Two years after President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, he has Despite it assumes no responsibility.
But the guilt is undeniable, and not just because the money stays on his desk.
Biden literally set the dates for the withdrawal—he incredibly settled on 9/11 before being persuaded to an August 31 deadline.
And he has repeatedly defied his top military advisers about what to give up and when, by withdrawing US forces from Bagram base far too early (in the middle of the night!) to ensure the safety of Americans still in Kabul.
His team knew they were giving the country back to the Taliban, but for months before the pullout began to go awry, they blithely sided with the enemy would not advance immediately while the Americans – including civilians at Bagram who are vital to the Afghan Army’s air force – withdraw.
When the Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban invaded Kabul in late August, Biden supporters had no plan B.
The deep insight offered by Franklin Foer of The Atlantic, a normally pro-government outlet, reveals the President’s utter unhappiness.
After decades cuddle As a senator and then veep overseas, Biden considered himself a consummate foreign policy expert: “One adviser recalled him saying, ‘You foreign policy folks, you guys think this is all pretty complicated. ‘”But it’s just like family dynamics.” For Biden, diplomacy was like convincing an annoying uncle to stop drinking so much.”
He played Military Also ingenious: by ordering the withdrawal in the fall, he prepared him for the peak campaign season, when the Taliban were completely free to invade as the Afghan army disintegrated.
In fact, as Foer reports, “the Taliban leadership didn’t want to invade Kabul until after the Americans left.” But their soldiers had seized territory without firing a shot.” The troops went to the city’s gates — and then straight inside . “On their way, Afghan soldiers simply walked away from checkpoints. Taliban units kept drifting towards the Presidential Palace.”
Under orders from the White House, General Frank McKenzie didn’t have US troops available to control the city, so basically Washington had to do that questions The Taliban takeover shocked Taliban mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar: “Because he didn’t speak English, he wanted his adviser to confirm his understanding. “Are you saying he won’t attack us if we go in?” His aide told him he heard right.”
And in the last few chaotic days, Biden. . . micromanaged: “The President’s instinct was to delve into the finer points of troubleshooting. Why don’t we meet them in parking lots? Can’t we leave the airport and pick them up?— and obligated top advisers to “share Biden’s proposed solutions with peers to assess their plausibility, which was typically low.”
He even requested that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan focus on the pursuit Individually Cases: “Three buses carrying women at Kabul Serena Hotel kept encountering logistical obstacles. [Biden] said to Sullivan, “I want to know what’s happening to you.” I want to know when you’re going to get to the airport.’ Hearing these stories, the President was busy solving the practical challenge of getting people to the airport and planning routes around the city.”
Despite all of this, Biden couldn’t see the big picture: “Many of the comments struck him as overheated. He said to an aide: Either the press goes insane or I do.”
It wasn’t the press.
It was only meeting the families of deceased soldiers that seemed to wake him up: “Of all the moments in August, this was the one that made the President think. He asked press secretary Jen Psaki: Did I do something wrong? Maybe I should have handled it differently.”
Nevertheless, he calls the whole thing a great success.