Untangling Biden’s Lies About Afghanistan
Yes, the US and NATO had to leave Afghanistan. But the chaotic, bungled withdrawal is a direct result of Joe Biden’s personal negligence.
As Robert Gates, former Secretary of Defense during the Obama Administration put it:
“I think he’s been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.”
The White House spin machine is working overtime to contain the damage Biden’s incompetence has wrought, but it’s far too late for him now.
The consequences of this epic fail will ripple across the remainder of the Biden Administration.
Joe Biden is now fated to be a one-term President, of that there can be little doubt now. In fact, a recent poll showed that if the 2020 election were re-run today, Biden would lose.
And his poll numbers overall have probably only begun the decline most Presidents see during their first term.
Add that to the near-certainty the Republicans will take the House in the Midterm elections and investigate the Biden Administration to death and it’s curtains for Joe Biden’s legacy.
Oh, the numbers will bounce back a bit eventually — but part of the erosion is permanent.
I didn’t serve in Afghanistan, but I was in uniform years ago and I’ve known and worked with many people who did sacrifice part of their lives in that awful war.
If you want a good perspective on what it was like to be there as an enlisted soldier, check out The Hooligans of Kandahar by Joseph Kassabian.
Any honest person should be willing to admit America stayed far too long. Still, that doesn’t excuse us from executing our departure with some grace and dignity.
And getting everyone out who wants to go.
No, Afghanistan’s government couldn’t survive after NATO left. The country itself doesn’t really exist in the way maps imply, and the many military and civilian leaders responsible for rebuilding the place over the last twenty years did not fail because nation building is impossible, but because they had no idea how to do it.
They imported a western model of development anybody most grad students over the past ten years could have told them wouldn’t work. Not because Afghanistan is “undeveloped” (save in an economic sense) but because people in that part of the world don’t pretend, like westerners do, that kinship networks are secondary to formal professional relationships.
So we ended up funding a bunch of corrupt families who pretended to be in charge. And once the US sent catastrophic signals — like the sudden departure from Bagram Airbase and pulling out US contractors supporting the Air Force — indicating it was preparing to abandon the Ghani government, most soldiers lost faith in their chances of success against the Taliban.
Biden is desperately working to whitewash what was possible in Afghanistan and cast the blame for his epic fail on anyone he can.
His backers are slowly coalescing behind him, fearful that any damage to him damages the party. Another iteration of the eternal rotten deal that keeps political hacks like Biden in positions of power — and America rolling over a cliff.
Their effort is self-defeating, because despite what Beltway voices and most writers like to believe, people aren’t stupid.
They are good at detecting, and can be relied upon to react poorly to, hypocrisy.
The fact that the Taliban overwhelmed a government the United States and NATO backed and funded and fought to protect for two decades, at the cost of thousands of lives and a trillion dollars, can’t be easily explained away.
A myth about what happened is already forming, alleging a dramatic blitzkrieg that overwhelmed the Afghan National Government.
In point of fact the Taliban’s military campaign has been ongoing since May of 2021. As soon as the deadline the Trump Administration had agreed on with the Taliban passed, it began launching attacks on outlying provinces and assassinating pilots.
So it wasn’t like nobody knew the Taliban was on the march. The 11-day blitz the media is referring to is an artificial starting point, dating to when the first major city fell — basically, when they first started paying attention.
This map of part of northeastern Afghanistan is a perfect example of how the campaign went. The Taliban started by taking rural district centers that were basically indefensible and key border posts where they could generate income.
Then they began approaching cities — and were repelled in many, forcing them to lay siege and work to cut road connections.
Biden is selling a story that if the US hadn’t pulled out faster America would be at war with the Taliban, but the truth is we already were.
By late July airstrikes were being carried out by US combat jets flying from Qatar, Diego Garcia, and the USS Ronald Reagan. The United States had already broken the terms of the agreement Biden is saying he had to follow to avoid attacks on US personnel.
See the sneaky game he’s playing? The Taliban, suffering casualties, chose not to retaliate.
Why? Because they knew that they couldn’t risk drawing the US back to the country in a major way, which would likely happen if American soldiers were killed.
This is still their fear — hence their close control over the airport and active coordination with American military leaders. The Taliban knows it is in a position of extreme vulnerability, where a broad insurgency could erupt swiftly backed by US airpower.
