Roughly 24 hours after our inept withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden finally addressed the country — nearly an hour after his scheduled start time, on a weekday afternoon with Congress not in session.
Like other recent speeches, the diatribe came across as a defiant victory lap, with Biden asserting “we were ready” for what happened, thanks to his administration’s contingency planning.
Astonishingly, the president did not take true accountability, other than saying his assumptions about our Afghan partners “turned out not to be accurate.”
A dubious talking point was the president’s accusation that those opposing his surrender want “forever war.” This nauseating cliché, spewed by the left and isolationist right, is easily debunked. Ironically, because of Biden’s failures, we are likely headed for more war, more troops, and a less secure homeland.
Biden has repeatedly said the buck stops with him, but again on Tuesday afternoon he instead blamed Americans for staying in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan government, its security forces, and former President Donald Trump.
This was a success and it's Trump's fault.
This was flawlessly handled and it's the Afghan military's fault.
We are gone and the terrorists just took over, and also we are also going to fight terrorists no matter where they are.
You buy the ticket, you take the ride, America.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 31, 2021
Toward the end of his 26 minutes on the dais, the president tried talking tough.
“For anyone who gets the wrong idea, let me say it clearly: to those who wish America harm, to those who engage in terrorism against us or our allies, the United States will never rest,” he claimed. “We will not forget. We’ll hunt you down to the end of the Earth and you will pay the ultimate price.”
Upon concluding, it looked like Biden might take questions. He paused, then returned to the podium, but only because he forgot his mask.
Even left-leaning media seemed to not buy the administration’s idea that Afghanistan and the Taliban are in the past, and we will now combat future threats elsewhere.
Biden saying Afghanistan was yesterday’s news, yesterday’s terror threat. That he’s guided by future threats. How can the taliban, who still deny bin laden was responsible for 9-11, controlling a country in the center of asia not constitute a current and future threat?
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 31, 2021
While getting over 100,000 out of Kabul is good news, that’s a credit to our capable troops, not a policy vindication. Most of Biden’s assurances — collapse of Afghan military, giving away Bagram Air Base, pulling out troops before our diplomats and civilians — have not come to fruition, to put it mildly.
Kabul’s population is also only 12% of the country — with Afghanistan being as large as Texas — and we’ve heard basically nothing about what’s occurring elsewhere.
“We turned over Afghanistan to a terrorist organizations that enabled 9/11. We already have a major ISIS cell, whose aspirations are conducting attacks outside the region. Al-Qaeda have regained their safe haven as a result of the Taliban taking over,” Gen. Jack Keane said on Fox News before the speech. “The president has severely handicapped us by not having people on the ground in a way that was effective in denying safe haven.”
The administration apparently hopes to win news cycles and turn the page from a humiliating defeat and return to domestic politics. But bribing the Taliban won’t win over the public, nor will ongoing “morally indefensible” decisions called out by fair-minded senators.
Biden National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan doesn't rule out giving aid directly to the Taliban. pic.twitter.com/3Y8WhL2GG2
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 31, 2021