Issues & Insights

Afghan Fallout: Biden Blows Up His Entire Case For Being President

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‘For most of the past week, in the fires of the worst foreign policy crisis of his young administration, the president who won the White House on a promise of competence and compassion has had trouble demonstrating much of either.”

That’s not us saying that. This is how the New York Times described the Afghanistan debacle, which is as sure a sign as any of how much trouble President Joe Biden is in right now.

But we’d go further than the Times. Biden’s backers – and Biden himself – didn’t just portray Joe as competent and empathetic. They said he was experienced, thoughtful, trustworthy, and had sound judgment. That he’d unite the country, and restore America’s standing in the world. That he was, unlike Donald Trump, presidential. It was the basis of Biden’s entire presidential campaign, in fact.

As a reminder, here’s what 70 so-called Republican national security officials said when endorsing Biden in August 2020: “We believe Joe Biden has the character, experience, and temperament to lead this nation. We believe he will restore the dignity of the presidency, bring Americans together, reassert America’s role as a global leader, and inspire our nation to live up to its ideals.”

Who can say any of that now with a straight face?

Biden’s utterly inept Afghanistan withdrawal, his bumbling lies and obfuscations, his callous disregard of those put in harm’s way, his refusal to take responsibility, and the devastation his stupidity has caused to America’s “role as a global leader” have undercut every premise of his presidency.

Let’s review.

Competent?

Listen to what Biden said in April about withdrawing from Afghanistan. “We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit.  We’ll do it – we’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely.  And we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners, who now have more forces in Afghanistan than we do.”  

In July, Biden dismissed the likelihood of a Taliban takeover at all.

Q. Is a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan now inevitable? 
 
Biden: No, it is not. 
 
Q    Why? 
 
Biden:  Because you — the Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban.  It is not inevitable. 

When asked at the same press conference about the potential for a fall-of-Saigon disaster, Biden insisted that “the Taliban is not the North Vietnamese army. They’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There’s going to be no circumstance when you’re going to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”

After the Taliban took over the country in a matter of days, Biden suddenly started complaining that Trump had left the Taliban in a stronger position than they’d ever been.

Can anything other than gross incompetence explain his failure to get anything about the withdrawal right?

Empathetic?

At one point in his ABC News interview last week, George Stephanopoulos said: “We’ve all seen the pictures. We’ve seen those hundreds of people packed into a C-17. You’ve seen Afghans falling …”

At which point Biden interrupts Stephanopoulos to dismissively say “That was four days ago, five days ago.” (It was only two days ago when he said it.)

Last week, this report also surfaced:

In 2010, Biden reportedly told Richard Holbrooke, then Obama’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, that the U.S. had to leave Afghanistan regardless of the cost for the Afghan people.

According to Holbrooke, when Biden was asked about America’s obligation to maintain their presence in Afghanistan to protect vulnerable civilians, he scornfully replied by referencing the US exit from southeast Asia in 1973.

“F*** that, we don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger got away with it.”

Biden had to arrange yet another press event Friday so he could deliver some carefully scripted “compassion” talking points.

Honest And Trustworthy?

Biden has been caught in a series of lies and fabrications as the Taliban swiftly took control of the country.

In his ABC interview, for example, he claimed that “the intelligence community did not say, back in June or July, that in fact this was going to collapse like it did.”

Biden was either lying or he forgot that State Department officials at the U.S. embassy in Kabul sent a cable with a clear warning in July that just such a collapse was likely.

A reporter brought this up at Biden’s Friday press conference, wanting to know “why, after that cable was issued, the U.S. didn’t do more to get Americans out?” Biden’s response: “We’ve got all kind of cables, all kinds of advice.”

Two days earlier, Stephanopoulos reminded Biden that “your top military advisers warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops.”

To which Biden said, “No, they didn’t. It was split. Tha– that wasn’t true. That wasn’t true.”

Except it was true. As the Wall Street Journal reported, “The president’s top generals, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, urged Mr. Biden to keep a force of about 2,500 troops, the size he inherited, while seeking a peace agreement between warring Afghan factions, to help maintain stability.”

