Some critics of the President today are hoping to deflect attention away from their prior support of abandoning Afghanistan.
It has been a bit refreshing, to an extent, to see how much of the national press corps has been willing to come out and be critical of President Biden’s bungling of the Afghanistan withdrawal effort. Granted, his disastrous decisions have been followed by horrid optics and then the incompetent manner he and his spokesperson have elected to go on vacation during the crisis, as well as a finger-pointing speech yesterday when he ducked any direct questions — these have been unavoidably negative days that no journalist could really spin. Still, credit goes where it is earned.
However, many of those who have gone before the cameras or blasted the administration in print might be doing so in an effort to skirt their own culpability. This is the same media complex, after all, that has been in full support of the President prior to this weekend. Not only have his policies been burnished and his foibles dutifully ignored, we were told insistently how glorious this presidency would be in the wake of the demonic forebear we all endured. This means it is worthwhile to peer back a few months and see what the reaction was when Joe Biden telegraphed his intentions with Afghanistan.
It was in April when news came out that the President had met with his military advisors and announced his intention of having the U.S. military removed from the country where occupation had been in place for decades. As the Pentagon officials urged that an armed presence remain in-country until the Afghan forces could be trusted to defend themselves, Biden remained steadfast, and he declared a September 11 deadline be met for withdrawal. The press was enthralled with this stance by President Double Scoop.
At the New York Times, they enthused when the announcement was made, describing how Biden was asserting himself in the face of his advisers saying he should hold back.
In rejecting the Pentagon’s push to remain until Afghan security forces can assert themselves against the Taliban, Mr. Biden forcibly stamped his views on a policy he has long debated but never controlled. Now, after years of arguing against an extended American military presence in Afghanistan, the president is doing things his way, with the deadline set for the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
In a follow-up piece on the matter, there was no less marveling at Biden’s resolute position while seated behind the resolute desk.
Over two decades of war, the Pentagon had fended off the political instincts of elected leaders frustrated with the grind of Afghanistan. The current military leadership hoped it, too, could convince a new president to maintain at least a modest troop presence, trying to talk Mr. Biden into keeping a residual force and setting conditions on any withdrawal. But Mr. Biden refused to be persuaded.
At Politico, they were no less enthralled with his firm hand on the matter. The military spent more than a decade urging three different American presidents to stay in Afghanistan. With President Joe Biden’s decision this week to withdraw all U.S. forces by Sept. 11, they finally lost the battle. This was the cheering we saw in a piece entitled, How Biden’s team overrode the brass on Afghanistan – After two decades, troops have an end date on America’s longest war. But it took a White House ready to pull rank on the military.
Yesterday, Susan Glasser, from The New Yorker, posted the video clip of the troop transport carrier surrounded by desperate Afghans, describing the visuals as “images of National shame.” We might be able to interpret this as something of a confession, given that in April, we saw The New Yorker delivering what sounded like raves for Biden’s boldness on the Afghanistan matter.
Biden Finally Got To Say No to the Generals – Critics be damned, the President is ending the Forever War waged by Bush, Obama, and Trump in Afghanistan. The President seemed genuinely sick and tired of the endless pleas for just a little more time. “So when will it be the right moment to leave?” he said, pointedly summarizing the arguments that he had dismissed.
That praiseworthy screed was delivered by none other than Susan Glasser herself.
And just as effusive about the decision to ignore the advice of the military leadership was The Atlantic. Calling Biden’s dismissing of the guidance of his JCS advisors a “General Override” the magazine told us a version of the claim that the adults had returned to running the White House. After years of deferring to the uniformed military on major decisions, presidents are pushing back. Who lost the debate over when to leave Afghanistan? The military did.
Now, this same press complex is dismayed over the reality Biden’s bold decision has led to in Afghanistan. It was just barely into August when there was speculation over how much time it might take for the Taliban to take over the capital. 30 days? 90 days? Possibly the new year? That it took less than a week for it to fall is just another testament to how incorrect the press has been on this topic. Susan Glasser even had seen the possibility of this and then waved it off as mere speculation.
Will there be an iconic, helicopter-out-of-Saigon moment? (Answer: Not if the U.S. military can help it.)
That attempt last April was meant to diffuse the critics of Biden’s plan. We now see it for what it really was — a dose of wishcasting. Now there is another example of that practice. The press wishes that we do not notice they were behind this doomed plan of Biden’s from the time he announced it.