Mark Alexander / August 19, 2021

Comments on Biden’s Afghan Retreat Failure

Get this straight: It wasn’t the plan, it was the man.

As an addendum to my comprehensive analysis on the implications of Joe Biden’s catastrophic Afghan retreat failure, “Biden’s Blowup: Back to the Future of Islamic Terrorism,” what follows is a compendium of observations related to that failure.

If you did not have time to read the analysis, here is a summary:

All the focus in the coming weeks will be on Biden’s failed American retreat strategy and his effort to deflect blame, but the problem was not his plan, it is the man. The Taliban have no fear of Joe Biden, which is why they seized Afghanistan in just days. And they have confirmed that the world’s tyrants need have no fear of Biden. The consequences of Biden’s now-obvious failure as an American commander-in-chief have immediate and dire implications for our national security that extend far beyond the borders of Afghanistan. What will China, Russia, and Iran now be emboldened to do?

It was Donald Trump who finally exhibited the political will to formulate an exit plan and bring most Americans military personnel home, while committing a small stability contingent ongoing, as well as enough air assets to keep the Taliban’s undivided attention. Trump’s drawdown plan had two primary conditions: First that the Taliban cut their ties with al-Qa'ida, and second that they successfully negotiate and maintain peace with the Afghan government. With Trump gone, the Taliban has not met either of those conditions, and why would they – have no fear of Biden enforcing those terms.

The compressed Afghan exit schedule was motivated by Biden and his Beltway cadres’ desire to take a political victory lap ahead of the 20th observance of the 9/11 Islamist attack on our nation. There will be NO victory lap. There WILL be more Islamist attacks against the U.S.

Brace yourself America.

In the spirit of our long time Patriot Post supporter, Walter Williams, he often posted what he called “observations on the passing scene.” What follows are a collection of observations on the scene in Afghanistan over the last seven days.

Joe Biden: “Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy,” but nation-building is precisely what he and Barack Obama set about doing in 2014. In 2002, it was then-Sen. Biden who cosponsored massive nation-building legislation for Afghanistan. According to Biden, “In some parts of [the Bush] administration, ‘nation-building’ is a dirty phrase,” adding, “But the alternative to nation-building is chaos — a chaos that churns out bloodthirsty warlords, drug-traffickers, and terrorists.”

More from Biden: “Our diplomacy does not hinge on having … U.S. boots on the ground.” But keeping a few thousand troops in the regions seems to have worked well in the last few years. He added: “Our true strategic competitors — China and Russia — would love nothing more than the United States to continue to funnel billions of dollars in resources and attention into stabilizing Afghanistan indefinitely.” Not as much as they are loving the message you have sent to the world about your feckless leadership and the ineptitude of your highest military commanders on full display in this botched retreat.

According to Biden, there was no way out without chaos. Asked if he thought “this exit could have been handled better in any way, no mistakes,” Biden replied: “No, I…I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that, we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look — but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know how that happened.”

I don’t know how that happened.

Asked if he expected the chaos, “So for you, that was always priced into the decision,” Biden replied, “Yes.” But he then back-paddled: “Now exactly what happened, I’ve not priced in. But I knew that they’re going to have an enormous – look, one of the things we didn’t know is what the Taliban would do in terms of trying to keep people from getting out. What they would do. What are they doing now? They’re cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out, et cetera, but they’re having — we’re having some more difficulty having those who helped us when we were in there.”

Biden, when asked about our military staying until all Americans are out, if that could be done by his 31 August deadline, said: “We’re going to do everything in our power to get all Americans out and our allies out. … going to try to get it done… And if there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay until we get them all out.”

Asked if he believes the Taliban have changed, Biden responded: “No. I think…let me put it this way. I think they’re going through sort of an existential crisis about do they want to be recognized by the international community as being a legitimate government.” He added, “I’m not sure I would’ve predicted … that when we decided to leave that they’d provide safe passage for Americans to get out.”

Biden’s assertions on several levels that the CIA, DIA and NSA “missed” this surge is either absurd or mortifying.

Kamala Harris: AWOL, got the hell out of town for a vacation to Saigon…

Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “Let’s take a step back. This is manifestly not Saigon.”

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan: “[Biden] is taking responsibility for every decision the United States government took with respect to Afghanistan. … The Taliban have informed us they are prepared to provide the safe passage of civilians to the airport. … We, as a national security team, collectively take responsibility for responsibility for every decision…” Thank you for the clarification. Now you can all resign.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki: “The Taliban also has to make an assessment about what they want their role to be in the international community.”

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby: “Kabul is not in an imminent threat environment.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action. The Taliban must know the world is watching its actions. We are concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls. The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban.”

