Obama’s former defense secretary Bob Gates once said that then-Vice President Joe Biden had been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” If Biden’s track record was any indication, his disastrous handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan should come as no surprise.
The world has watched in horror as the Taliban captured district after district in Afghanistan and ultimately seized control of the capital, Kabul, under Biden’s watch. His decisions put our nation at risk and have disrespected the sacrifice of veterans in Pennsylvania and across the country.
Even worse, while the brutal Taliban captured the capital, Biden was nowhere to be found. As scenes of Afghans desperate to escape played out on the news – many going so far as to cling onto a United States aircraft as it prepared to take off — Biden remained preoccupied with his vacation at Camp David. Reporter requests were met with Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s out-of-office message, another visual of this administration’s failure to meet the moment.
On Monday, Biden had to be shamed into addressing the nation about the crisis. The American people heard from the Taliban before they heard from the President. In the end, his 18-minute break from vacation to address the situation was only used to deflect blame, run from questions, and retreat back into hiding. And as Afghan citizens begged and pleaded to be helped to safety in America, Biden went so far as to blame the Afghan people for their plight.
Even some Biden’s traditional media allies were befuddled by his complete lack of awareness and failed leadership. CNN’s Jake Tapper said, “This speech was full of finger pointing and blame…he did not really get into or accept any blame for the catastrophic exit that we have been watching on television in the last several days.”
ABC’s Terry Moran said, “He did not in any way accept responsibility for the catastrophe that’s unfolding in Kabul. And I think missed a moment to demonstrate the kind of leadership, to live up to that saying, ‘the buck stops here.’”
And while Biden’s more staunch allies tried to clean up the mess in the media, his administration’s incompetence undermined the effort. They could not account for how many Americans remain in Afghanistan, how they will bring them home, or even guarantee their safety to get to the airport in Kabul. The Taliban has seized U.S.-supplied helicopters, Humvees, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), drones, and even “anti-aircraft guns, armored tanks, and artillery.”
Make no mistake: this was not a tactical retreat. It was an abject surrender and a catastrophe of foreign policy.
As a proud American veteran, I am in utter disbelief at Biden’s abandonment of the Afghan people and his own citizens overseas. And I am astounded at his patently false claim that the “inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban.” The “deal” was not for U.S. armed forces to run away in the night, leaving a vacuum in which the Taliban could exact complete control over the Afghan people.
The blame falls squarely on Biden. He has handed over an entire nation to a tyrannical regime after decades of American sacrifice to avoid that very result. Our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen who have given so much for our country and the Afghan people deserve better.
Biden has once again failed the American people and our allies. His decisions dishonor those who have served and the thousands of troops he is sending back to Afghanistan. This surrender will go down in history as one of our nation’s biggest blunders and define Joe Biden’s presidency.
Stacy Garrity is the Treasurer for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a retired Army Reserve Colonel with decorated service on the battlefields of Iraq.