by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
From 11:15 a.m., Thursday, August 12, to a little past 4 p.m., Monday, August 16, President Joe Biden did not appear in public. For a little more than four days, as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated and Americans witnessed the horrific sight of desperate Afghans clinging to planes and falling to their deaths, the president offered no explanation beyond a terse, released written statement and a photo of the president that neglected to crop out the teleconference screens labeled “CIA” and “Doha Station.”
When the president did finally speak, he read from a teleprompter for 20 minutes, took no questions, and barely acknowledged that he had assured Americans, at the beginning of July, that no part of this disaster would unfold this way. The lone admission was a vague, passive-voice, “this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” a strong nominee for the Disingenuous Public Relations Spin Hall of Fame.
Biden instead relitigated the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. He made no defense of how that withdrawal is proceeding, because in large part, it is indefensible.
Biden’s account of his decision-making acknowledged that the Taliban intimidated us — or perhaps more specifically, him — and that we sought no further conflict with them. …
… Biden announced to the world that he finds everything that we’re witnessing preferable to fighting the Taliban.
A little more than a month after Biden assured Americans that, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely,” the president had the audacity to claim that, “We were clear-eyed about the risks.”
As he made a decision that would leave almost every Afghan man, woman, and child to the tender mercies of the Taliban, and that would see public executions and forced “marriages” return, Biden had the nerve to claim that, “I have been clear that human rights must be the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery.”