Washington, D.C. — Joe Biden’s presentation concerning Afghanistan was a gross distortion of the facts, in that he US suffered no losses over the past 18 months. The choice was between more of that and squandering everything US forces in Afghanistan accomplished over the past twenty years.
This brings us to the intelligence community. Based on intelligence reports, vice president Biden and General Mark Milley have said since April that there is little reason for concern over a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the event of a US withdrawal. Even as one provincial capital after another fell to the Taliban, Biden and his advisers insisted it would take a long time for the Taliban to reach Kabul. And on Monday, after the Taliban had taken Kabul after the Afghan president and the US ambassador had fled the city, Biden claimed that the Taliban’s takeover “did unfold more quickly than we had expected.” I am starting to see a trend.
CBS News reported that US intelligence officials have made clear to Biden that the Afghan army and government would collapse if he withdrew US troops as he intends, and the Taliban would retake control of the country quickly; the regional military commanders similarly warned this would happen as well.
The most notable aspect of the fiasco in Afghanistan is that to a large degree, Biden is its sole author.
He was warned of the consequences. He chose to disregard the warnings.
His party didn’t demand the pullout. The Washington establishment opposed it.
Biden took his own counsel. This was his policy.
If Biden had been right, he would rightly be the toast of the town right now. But reality is a harsh judge. And as his judgment did not appear to be reasoned or fact-based, Biden was catastrophically wrong. Which was also eminently predictable
The Taliban have seized US aircraft abandoned at Bagram Air Base. Milley acknowledged that the terror threat to the US has grown since the US pullout; thanks, that was money well spent. And thanks to Biden, the US southern border with Mexico remains open to all. Forces of jihad worldwide have received an unprecedented backwind from the US defeat. Hamas, Iran and others hurried to embrace the Taliban.
Biden’s policy also gave emboldened US superpower rivals China and Russia, who responded to America’s humiliation by bringing Iran into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
US allies are furious and alarmed as they see the collapse of US credibility and strategic rationality.
And this brings us to Bennett’s meeting with Biden today.
Biden’s decision to stick to his guns on Afghanistan shows that once he has made up his mind about something, Biden is unwilling to listen to counterarguments, with the only other major position that he held consistently over the years being his position on Iran.
Even when, for 15 years Biden was an outspoken critic of the war in Afghanistan and demanded a swift US withdrawal, since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, Biden has been among the regime’s most vocal supporters in Washington. Biden’s policy toward the ayatollahs in Tehran has been appeasement for the past 42 years.
Biden called on the Bush administration to give Iran $100 million in foreign aid following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 while he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
It was reported that ahead of Bennett’s visit with Biden, government officials are hoping to convince him that (given the failure of the nuclear talks in Vienna), the time has come for the US and Israel to jointly attack Iran’s nuclear installations. If Biden weren’t impermeable to reason, Israel’s argument might have had a shot. We have precedent: in 1983, Ronald Reagan responded to the Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut by invading Grenada.
But Biden showed on Monday in an interview with ABCs George Stephanopoulos Wednesday that he will not rethink his choices or positions, even after they failed. As Biden rejects all criticism of his personal failure in Afghanistan, there is effectively zero chance he will reconsider his policy of 42 years on Iran. In addition, unlike his policy on Afghanistan, the US intelligence community, military, and the Democratic Party now support his Iran policy.
Whether Bennett would be better off postponing the trip until the smoke begins to settle remains to be seen. But what is clear enough is that with Iran sprinting toward the nuclear finish line, and US credibility in a state of unprecedented collapse, if Israel wants to prevent Iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities, Ol’ Joe is not likely to have their back.
And as I have told folks on numerous times: once our hand quits supporting Israel’s’ rump, we also have to take our hands off of their collar. We can stop supporting them, and then expect them to take orders from us.
And I suspect this is about to be one vicious dogfight.
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