It isn’t too often that almost everyone has the same opinion of a political situation. Anyone I talk to is of the opinion that the withdrawal from Afghanistan has been handled almost as poorly as it could have been.
It started with the declaration from President Joe Biden that the US would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11th, 2021. For those who don’t know, that is exactly 20 years after the 9/11 attacks that ultimately brought the US into the country in the first place. From a symbolic perspective, that is a tough look. Probably not a good idea to commemorate one of the biggest terrorist attacks in US history by setting that goal to get out of the country we invaded in response. The administration had 364 other days to choose from, but they just had to pick that one. Just tone deaf.
Also, giving a deadline just tells any opponents in the area that they just have to wait a few months and the biggest military in the world will no longer be there. Talk about giving away the farm. Any good coach would tell you, even if the other team knows what you’re doing, don’t go over to their sideline and just tell them. At least make them figure it out on their own.
Now let’s get to the withdrawal itself.
Not only did the Taliban take over Afghanistan in a matter of days after the US military was pulled out, but they ended up with an estimated $85 billion in US military equipment. Just for the record, with the inheritance of all that stuff, the Taliban are the 3rd most expensive military in the world.
There’s an old phrase that anyone that has ever been kicked out of a house knows; “Get your shit and get the hell out.” I guess nobody in the Biden administration has ever been fired or tossed by a girlfriend, because they skipped the most important part of that phrase. They forgot to take their shit. The pictures of Taliban soldiers standing with Blackhawk helicopters and US made rifles are infuriating. They even had the audacity to parody the famous raising of the US flag in Iwo Jima from World War 2.
What’s even worse than forgetting to take the world’s best military equipment and leaving to the Taliban, is the abandonment of the American citizens and those who helped the US in Afghanistan with no safe way out. Anyone with a brain that isn’t turning into mashed cauliflower, knows that you leave the military in a country that you have otherwise occupied until you get every US citizen out. Apparently, the Biden administration felt it was wise to go the other way. Needless to say, that didn’t work. As of this very moment, there is a group of California high school students still in Afghanistan. Why they were there in the first place, I’ll never know, but they shouldn’t have had US military escorts out. Instead, they’re stranded in the war zone.
Even earlier today, there were two explosions outside the Kabul airport that likely killed US citizens. This is a nightmare.
That being said, I have to give the Taliban one piece of credit. They know how to play the PR game. In the midst of them trampling all over women’s rights and killing people for not following religious laws, they are getting good press in the US for vowing to combat climate change. They are exploiting the bias in our country to distract from what they are really doing. But if we are being fair, killing a bunch of people would shrink their carbon footprint.
Now the question becomes, who gets the blame for all this?
We could get into a long, painfully drawn out debate about whether the US should have ever been in Afghanistan, but that isn’t the question. The blame here falls squarely on the shoulders of the Biden administration. For those who take this as a political statement, it isn’t. This is just a logistical failure. I hate to reduce it to that, but that’s truly what it is. It’s a gigantic logistical failure that cost $85 billion and probably thousands of lives. Any private business that had a logistical failure even a tenth as bad as this, would clean house of their leadership. From the CEO, all the way down to the janitor that was supposed to clean up after everyone left.
President Biden has to understand that as President, it falls on him. He can’t blame others and try to survive for another 3 years. The administration is already trying to blame those who are stranded in Afghanistan by saying that they are taking “those who want to leave” out of the country. Just so they know, nobody believes a word of that.
President Harry Truman famously said about the office of the Presidency, “the buck stops here.” Well, Joe Biden needs to know, the buck is at the door, and it’s about to stop right on top of him.