President Joe Biden said during his remarks on Monday addressing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan that “I am President of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me.”
Before that he blamed everyone else.
“When I came into office, I inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban. Under his agreement, U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 — just a little over three months after I took office,” Biden said. “The choice I had to make, as your President, was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season.”
The Trump administration drew down troops from 15,500 to 2,500.
“There would have been no ceasefire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1. There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1,” Biden said. “There was only the cold reality of either following through on the agreement to withdraw our forces or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more American troops back into combat in Afghanistan, lurching into the third decade of conflict.”
“Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision. American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he added.
Biden did not have to follow through on what President Donald Trump planned, that was his prerogative.
Biden chose to pull out in a haphazard way.
Biden cited the U.S. equipping the Afghan Army and Air Force, but the U.S. trained an army that was dependant on technology, air support, and intelligence. The rug was pulled out from underneath them. Biden said we provided maintenance for their Air Force, but he pulled the contractors who would do that, now those planes sit grounded.
Those planes do little good if there is no one to fix them.
Agree or disagree with Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan, I think we can all agree that the way it was carried out was a disaster.
First, the U.S. should not give arbitrary deadlines (that is true for the Trump and Biden administrations). Second, why not execute an evacuation of American civilians and Afghan allies BEFORE any troops leave. Third, why leave during the “fighting season?”
There are a number of things that Biden could have done differently.
He owns that.