Pelosi reiterated: “I commend the president for the action that he took. It was strong, it was decisive, and it was the right thing to do.”

As for the implications for our NATO alliances, according to Biden, “I have seen no questioning of our credibility from our allies around the world.” But that is a LIE – our historic NATO alliance allies have already leveled very pointed criticism of Biden. That would include our closest ally, the UK, where the Parliament is holding Biden in contempt and members have voiced strong objections to Biden’s failure.

Former president Donald Trump: “[Biden] surrendered to the Taliban, who have quickly overtaken Afghanistan and destroyed confidence in American power and influence. The outcome in Afghanistan, including the withdrawal, would have been totally different if the Trump Administration had been in charge. Who or what will Joe Biden surrender to next? Someone should ask him, if they can find him. It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan…”

Mike Pence: “The Biden Administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan dishonors the memory of those heroic Americans who gave the last full measure of devotion and all who bravely served there defending freedom these past 20 years.”

National security analyst, Gen. B.B. Bell (USA, Ret.): “The internal and external national security risks to your once-proud country have just skyrocketed. It is difficult to describe the stunningly negative position the United States finds itself in following the cataclysmic fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. President Joe Biden’s ill-fated and hapless decision to summarily short-notice withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan will forever be known as the day America’s position in the world order cascaded behind that of China, and for that matter Russia and the European Union as well.”

Mike Pompeo: “I can assure you if I were still secretary of state with a commander in chief like President Trump, the Taliban would have understood that there were real costs to pay if there were plots against the United States of America.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “I was in a number of these briefings over the last couple months, it was pretty obvious to me what was going to happen. I know for a fact that the president’s military leaders argued against this decision. It is a sad day for the United States of America.”

McConnell: “The Biden Administration’s botched exit from Afghanistan including the frantic evacuation of Americans and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul is a shameful failure of American leadership. … A proud superpower has been reduced to hoping the Taliban will not interfere with our efforts to flee Afghanistan. … Terrorists and major competitors like China are watching the embarrassment of a superpower laid low.”

McConnell: “We spend less than 1% of our military budget to keep the lid on Afghanistan. It will cost America much more now.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) : “It’s alarming that neither President Biden nor Vice-President Harris has the capacity to answer questions during a major foreign policy crisis of their own creation.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “Biden chose a dangerous and dishonorable path in Afghanistan, and he has no one to blame for this debacle but himself. … Contrary to what he may say or think, President Biden has not ended the war in Afghanistan. He is simply creating a new chapter — one that will be filled by Taliban thugs and al-Qaeda murderers. Biden was quick to blame others and never acknowledging the blame lies with him. The essence of his address was ‘The buck stops with me, but President Trump and others made me do it.’ Not exactly Harry Truman. President Biden made these decisions against sound military advice, and everything he was warned about is now coming true. ”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL): “After the disastrous events in Afghanistan, we must confront a serious question: Is Joe Biden capable of discharging the duties of his office or has time come to exercise the provisions of the 25th Amendment?”

Sen. Tommy Tubervile: “I have not heard one word from all of these women in ‘The Squad’ in Congress saying anything about protecting the women of Afghanistan. You know, they’re closed-mouthed right now. It doesn’t fill their narrative. People ought to be sick of this. They really should be.”

Former Obama and Trump White House physician, Adm. Ronny Jackson, now a Republican member of the House from Texas: “Remember when Obama’s Secretary of Defense said Biden has been ‘wrong on nearly every foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.’ It turns out he was spot on. … If [Biden] is not mentally capable of handling this crisis, he needs to resign immediately. America deserves better than this – our veterans deserve better than this! Come out of hiding at Camp David and do your damn job!”

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): The OEF vet, former Navy SEAL observed, “I was told Joe Biden’s big selling point was his foreign policy acumen.”

Crenshaw added: “The U.S. presence in Afghanistan was meeting the original strategic goal of denying a safe haven for terrorists and preventing another 9/11. The 18 months before withdrawal saw no U.S. combat deaths. Does that really sound like ‘endless war’ in any traditional sense? More important, does it sound better or worse than the current outcome? … The incompetence of the Biden administration on this is really overwhelming. There need to be resignations, there need to be firings. They couldn’t have done this in a worse way. We have American citizens left behind. We have people getting shot in Kabul airport at this moment. It’s such a complete disaster. The Biden administration screwed this up beyond belief, but this was always going to be the case with any kind of withdrawal like this. To say this is an endless war? We haven’t had a combat casualty in Afghanistan for 18 months. Just because you want to end our endless war doesn’t mean they want to. And I wish we lived in a different reality. I live in the real world, and the real world now just got a lot more dangerous because of this kind of incompetence.”