Biden’s entire argument for pulling troops as fast as he did is based on a false premise — that he had to honor Trump’s deal because otherwise we’d be at war with the Taliban.
Americans are taught to believe that war is this magical thing that is declared or not, ending when you decide it’s over in some grant mission accomplished moment.
But war in the political sense is simply policy carried out through violent means. It has no firm beginning or ending, what we think of as war is just an intensification of a preexisting conflict.
If Taliban and American forces start shooting at each other at the airport, that doesn’t make us any more or less at war than B-52s dropping bombs. That is an incident, which can lead to worse incidents if not handled properly.
Biden’s basic failure during the withdrawal was keeping inadequate forces in and around Kabul to make sure American and allied citizens and all Afghans at risk of reprisals could be safely evacuated if the Ghani government collapsed.
He is trying to make Americans think that any additional military forces entering Afghanistan would automatically have placed America at war with the Taliban.
This isn’t true — he’s manipulating the facts to cover up for failing to properly plan for Afghanistan’s collapse.
If, as the President insists, Afghanistan’s collapse was inevitable, then it was incumbent upon him to have the forces in position to evacuate everyone well before the Taliban reached Kabul.
That this was possible should have been obvious by no later than the start of August.
Additional forces should have been deployed then, not hours before Ghani absconded (allegedly) with a helicopter full of cash.
That is the root of Joe Biden’s criminal negligence, why he ought to suffer extreme political and personal costs for this debacle.
As President, as Commander-in-Chief, he was responsible for preparing for the worst-case outcome.
At a minimum a brigade of infantry capable of holding Kabul International Airport should have been deployed by the first week of August. Another should have been heading to Kuwait to remain on standby and guarantee the Kabul embassy and airport remained connected.
Would that have sent a demoralizing message to the Afghan Army? Maybe.
But nothing was more demoralizing than slipping away in the night, which is what it felt like America was doing if you were an Afghan soldier.
Biden’s insistence that it was up to Afghans to defend their country was an incredible insult to those who were. Afghan commandos, highly trained and respected by American and NATO soldiers they worked with, were being bled to death holding outposts across the country in a ridiculously bad strategy on the part of the Ghani government.
The total collapse of the broader Afghan National Army came only once the commandos, under-supplied and lacking reinforcements, were defeated. That proved to everyone nearby that the government had hung them out to dry.
So they did the only rational thing they could — they cut deals.
The simple fact of the matter is that there were options Biden chose not to use.
Because of his negligence, perhaps ten thousand American citizens and perhaps a hundred thousand vulnerable Afghans are at the mercy of the Taliban.
A brigade or even two entering Kabul in August would not have placed the United States at war with the Taliban. Even had it made no difference at all, or worsened Afghan military morale, at the very least Kabul would have been full of American troops able to organize evacuations.
A second aircraft carrier could have been dispatched to the region as well as more combat aircraft capable of providing air support. If the Taliban had made the incredibly stupid choice to use this as a pretext for starting a war with the United States, it would have paid dearly.
Would Americans have blamed Biden for the casualties? Some, maybe — but not many.
Because Americans would not, as Biden is pretending, have been placed in harms way to prop up a failing government.
He is choosing to frame it that way when it is now clear the administration knew Ghani’s government was all but doomed.
They’re admitting as much — using this failure to justify their decision to cut and run.
Again, the United States desperately needed to be out of Afghanistan by the end of this year.
Propping up the Afghan government forever was not an option. It was not worth more American or allied lives — clearly, not even Afghan lives.
But we had an obligation to take those who needed to go with us. We had an obligation of honor to defend those who defended our people.
But Joe Biden is a political animal who calculated that a few thousand lives weren’t worth the damage to his polling the death of an American soldier would.
So he surrendered to the Taliban — and sent a powerful, fatal signal of America’s true nature to the rest of the world.
He can dress up his cruel neglect however he likes, saying the buck stops with him and sometimes you have to make difficult decisions.
Biden can deflect and defend and spin — and I expect he will — all the way to the grave.
What matters is his reputation is forever tarnished. Not because he did a difficult thing, but because he failed so badly in the execution.
Biden lied. Afghanistan died.
And so the United States of America has met it’s Suez moment. Abroad, it will never be seen the same again.
Joe Biden is merely Donald Trump’s legacy continued.
If he had any honor, he would resign.
Give Kamala Harris a chance. I guarantee she’d be better than this.