President Joe Biden’s troubles began in 2021 when his ratings fell into the red and never fully recovered. Americans understood and did not forget the horrible images they had witnessed.
The Biden White House on Thursday “dumped” its review of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan., reports the editors at the WSJ, Americans, however, are unlikely to fall for 12 pages of narrative gaslighting. The buck for that episode stops with Joe Biden.
Mr. Biden’s “choices for how to execute a withdrawal from Afghanistan were severely constrained by conditions created” by Mr. Trump, the report says. President Trump “provided no plans” for conducting a final withdrawal even though the former President had agreed to leave under an ill-advised agreement with the Taliban.
Mr. Trump did want to pull troops out, and he probably would have, but Mr. Biden didn’t run for President to affirm Mr. Trump’s policies. Mr. Biden ran on being the adult in the White House, and he was under no obligation to oblige the Taliban, who had failed to honor their side of the deal with Mr. Trump. Many of Mr. Biden’s advisers tried to tell him as much, including U.S. military general officers and European allies, who preferred a residual force of a few thousand allied troops.
Where Did U.S. Troops Go?
The White House apologia contends that “the speed with which the Taliban took over” showed a few thousand troops were insufficient, conveniently omitting Mr. Biden’s decisions that accelerated the country’s descent into chaos. Mr. Biden pulled the air support and maintenance contracting Afghan troops relied on to fight, and then chided them as unwilling to sacrifice. Political constraints on troop numbers pushed the U.S. military to shut down the air field at Bagram Air Base, a “strategic unforced error,” as a Senate report last year called it. Afghan allies literally woke up one morning at Bagram to find U.S. troops had gone.
Even more alarming than its fake history, continues the WSJ, is the “White House’s inability to connect the dots between the U.S. surrender in Afghanistan and increasing world disorder.”
The U.S. is not more respected after surrendering to the Taliban, despite the heavy firepower the Administration deploys to make that case: “multiple opinion surveys.”
The report’s fable is that the U.S. has been freed up to focus on Russia and China: “It is hard to imagine” the U.S. “would have been able to lead the response to these challenges as successfully” if troops were still in Afghanistan. But the ugly, desperate scenes in Kabul communicated to the world that America was in retreat, and the consequences of that message include Saudi doubts that the U.S. is a reliable partner and increasing aggression from Beijing in the Taiwan Strait.
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