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Sorry, Joe, You’re Not Going to Gaslight the Nation on Afghanistan

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Team Biden must think the American people aren’t very bright. Despite the reality that they have almost completely botched the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, they are still trying to gaslight us into believing that what we are witnessing is nothing less than peak competence – a masterfully implemented process that will most assuredly not result in disastrous consequences for anyone involved.

In other words, the White House wants to make sure you don’t believe your lying eyes.

Politico published a piece on Tuesday in which it described the effort on the part of the Biden administration to persuade the press to give them credit for a successful evacuation effort. The author wrote:

Top Biden officials and administration allies have begun aggressively touting the success of their evacuation efforts in the war-torn country, offering frequent updates on the number of evacuees. They’ve framed the operation as historic — in line with the Berlin airlift — declared that they’re “over performing” their own metrics, and trumpeted the president as “defying expectations.”

The article notes that this new messaging approach is “a startling 180 from the defensive crouch Biden and his team occupied just days ago.” However, Philippe Reines, a former Hillary Clinton staffer in the State Department, insisted this is not a “shifting message” but “a change of circumstances.”

In other words, these folks want us to believe that the Biden administration has somehow turned this SNAFU around, and now, everything is going swimmingly. Reines argued that Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security advisor Jake Sullivan are working at “an incredible tempo” to resolve the problems associated with the withdrawal and evacuation effort. He said:

You’re not going home until 11, you’re getting up at 5. You’re dealing with a serious time difference. It’s a shock to the system, you don’t have a period to decompress and reflect for a period of time.

Reines appears to believe that America should give a standing ovation to the White House because its leaders are working desperately to rectify a problem they caused. It almost makes one wish they would put this same energy into the migrant crisis – another catastrophe brought to you by the Biden administration.

The Biden administration is touting their effort to transport as many people from the region as possible before the August 31 deadline arrives. The Taliban previously rejected calls for an extension of the deadline, calling it a “red line” and warning that keeping troops in the country after the end of the month would “provoke a reaction” from the terrorist group.

From Politico:

The White House’s new posture comes as U.S. personnel scramble to remove American citizens and Afghan officials before the last American troops are slated to leave the country on August 31. Over the past 10 days, Biden said on Tuesday, the United States had evacuated 70,700 people and more than 75,000 since July. All of this has taken place amidst confusion over the troop withdrawal deadline and reports of a blocked entryway to the Kabul airport following the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) also chimed in to run interference for the beleaguered White House. When answering a CNN reporter asking about whether the U.S. could evacuate 50,000 people in two weeks, he pointed out that “it didn’t take 2 weeks to evacuate 50,000. It took 10 days.”

Murphy also indicated that “it might be time for a bit of a reassessment by the media of this operation given the actual results.”

White House chief of staff Ron Klain has also been playing the dutiful representative of the administration, retweeting praise of the president’s efforts, including a tweet from MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who, with a straight face, call the fiasco “the best run evacuation from a war America lost.”

It’s worth noting that Murphy’s point about reassessing the coverage of the withdrawal in light of the “actual results” is an apt one. However, he might want to be careful what he wishes for.

While it seems that the evacuation efforts are on track, the story has not yet reached its conclusion. What the administration is doing right now does not constitute new results that should be lauded. The fact of the matter is that we will not know what the “actual results” are until after the August 31 deadline passes. At this point, we will know if this situation will be worse than Saigon.

The United States cannot possibly extricate every American civilian and Afghan ally before the deadline arrives. It’s a terrible truth, but people will be left behind, and these individuals will be in grave danger from the Taliban, whose operatives have been going door-to-door to find and capture people who assisted the U.S. military.

If the Taliban ends up taking American hostages and executing Afghan allies after the end of August, there will be no doubt that the president and his team deserve every last criticism that has been leveled against them. This won’t be a time to reassess how the administration should be treated on this issue; it will be a time to hold Team Biden accountable for their egregious ineffectiveness in handling the evacuation.

So, the administration can continue trying to gaslight the American public. The president’s plummeting approval rating demonstrates that nobody is falling for it.