“An Afghani interpreter I have come to know well over the years was hung in the streets last night. They melted his DoD ID into his chest. Cut off his arms. And killed his family. His 10 year old daughter was spared and handed off to leadership,” wrote Jon Lonsdale in a note to a friend yesterday.
Joe Biden addressed the United States late yesterday after the American press piled blame on him for the spectacular American surrender to the Taliban. To paraphrase Winston Churchill on Neville Chamberlain, our President was given the choice between a change in strategy and dishonor and he chose both and now defends both.
He said the buck stopped with him, then threw up enough straw men and blame to recreate several scenes from the Wizard of Oz. The buck stopped with Biden, but he could not shoulder it.
My national security team and I have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and moving quickly to execute the plans we had put in place to respond to every contingency, including the rapid collapse we’re seeing now.
This is the same “rapid collapse” his own administration said would not happen. They said so as recently as Friday. This is the same “rapid collapse” for which he is having to scramble additional soldiers to deal with because he did not expect it to happen.
After accepting that responsibility, he immediately blamed Donald Trump.
When I came into office, I inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban. Under his agreement, U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, just a little over three months after I took office. U.S. forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in country. And the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001.
The choice I had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season.
So it was Trump’s fault and Trump’s deal and Biden had to take it or else. Got that? Joe Biden could get out of everything Trump did, but not this? Now, it is the Afghanis’ fault.
Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight.
Notice there is no admission that the United States trained the Afghans to fight dependent on American air support and intelligence. In the past few weeks, we have taken that all from them along with the contractors who fixed their helicopters. Of course they collapsed. We designed them to collapse without us.
How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not? How many more lives, American lives, is it worth, how many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery? I’m clear on my answer: I will not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past. The mistake of staying and fighting indefinitely in a conflict that is not in the national interest of the United States, of doubling down on a civil war in a foreign country, of attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of U.S. forces. Those are the mistakes we cannot continue to repeat because we have significant vital interest in the world that we cannot afford to ignore.
Staying in perpetuity is not the issue. What is at issue is Joe Biden’s withdrawal on the timeline to coincide with 9/11. There was no reason for it. In the first quotation above, Biden says we would have to fight the Taliban “in the middle of the spring fighting season.”
What is that?
The fall is harvest time. The winter is rough in a rugged country. The Taliban have poppy fields to harvest before they bunker down for hard winters. Then they seed the fields in early spring. There is a fighting season in Afghanistan. The Biden Administration decided to orchestrate our withdrawal during the fighting season instead of waiting until the fall or winter when the Taliban could not sweep in.
Because of Joe Biden’s hubris, he alone chose to withdraw our soldiers at the worst possible time of year from a strategic standpoint. He ordered the military to cease helping the Afghan soldiers. Joe Biden did all of this, not Trump or Afghanistan’s leaders.
In fact, Joe Biden’s own military leadership advised him against withdrawing at this moment because it is the fighting season. Joe Biden ignored them. He rejected their advice.
The killing fields of Afghanistan are now flowing red with the blood of those who helped us. It could have been avoided. But Joe Biden is proud of what he did. With the speech done, he refused questions and went back to vacation.
Meanwhile, on MSNBC, the Taliban’s spokesman sat for an interview.