Biden has tried to reassure the nation that everything was under control and that those Americans trying to get out of Afghanistan were having no problem doing so, thanks to the kindness of the Taliban.

Biden’s own Defense secretary contradicted this claim, noting “we’re also aware some people, including Americans, have been harassed and even beaten by the Taliban.”

Biden also claimed that leaving the country made sense because “We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan as well as, as well as getting Osama bin Laden, and we did.” His Pentagon spokesman contradicted that claim, saying “We know that al-Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS, in Afghanistan.”

Uniter?

Biden managed to alienate just about everyone after he started laying blame for the debacle on Trump, on the Afghan military, and anyone else he could point a finger at.

Global Leader?

In a July 2020 speech, Biden declared that his “foreign policy agenda will place America back at the head of the table, working with our allies and partners – to mobilize global action on global threats.”

Is that so?

The Washington Post reports that U.S. allies are complaining “that they were not fully consulted on a policy decision that potentially puts their own national security interests at risk – in contravention of President Biden’s promises to recommit to global engagement” and that “many around the world are wondering whether they could rely on the United States to fulfill long-standing security commitments stretching from Europe to East Asia.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said: “We thought America was back, while in fact, America withdraws.” Ian Bremmer, director of the Eurasia Group, said that “The decision on how and when to leave was made unilaterally by the Americans, and that’s not the way you treat your allies, frankly.”

Czech President Milos Zeman believes that “by withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Americans have lost their status of global leader.”

Retired Gen. David Petraeus, who commanded forces in Afghanistan and later was CIA director, said that “China and Russia are having a field day saying: This is your partner?”

Incredibly, Biden keeps insisting, as he did Friday, that “I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the world.”

Even the New York Times couldn’t stomach that one. In a fact check of his remarks, the Times noted that:

In Germany, the chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee called the withdrawal “a serious and far-reaching held Biden in contempt miscalculation by the current administration” and said it did “fundamental damage to the political and moral credibility of the West.” …In Britain, the pullout has raised doubts among some officials about the reliability of the United States as an ally. … Latvia’s defense minister, Artis Pabriks, said that the withdrawal caused “chaos” and showed that the West was “weaker globally.”

For some reason, the Times forgot to mention the fact that the day before Biden uttered those words, the British Parliament voted to hold Biden in contempt, with the London Daily Telegraph reporting that “MPs and peers unite to condemn ‘dishonour’ of U.S. president’s withdrawal and his criticism of Afghan troops left behind to face Taliban.”

Crisis doesn’t build character, the saying goes, it reveals it.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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16 comments

  • I stopped reading and came to comments:” the president who won the White House on a promise of competence and compassion has had trouble demonstrating much of either.”
    Joe Biden did not WIN the White House he was placed in the Oval Office by a Silent Coup…fraud and cheating by the Radical Left Democrat Party of Death, Degradation and Deviancy/MSM..The Evil UniParty!

    • Rusino are you really as ignorant as your comment depicts ? it would seem so.

      • Bruechner are you really as ignorant as your comment depicts? It would seem so.

  • Watching this debasement of the America I love by a mentally deficient puppet is heart breaking. Yes, America had to leave sometime, but this petulant, unilateral decision without even consulting the other NATO allies, or warning the Afghanis is beyond disgusting. Whole families, with young children were never given the chance to return to their countries. The US military and Embassy staff snuck out at night, like cowards.” Never again ” will assume a new urgency. Never again put your trust in the USA.In contrast, all honour to Sir Laurie Bristow, UK ambassador, ordered to remain by Whitehall, but out in the thick of the action, not cowering in the embassy.

  • We all know what this means! Racism! Anyone who criticises Joe Biden’s perfect decisions is a White Supremacist and Rapist!

  • What’s shocking is that anyone is really, you know, shocked. Was Smokin’ Joe supposed to do a good job? Did anyone actually expect for him to get in there and start swinging? He was a poor candidate running on influence and won by cheating. Good article, but how can anyone be surprised? That’s a serious question. We’re in so much trouble right now compared to a year ago and he’s only been in office a few months. (I wanted to all-caps “a few months” but am aware of your rules.)