Meanwhile, some Democrats have awakened from their slumber with a few “keen sense of the obvious” criticisms…

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ): “I am disappointed that the Biden administration clearly did not accurately assess the implications of a rapid U.S. withdrawal.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI): “This is a chaotic situation … I don’t think it needed to be this way.”

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) said that the withdrawal of U.S. troops “should have been carefully planned to prevent violence and instability.”

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) blamed the Biden administration’s “failures of intelligence, diplomacy and a lack of imagination as we transitioned military forces from the country.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA): “This is a crisis of untold proportions…”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA): “To say that today is anything short of a disaster would be dishonest. Worse, it was avoidable… All the scenes of total chaos that we saw play out on the TV yesterday could have been avoided if the [Biden] administration had planned for this in advance.”

Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI): “ This is a catastrophe… Biden owed a better plan to our men and women in uniform.”

All three of Obama’s CIA directors have criticized Biden’s failure, however understated…

CIA Director and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said: “Our national security is threatened… With the Taliban now controlling Afghanistan, there is no question that they will provide a safe haven for Al Qaeda and for ISIS. … I strongly recommend to President Biden that he take responsibility and admit the mistakes that were made.”

CIA Director David Petraeus said: “The situation is absolutely heartbreaking. It is tragic … This is a Dunkirk moment or, perhaps, a Saigon moment.”

Even Obama’s sleazy Trump-hating CIA Director John Brennan said: “[Biden] was clearly caught off guard… The U.S. military along with U.S. contractors and intelligence officers have been the bloodstream that have sustained the Afghan military and security forces for many, many years. The abrupt severing of that bloodstream … compounded by impact of the announced withdrawal in a rapid way,” caused the collapse.

More to the point, Obama Acting CIA Director Michael Morell said the Taliban “knew it was going to win” when “the clock started in April when the president made the decision,” and “to blame intelligence now infuriates me, absolutely infuriates me.”

In other words, once Biden declared we were completely abandoning our operations there, the Taliban knew they had nothing to fear from Biden.

All four of Obama’s ambassadors to Afghanistan have criticized Biden’s failure, however understated…

Obama U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker called Biden’s handling of Afghanistan “an indelible stain on his presidency.” He added: “I’m left with some grave questions in my mind about his ability to lead our nation as commander-in-chief… To have read this so wrong – or, even worse, to have understood what was likely to happen and not care. I think it is damning for him to have created this situation in his first significant action as commander in chief… It’s an unforced error, and as an American I am deeply concerned.”

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry: “Evacuation of an embassy can be interpreted locally and internationally as abandonment, akin to a military unit fleeing from its position under enemy pressure.”

Ambassador James Cunningham: “There was little to no real planning done about how to compensate for the withdrawal of their forces made it almost impossible to carry that out effectively and safely … They were behind the curve from the beginning of the announcement and that became rapidly apparent to the Afghans and to the Taliban as well.”

Ambassador Michael McKinley: Biden’s withdrawal plan “tied to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and in the middle of the fighting season, was a mistake.”

And one high-level Obama advisor piled on… Senior Advisor David Axelrod said: “You cannot defend the execution here. This has been a disaster … It’s a failure, and [Biden] needs to own that failure.”

Brit Hume: “We have been getting out of Afghanistan gradually, slowly for years and years. We were down now in that country to about 2,500 American soldiers on the ground. No American soldier had been killed there in a year-and-a-half. But that little modest force with the air power, the intelligence and the logistical support and the advice that came with it, was enough to maintain a kind of an uneasy stalemate in that country. The president comes along and blows the whole thing up because he wants to get out. We were getting out. And it mattered how we got out. It always matters how you get out in a situation like this. Withdrawals and evacuations are very militarily tricky and dangerous. And this one has been utterly and completely botched. This is a calamity, a disaster, a completely botched operation.”

Ben Domenech: “It’s in America’s interest, an America first policy would recognize that it’s in America’s interest to have friends who trust us. When we make commitments to them, they should have faith in us and not in China or in Russia. Turning them away, leaving them behind is not an America first policy.”

Ari Fleischer: “Biden’s military policies have helped the Taliban. His energy policies have helped Russia. His border policies have helped people come here illegally. His domestic policies pay people not to work. What has he done, other than not tweet, that hasn’t backfired?”

Trey Gowdy: “Great nations, like great men and women, keep their word. He blamed all the presidents before him and the Afghan soldiers. It was either the right policy wrongly executed, or it’s the wrongly policy wrongly executed. I keep thinking of the words of Robert Gates, Obama’s former secretary of defense who said Joe Biden for four decades was wrong on nearly every major foreign

Foreign policy analyst James Carafano: "Biden lied to the American people. He didn’t prepare for something that was predicted to happen if he took this course. He put the safety and security of Americans at risk and he humiliated everybody. This is literally a presidentially created crisis.”

