all of it in an effort to get an early political boost.
Nor was it Trump’s fault that thousands of Americans and American allies, including a translator who had personally helped Biden in 2008, were left at the mercy of the Taliban.
You might recall the entire left-wing Twittersphere chastising conservatives for spreading the myth that Americans had been “stranded” — as in, left without the means to move from somewhere — in Talibanistan. Then-press secretary and now-MSNBC host Jen Psaki told journalists “no Americans” were stranded in Afghanistan, instructing them that it was “irresponsible” to say so. A couple of weeks ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted to Congress that there were still 175 American citizens in Afghanistan, “several” directly held captive by the Taliban. It’s a shame none of those 175 citizens play for the WNBA. Perhaps then the media would be interested in their fate.
At the time, John Kirby, Pentagon spokesperson, flippantly told the press that “we have Americans that get stranded in countries all the time.” Perhaps. But Americans don’t typically find themselves stuck in “nations” run by Islamic warlords and terror groups because of the U.S. government’s ineptitude. At the release of the assessment, Kirby, now coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said these incredible words: “For all this talk of chaos, I just didn’t see it. Not from my perch.” Did Kirby not see the crush of people streaming to the airport to escape the advancing Taliban? Did he not see the explosion that killed dozens of people? Apparently not.
Recall, also, that the Biden administration had reportedly shared a list of “American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies” with the Taliban. The administration bragged that the Taliban had “shown flexibility” and was comporting themselves in a “businesslike and professional” manner. How many victims of the Taliban were on that list?
Let’s not forget what happened after the murder of American servicemen, either. “Know this,” Biden said. “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.” Three days later, an airstrike killed ten Afghans, seven of them children. Not one of the dead was an “ISIS facilitator,” as the administration had initially alleged. Was that Trump’s fault, as well? At the time, General Mark Milley called the strike “valid” and “righteous” and blamed “secondary explosions” for some of the death toll. None of that, it seems, turned out to be true.
Did he make it all up? Maybe the Chicoms know.
Most experts warning Biden about the dangers almost certainly wanted to stay in the nation in perpetuity. As a policy matter, however, whether we should have withdrawn from Afghanistan and how we withdrew are completely separate issues. Biden wasn’t compelled to follow Trump’s strategy on Afghanistan withdrawal. Once he did, it was his responsibility. One of the central arguments for a Biden presidency was the alleged — and highly debatable — foreign policy acumen of the man. And two years ago, as the bungling, chaotic, and deadly withdrawal was unfolding, Biden claimed the “buck stops with me.”
But it never does, does it?
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