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Douglas Andrews / August 26, 2021

Pompeo Pushes Back on Biden Blame-Shifting

The former secretary of state made a pragmatic deal with a nasty adversary, and it was working.

It’s all Donald Trump’s and Mike Pompeo’s fault. At least that’s what the weak, worthless scoundrels in the Biden administration would have us believe. Bad ol’ Trump made a bad deal with the Taliban, and now we’re paying the price for it.

Uh-huh.

It’s hard for us to decide what’s worse: an incompetent administration whose leadership always seems to make the wrong decision, or a feckless administration whose leadership always seems to get sand-kicked in its face. Alas, Joe Biden — bless his heart — gives us the worst of both worlds. He’s like Jimmy Carter, but without the cardigan and the integrity. The Taliban took his measure pretty quickly, and now they’re walking all over him. And us.

As for the desperate blame-shifting, much of it comes from the usual suspects in the mainstream media, but some of it is friendly fire. Take two of Donald Trump’s national security advisers, H.R. McMaster and John Bolton. McMaster said Pompeo signed a “capitulation agreement,” while Bolton cast a pox on both their houses, calling Trump and Biden “Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.” (If only the rest of us were as smart as John Bolton.)

Then there was Andy McCarthy, who showed us why the best prosecutors don’t necessarily make the best diplomats, especially when the guys on the other side of the table lie for a living and shoot women in the streets for showing their faces.

McCarthy makes some decent points in the abstract, but he fails to acknowledge that Job 1 for Pompeo was to end our 20-year engagement in Afghanistan, and Job 1A was to protect American lives and interests there while doing so. And there’s nothing to indicate that his agreement with the Taliban wasn’t working. Remember: We were at war for two decades with this ruthless and bloodthirsty adversary, and yet, as Pompeo points out, “For six months after the agreement was signed, we didn’t get a single American killed. We didn’t have a single Taliban attack on an American.”

Coincidence? We think not.

If McCarthy thinks all this talk of “forever wars” is just “nonsense,” and that this longest war in our nation’s history should stretch on a bit longer, he might try making that case to a room full of triple and quadruple amputees. He might tell them that open-ended nation-building, and not national defense, is what they signed up for.

Nation-building isn’t what a military is meant for, and it’s been a miserable failure for us so far this century.

As for Secretary Pompeo, in a recent interview, he rejected the charges that he and President Trump bear responsibility for the chaos in Afghanistan, calling it “nonsense on stilts.” Then he went on to explain why it’s nonsense.

Pompeo is a military man, having graduated first in his class at West Point. So he understands war and peace far better than most. He also understands his enemy, so he harbored no illusions about the Taliban keeping the two promises they made during their deal with the Trump administration: to engage in direct negotiations with the Afghan government, and to not harbor al-Qaida terrorists.

But knowing that the Taliban would renege on its promises, Pompeo was prepared. He said:

They broke the agreement a number of times: they moved forces where they weren’t supposed to move, they put certain elements of the Afghan forces at risk. And every time that happened, General Scotty Miller crushed them. We would call them and say, “You did X, we responded with Y, stop doing X.” And we modeled a deterrence mechanism that told the Taliban if you push the Americans under Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo, there’ll be an enormous price to pay.

Contrast that with the Biden team. They pushed on the Americans and we retreated. As they took outlying areas and pushed into provincial capitals, the American military wasn’t brought to bear.

More broadly, as Pompeo put it in an op-ed: “The disaster unfolding in Afghanistan has shown in stark terms the incompetence and weakness of the Biden administration. In a matter of days, the Taliban was allowed to take over the entire country. This feckless, poorly executed withdrawal is already calling into question American leadership from some of our closest allies [and] emboldening our enemies. … Biden’s incompetence has left Americans in harm’s way and is dishonoring those who serve and our country.”

This, then, is Joe Biden’s mess. Full stop. So even as he and his handlers and their media surrogates try to pin the blame on their predecessors, we should hold him to what he said last week: “I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me.”

Summing up the manmade disaster of Afghanistan, one CBS analyst embodied the mainstream media’s wonderment: “How did Joe Biden miss all the red flags?”

It’s simple, really, though none of these “experts” seems to see it: Joe Biden himself is the red flag — in Afghanistan and everywhere else.

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