National security analyst Thomas Joscelyn: “Just two weeks after President Biden announced on April 14 his decision to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan by September 11, the Taliban launched a massive offensive. Since May 1, the jihadists have captured a large swath of the country, laying the groundwork for the resurrection of their Islamic emirate. America and its allies have remained mostly indifferent — retreating from the battlefield as the jihadists advance. This is what a lost war looks like.”

Mark Steyn: “Afghanistan is about Afghanistan – if you’re Afghan or Pakistani. But, if you’re Russian or Chinese or Iranian or European, Afghanistan is about America.”

Piers Morgan: “Biden’s failure to even admit to his catastrophic mistake, when the whole world has watched the disaster unfurl on live TV, is both breathtakingly arrogant and disturbingly delusional.”

Former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill, who killed Osama in 2011: “Everything Democrats touch turns to s**t. Prove me wrong. My friends who died for no reason would be disgusted with this administration. Have any of our generals and admirals resigned out of disgrace yet? Do I have this all right?: Our border is wide open, China’s biological weapon is surging, we closed our pipelines but opened Russia’s, the Taliban is back in charge, we are defunding the police and people with penises are women. What did I miss?”

Buck Sexton: “Note to Democrats and the corporate media: what just happened in Kabul is an actual INSURRECTION.”

Norman Roule: “Our national resolve will now be open to question.”

Dinesh D'Souza: “The war wasn’t lost by brave American soldiers who carried out their missions and endured the hardships of surviving and fighting in a distant country. Rather, the war was lost by their leaders, who set impossible goals and then developed strategies that were destined to fail. We can only hope that our country’s leaders will get the message this time and prove a little less utopian, gullible, and inept when America once again dispatches its armed men and women abroad.”

Michael Waltz: “What happens in Afghanistan doesn’t just stay in Afghanistan. It spreads like a cancer.”

Rich Lowry: “The crisis at the border and the stunningly swift defeat in Afghanistan are entirely on Biden. He took sustainable situations and overturned them out of ideological fixity and fantastical wishful thinking. The outcomes were utterly predictable. Indeed, anyone who knew anything about the border or Afghanistan warned what would happen. The debacles haven’t been the product of forces beyond Biden’s control; events didn’t take a hand, he did. These are man-made disasters. … In both cases, he quite literally chose chaos.”

Matt Walsh: “Radical Islam supports female genital mutilation, which is a terrible thing. Leftism supports the genital mutilation of both males and females, except for the purpose of turning males into females and vice versa.”

Betsy McCaughey: “[Pro-American] Afghanis were assured they’d be protected. Instead, the Biden administration has shown far less concern for them than for the migrants who are breaking our laws to enter illegally and have done nothing for America. A double standard.”

Philip Rucker: “What’s amazing is President Biden ran for office as the foreign policy expert … and yet look at how poorly planned this seems to be right now. It is a calamity playing out.” (The Washington Post editorial board (September 28, 2020): “On foreign policy, Mr. Biden offers an enormously positive change from the Trump administration, simply by promising to rebuild long-standing U.S. alliances and the global leadership that Mr. Trump has willfully disrupted.”)

CNN’s Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward – demonstrating the special kind of stupid reserved for CNN talking heads deep in echo chambers: “They’re just chanting ‘Death to America,’ but they seem friendly at the same time.”

Leftist NBC anchor Chuck Todd: “It’s pretty clear this [Afghanistan debacle] probably would have been just as bad, if not worse, under what Trump wanted to do.”

Stephen Colbert: “Why should our soldiers be fighting radicals in a Civil War in Afghanistan? We’ve got our own on Capitol Hill.”

This just in from the CDC: “Because of the current situation in Afghanistan, all travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.” (Altering my vacation plans now…)

And finally, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid offered this assurance: “The Islamic Emirate – after the freedom of this nation – is not going to revenge anybody, we do not have any grudges against anybody. We have pardoned anyone, all those who have fought against us. We don’t want to repeat any conflict, any war, again, and we want to do away with the factors for conflict… Therefore, the Islamic Emirate does not have any kind of hostility or animosity with anyone, animosities have come to an end, and we would like to live peacefully.”

Mujahid: “In Afghanistan, I would like to assure our neighbors, our original countries we are not going to allow our territory to be used against anybody or any country in the world. So the whole global community should be assured that we are committed to these pleasures that you will not be harmed.”

Oh, and he added, “Our women are Muslim, they will also be happy to be living within our framework of Sharia.”

(Follow @MAlexander1776)

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

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