    • I thought most likely there would be people behind the scenes who would actually be making competent decisions, but it appears I was wrong, and Joe Biden is actually making US government policy at the highest level.
      There was a number, I think around 30 Democratic congressmen who wanted to have the actual decision to use nuclear weapons made by a committee, rather than the President individually, but the initiative failed to gain much traction, but I’m afraid they will bring it up again now.

  • This is going to be a long and awful 3+ years we’re going to have to go through. Not a fan of Harris either, but Biden should resign before the 25th gets invoked. At least she is not senile.

    • Biden is a total disaster for sure. The problem is Harris is totally unqualified to be VP and next in line is Pelosi.
      This country really got a mess with what got “elected”. Obviously there must be a shadow government running things. However, I cannot figure out what the end game is. The dems had to know that Biden was in a stage of dementia. That was fairly obvious from the get go.

  • Great editorial, and I’m subscribing! Biden’s fatal flaw operationally is his egotistical, defensive obstinacy, and a myopic way of over-concentration on single components of a problem to the exclusion of the overall big picture. No where was this more evident than his Afghanistan debacle. Senility matters in choosing our leadership. I have yet to hear Joe Biden say that he was ever wrong about anything. Dems to lose big-time in the midterms. Our standing in the world is now down for the count, until uplifted by more resolute leadership.

  • NATO was and is the force that was in Afghanistan, and other partners, such as the Australians have been in the field. Biden bypassed NATO as best I can tell, the events recently being so chaotic, I don’t think anyone really knows what happened.
    This may have been a cleaving blow against the NATO alliance, at a time when NATO is under more pressure from Russia, and China than any time since the height of the Cold War when Kruschev was pounding on the podium with his shoe and threatening to “bury” the US.
    Thankfully Trump, through actual coercion had managed to get other members of NATO to increase expenditures on their own defense.
    This may be beyond retrieval.
    NATO allies may want US forces out and develop more reliable partners, and Ukraine may throw in the towel and throw in it’s prospects with Russia rather than expect anything from Biden, especially since Biden gave the go ahead for Russia and Germany to finish Nordstream 2, leaving crumbs for the Ukrainians to pick up as best they can, and it can only be termed desperation for Taiwan, with Chinese bombers making regular incursions and the Philippines can only watch hopelessly as Chinese fish vessel fleets anchor in the disputed South China Sea.
    If the US had a parliamentary form of government, it would likely mean a change in government. The current formulation of Constitutional Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches may be too dysfunctional, perhaps chaotic would be a better descriptive term, in it’s present form to function internationally.

  • All of this comes fresh off the heels of a poll that shows most Americans don’t think Biden is calling the shots. The media overshot with their attacks on Biden.

    This is critical. If Biden appointed all the people in his administration, and Biden’s not calling the shots, then his administration are the incompetent ones, not Biden, or at least along with Biden.

    That would be the same administration Kamala would be expected to “lead.”

    By blaming this all on Biden, they shot themselves in the foot.

    After all, blaming everything on Biden doesn’t work, when most people don’t think he’s calling the shots anyway.

    Apparently they are not too good at thinking ahead. Now they’ll have to try and save Biden, before removing him from office, which will be spun as a resignation.

  • I can’t believe these 70 so-called “Republican” endorsed Biden for president. With people like that running our country no wonder the country is heading down the tube. The country owes Trump a big favor for exposing these experts as fools and clowns otherwise we would never know it. I suspect that these people look down on Trump and fancy themselves as wiser and more experienced than him.

  • Face it Biden was a poor choice and does not have the capability to run aything. With the help of the biased, unprofessional media, and a lack of curiosity from American voters, along with major changes in voting we end up with the worst administrative group in U.S. history!

  • Joe Biden may surprise us all and end up saving the country. Biden has done such an incredibly poor job that the anti-USA Democrats and Rinos might just get entirely wiped out in 2022. Let us hope so!

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Issues & Insights is run by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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