Opinion: Biden needs to admit failures on Afghanistan

By James Carafano | The Daily Signal

Before President Joe Biden addressed the nation on the crisis in Afghanistan, someone should have reminded him of the adage “When you are in a deep hole, stop digging.” Because on top of his strategic failures in Afghanistan, he has now made a massive political misjudgment.

Here is the problem with a White House rebuttal that just blames anybody other than Biden for the collapse in Afghanistan: Every claim can be fact-checked. Military and intelligence leaders can be asked to testify. Documents can be reviewed. None of this will make the administration or Biden’s abrupt and irresponsible decision look good.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden

Remember when certain politicians found out that just blaming President George W. Bush for 9/11 and believing Michael Moore’s documentary didn’t work so well after the Sept. 11 commission started calling witnesses and showing there was plenty of blame to go around for both Republicans and Democrats? Likewise, the Biden team will discover that truth finds a way, and a cover-up won’t cut it.

Biden’s speech was a categorical disaster. His remarks were the equivalent of President Ronald Reagan claiming that Iran-Contra never happened. Of course, Reagan didn’t do that. He took responsibility. He fired people. He tried to be as transparent as possible and to cooperate with the subsequent investigation. He structured the crisis so he could move on and govern.

By denying responsibility, Biden solidly made his decision-making the issue. He will have to live with the tsunami of inquiry that will follow.

Now that Biden has put himself in the crosshairs, he doesn’t have a lot of options. He can’t easily shift responsibility and fire people or have them resign. Anyone he tries to throw under the bus might well turn and point out the obvious—it was the president’s call to run away, not theirs.

Biden will have to keep the team members he has. That’s also a problem because they’re terrible. This is not like the Jimmy Carter presidency, where inexperienced advisers made rookie mistakes. This is an experienced team of Obama veterans.

Unfortunately, they are making the exact same kinds of missteps they made under President Barack Obama, ignoring risks, underestimating enemies, and being unprepared for the whirlwind that followed. The crisis mismanagement we are seeing play out in real time today looks like an instant replay of Iraq, Syria, and Libya—where we got ISIS, a genocide, and a dead ambassador as payback for bad calls by the White House.

Sure, Biden can now go back to his vacation, but the nightmare scenario will be waiting when he returns to the Oval Office. The failure in Afghanistan won’t look any better then. He will face massive political blowback. And he will have a demoralized, defeated team that doesn’t know how to turn defeat into victory.

This is fixable. Biden could admit he screwed up and immediately commit to fixing his failures. He could start by dealing with the very real possibility of a near-term resurgence of transnational terrorism. There are demonstrable steps he can take right now to show he is getting ahead of the next 9/11—like instead of demonizing Trump supporters, have the Homeland Security Department focus on its real job of hunting real terrorists.

Unfortunately, the odds of a Biden presidency opting to fix problems instead of just shifting blame and dodging responsibility are pretty low. Months after making disastrous decisions triggering the worst border crisis in modern history, the Biden team is still in denial. The president has still not fixed that problem. In fact, the Oval Office has simply been a bystander while the border problem gets bigger.

The White House may have thought abandoning Afghanistan was low-risk. Biden may have thought Americans didn’t care — but he forgot that Americans also don’t like to be lied to. They don’t like to be humiliated. They don’t like to have their safety and security jeopardized.

Maybe they didn’t care before Biden’s folly, but they care now. If Biden does not address their concerns and deliver real fixes to the real mayhem he has created, they may conclude he’s just not up to the job.

James Jay Carafano, a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, is The Heritage Foundation’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, E. W. Richardson fellow, and director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

Images courtesy of The White House and Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
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11 thoughts on “Opinion: Biden needs to admit failures on Afghanistan

  1. It was fully expected a congenital liar swamp creature for the last 40+ yr’s would continue lying…
    He chose just before 9/11 for a pull out deadline to give the Islamist another victory over the US as instructed by his puppeteer obama/soros. The applesauce brain joke xiden isn’t competent enough to come up with any plan other then what pudding or ice cream cone he’ll get tonight..
    In his short insertion into the White House he has 1. killed off our energy independence 2. opened our borders to 10’s of thousands a month from all over the world with every variant of the chynaflu and spread them across the country. 3. he has caused massive inflation with his spend what we don’t have agenda. 4. has now lost the respect of the US by virtually every country except his commie bud Xi.
    And for the fools who did vote this potato head in for his “won’t tax below 100k” lie how do you like your 4-5 buck a gal gas? how do you like your grocery store weekly bill? how do you like trying to find a house or apartment or used car? has solidly divided the American people contrary to what RINO scott told us. any defending this regime have a unattainable task as he will never produce good results..

