April 16, 2021

Revisionist History on Afghanistan

Biden and Pelosi take turns rewriting their past statements to reflect the current political moment.

President Joe Biden is not an honest man. Despite his totally unearned reputation for being a straight shooter, he has a long history of telling lies both big and small. So to those of us who already knew this, it came as little surprise to hear Biden rewriting history regarding Osama bin Laden and his Afghanistan withdrawal.

In targeting September 11 for withdrawal, Biden chose symbolism over substance. But he’s also guilty of a subtle attempt to claim credit for something someone else did. (Where have we heard that before?)

“I said, among — with others, we’d follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell if need be,” Biden boasted in his remarks announcing withdrawal. “That’s exactly what we did, and we got him. It took us close to 10 years to put President [Barack] Obama’s commitment to — into form. And that’s exactly what happened; Osama bin Laden was gone. That was 10 years ago. Think about that. We delivered justice to bin Laden a decade ago, and we’ve stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since. Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan are becoming increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved.”

First of all, it was President George W. Bush’s commitment to get bin Laden, and Obama got it right on keeping it. Biden, however, did not.

“Joe weighed in against the raid,” writes no less than Obama himself in his third memoir, A Promised Land. Biden himself once recounted that he told his boss, “Don’t go,” though he ultimately supported the decision to send the Navy SEALs on the raid.

The point here is that Biden is using something he opposed to justify his current decision. And, as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in his own memoir, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Speaking of revisionist history on Afghanistan, there’s one more Washington liar on stage left. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday praised Biden for his “timeline for the safe, strategic and orderly departure of American troops from Afghanistan.” She even referenced his highly politicized choice of 9/11 as a withdrawal date, saying, “As we mark twenty years since the tragedy of September 11, we look forward to welcoming our heroic troops back to American shores safely as soon as possible.”

Well, we’re old enough to remember all the way back in November 2020, when Pelosi slammed President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. “This hasty withdrawal does not appear to have a strategic plan that adequately anticipates contingencies.” Moreover, she warned, “We can ill afford to lose the hard-won gains … in Afghanistan.”

Oh what a difference the (D) after the president’s name makes.

Besides the actual enemy, one of the biggest struggles in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq always has been the shifting political sands here at home as Democrats regularly reverse positions. Perhaps no one typified this flip-flopping better than John Kerry, who once infamously said of a supplemental bill funding the two wars, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

After 9/11, Democrats were for American national security before they were against it. Ever since the 2004 presidential campaign ramped up with Kerry trying to oust Bush, Democrats have been all over the map regarding American wars. Biden and Pelosi are just continuing that not-so-proud tradition without much thought for actual national security or objectives.

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