In prepared remarks delivered from the White House, Monday Afternoon, Joe Biden focused on explaining why pulling out of Afghanistan was the right thing to do, rather than addressing why the administration’s plan was so poorly executed.
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” he said, referring to President Trump’s decision to exit Afghanistan. “The truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
Biden cast blame on his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, arguing that his administration’s hands were tied by the plan Trump set in motion last year.
He also repeatedly excoriated Afghanistan’s elected leaders and military for not putting up more of a fight against the Taliban. He said that they in essence squandered the time and money America spent to build up its security forces.
“We gave them every tool they could need,” he said. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future. [What] we could not provide them, was the will to fight for that future.”
Biden even said that it was “wrong” to put Americans in harm’s way to do a job that Afghanistan wouldn’t do itself, and positioned himself as being a leader who was willing to make the difficult call to leave Afghanistan that a generation of Washington officials were incapable of doing. He added that the United States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance and try to exert soft-power influence to improve the conditions on the ground.
Biden also blamed our Afghan allies for their dire predicament, claiming they didn’t want to leave earlier because they still had hope for their country.
“I know there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghan civilians sooner,” he said. “Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier, still hopeful for their country. And part of it is because the Afghan government, and its supporters, discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, a crisis of confidence.”
Biden left without taking a single question, and returned to his Camp David respite.
“Biden’s speech is one of the most dishonest straw man arguments in history,” responded former Trump advisor Stephen Miller on Twitter. “He debated reasons for exiting Afghanistan. Not many dispute we should end war. This is about the unimaginable, inconceivable incompetence of Biden’s exit plan & the global humiliation it has wrought.”
Miller added that Trump’s exit plan would not have resulted in the sacking of the American Embassy in Kabul.
“I must also reiterate that Biden abandoned & rejected the Trump peace plan. Under Trump, there was zero chance our flag would not by flying right now over the American Embassy, our staff working safely inside. Biden cannot escape his own malfeasance, ineptitude & incapacity.”
I must also reiterate that Biden abandoned & rejected the Trump peace plan. Under Trump, there was zero chance our flag would not by flying right now over the American Embassy, our staff working safely inside.
Biden cannot escape his own malfeasance, ineptitude & incapacity.2/2
— Stephen Miller (@StephenM) August 16, 2021
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell also blasted the speech for ignoring the dire situation unfolding in the war-torn country.
Biden is giving a speech that totally ignores the situation unfolding.
He’s not briefed up.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 16, 2021
Thousands of U.S. citizens are still trapped in the war-torn country, The Washington Post’s Josh Rogan reported.
Thousands of U.S. citizens are trapped in Kabul with no ability to get to the airport. As Taliban soldiers go door to door, searching for Westerners, these U.S. citizens are now reaching out to Washington for help. https://t.co/0DfEcbrPyt
— Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) August 16, 2021
I am getting reports from multiple, credible sources with direct knowledge that American contractors are stuck and holed up all over Kabul. The advance was so quick the Taliban overran the city before they could get to safety. They’re trying to figure out what to do.
— Alex Plitsas 🇺🇸 (@alexplitsas) August 16, 2021
According to a new poll, a majority of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan.
The poll, conducted by The Trafalgar Group, found that 69 percent of polled Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, with only 23 percent approving.
As former President Trump said in a brief statement following Biden’s remarks: “It’s not that we left Afghanistan. It’s the grossly incompetent way we left!”