  2. Remember the many times Donald Trump said he wouldn’t’ ever tell our enemies what our plans are? Joe Biden should have taken this advice. Here’s how I see this withdrawal played out. Please correct me if I got this wrong.
    The Biden administration told the world when we were pulling out. The Taliban prepared by mobilizing forces and moving them strategically to strike when we left. We pulled out and they moved in. They were given the info and prepared. We gave the info and didn’t. How can the most technologically advanced defense and intelligence organizations in history be out-prepared by cave dwellers?

    • Actually Bill, President Trump did sign an agreement with the Tailban to remove all Americans from that country by May 1, 2021. That deal basically gave the country away in exchange for no more attacks on Americans in that country while our withdrawal took place and involved, as a good faith gesture, releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners.

      Biden when he took office kept to the deal made by President Trump but extended the deadline for complete withdrawal until Septemeber 11. The blame for this foreign policy fiasco is in reality shared by four presidents who never clearly defined the mission and its limits. Both Trump and Biden realized a open ended draining committment to a country in which corruption was rampant was unsustainable and sought to end American involvement.

      Could it have been ended better? Clearly yes. However, war is always unpredictable and generals and politicians often chose to go with the more rosy than pessimistic assessments of situations. While there is more than enough blame to spread around, (and the Biden Administration deserves its share and as President Biden himself said the buck stops with him), the real question is what lessons can be learned from this type of intervention and why we have not learned them many years ago.

  3. You can thank each of the Republican Senators who voted to ratify election results they knew to be illegitimate and unconstitutional.

  4. This is what happens when you have an Illegitimate administration and a feckless
    senile puppet as a leader hell, he’s more like a puppy on a leash ……….how pathetic.

    Let’s see billions of dollars in armament and thousands of US citizens all left behind
    why, for an agenda to make this the fault of another, and now send in more troops to
    clean up your mess……….. the blood will be on Biden’s hands.

    Pay your taxes and adopt the foolish $3.5T ” infrastructure ” bill, it’s only more money
    your kids & grandkids will be paying off under a socialist administration, DemocRATs
    don’t care, it’s all about power and keeping it ………..2022 can’t come soon enough !!

    Common sense is non-existent only agenda, agenda, agenda under this senile old fools
    admin, people ” 80 million ” voted for this inept clown………sure they did.

    Elections have consequences, you’re seeing it first hand !!

  5. People like you use anything to demean Biden and this is just another example. President Bush screwed up in Afganistan, Obama screwed up in Afganistan, Trump screwed up in Afganistan. Now Biden is trying to complete Trumps illogical and unmanageable agreement and you folks Now want to make Afganistan his failure. I know you won’t stop using anything you can to discredit Biden, but at least a few folks can call BS when you do.

    • You have used every opportunity you could to discredit President Trump, what’s the difference? Joe Biden would screw up a one car funeral!

      • The difference is that I am not posting supercilious arguments to advance a political stance. I am replying to those unfair and illogical arguments. While I understand that nothing I can say will change the authors point of view (and, presumably, yours) at least I can be a small voice for those of us that understand that what we just read is politically motivated and is, simply put, BS.

        • Well Gary, that’s an assumption from you that anything you write has no political motivation. The fact is that Joe Biden is not running this countries government because he is not mentally capable due to his cognitive loss. He’s not new on the block and has been wrong on every foreign policy decision he’s supported for 48 years in government. The blame game stops at the current occupant’s desk. Trying to pin it on others is just smoke and mirrors and your political petty coat is showing. This is a disaster that should never of happened the way it did. Joe Biden’s handlers stole this election and he is their patsy.

  6. collosal!

    First send military home!!
    Only then – Then tell American Citizens and Afghani supporters -sneak past Taliban – good luck
    getting out of Afganistan – however, whenever, whatever – maybe with your skin intact

    Brain dead AND evil intent Should I use Nicer words?”

  7. What happens if the Snifter resigns? We get kackling Kamala? If she goes what’s left? The super star from the communist country of California. Good God, will Nov. 22 hurry up and get here.

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