Joe Biden Did This, Then Blamed Everybody Else

August 17th, 2021

It was the by-now standard Joe Biden Playbook: “Whatever happens, it is/was not my fault!”

Judith Miller, in City Journal, writes in

Passing the Buck. President Biden blames everyone but himself and his administration for the catastrophe in Afghanistan.”

Moreover, the Afghan forces did not collapse on tPassing the Buck. President Biden blames everyone but himself and his administration for the catastrophe in Afghanistan.heir own. Prior to President Trump’s strategically flawed deal with the Taliban, Afghan security forces and the Taliban had fought to a virtual military stalemate, said Ret. Army General Jack Keane. Neither could defeat the other. But the withdrawal of American air support and intelligence information regarding the disposition and strength of Taliban forces had severely affected the Afghan military, depressing Afghan capabilities and morale. So, too, did Biden’s closure of seven military bases in the height of the fighting season. “We pulled the plug and they collapsed,” said General Keane.

Biden’s speech glossed over his own administration’s gross misjudgment about the Taliban’s capabilities and intentions. “This did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden conceded almost in passing, his sole suggestion of culpability.

Biden’s speech underplayed the military advice he was given to maintain some 2,500 troops in the country to prevent a resurgence of al-Qaida under Taliban protection. And it wasn’t just the military offering such counsel. Earlier this year, the Afghan Study Group, a bipartisan, congressionally mandated panel co-chaired by former senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican of New Hampshire, and Joseph Dunford, a Marine and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged Biden not to adopt an inflexible timetable for complete withdrawal of U.S. forces but to tie the scope and pace of the withdrawal to whether the Taliban and other parties were honoring their commitments. The panel also warned that al-Qaida would regenerate if the Taliban took over.

On the other hand, this all did catch Joe Biden by surprise. He was on vacation!  Critics slam Biden’s long-weekend silence as Afghanistan falls to Taliban

On the other hand, after his Biden-centric speech, Ol’ Joe took “right off,” and back to his vacation! Biden resumes vacation after Afghanistan speech

While Biden Fiddled, Afghanistan Burned

August 17th, 2021

Battenfeld: Afghanistan debacle is permanent stain on Biden presidency

The humanitarian horror show unfolding in Afghanistan should be a permanent stain on President Biden’s leadership and could have devastating, long-lasting c Biden already looked weak even before the debacle in Afghanistan and now he looks incompetent, too — getting caught off guard with a botched attempt to withdraw U.S. forces and allies from the war-torn country. “The buck stops with me,” Biden said in a carefully watched speech after he rushed back from vacation at Camp David. But Biden then proceeded to blame previous administrations — including by implication his own under President Obama — for sending U.S. troops over the last two decades to fight in an unwinnable war

Naturally, the fall of Afghanistan was enabled by … Barack Obama.

Obama did all he could to make the swap seem noble: He said at the time that the recovery of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was “a reminder of America’s unwavering commitment to leave no man or woman in uniform behind on the battlefield,” and the five Taliban jihadis were sent to Qatar, where they would ostensibly be kept out of trouble. Seven years later, Bergdahl is known as a deserter, not a hero: In 2017, he pleaded guilty to desertion and was given a dishonorable discharge. And now Khairullah Khairkhwa, one of the jihadis Obama traded for Bergdahl, is among the Taliban leadership that just took Kabul.

Even the Taliban were surprised. From The Guardian:

The final collapse of the 20-year western mission to Afghanistan took only a single day as Taliban gunmen entered the capital, Kabul, on Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, and America abandoned its embassy in panic. Even the militants themselves were surprised by the speed of the takeover, co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar admitted in a video statement in the evening. Now the group faces the challenge of ruling, he added. They are expected to proclaim a new Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan soon.

Old Joe was, naturally on vacation as Afghanistan fell. Wall Street Journal: “Biden to Afghanistan: Drop Dead. Biden is defiant in blaming others for his Afghan debacle.” Politico: ‘Clearly botched’: Biden White House under assault on Afghanistan drawdown

President Joe Biden long touted his foreign policy credentials as a core asset he’d bring to the Oval Office. And once he was in the White House, he proudly proclaimed “America is back” on the world stage. Instead, chaos and confusion dominated his first major foreign policy decision — the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Far from bringing a return to stability as he promised, it has led to the sort of imagery he insisted would not take place on his watch: scenes of American diplomats fleeing the U.S. embassy by helicopter as the Taliban tightened their noose around Kabul. All day Sunday the White House fended off a firestorm of criticism — rushing Secretary of State Antony Blinken onto Sunday cable shows to attempt damage control. Then Blinken, Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin and Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley briefed Hill lawmakers, some of whom railed against what they called a lack of preparedness by the Biden administration.

BBC: “Afghanistan conflict: As Kabul falls, Biden backlash grows”

The lightning advance of the Taliban in retaking the country has led Afghan Americans, former generals and leading statesmen to blame President Joe Biden for a hasty US withdrawal. But he appears to have the public on his side – for now.

Hadia Essazada wept as she recounted the horror the Taliban visited on her household, first beating her father, and then killing her brother. “I don’t know how many days had passed when a shopkeeper in our neighbourhood came to my father to tell him his son was killed,” she said.

The first time “they were beating my father with an iron rod because they were looking for my elder brother”, who had fought to resist their rule in the 1990s, she told BBC Persian. They fled their house in the northern city of Mazar-I-Sharif, but “after six months when we returned to our home, Taliban again came to visit us. And they took my younger brother”.

“I don’t know how many days had passed when a shopkeeper in our neighbourhood came to my father to tell him his son was killed,” she said.
The Taliban had executed him and dragged his body through the streets. Relatives were not allowed to collect his body for burial for weeks, and by then, dogs had been allowed to desecrate the remains.

Others saw it differently. They saw a Biden determined to appear “resolute” while at the same time doing what Biden always does: blame everybody else!

Headline: “Joe Biden’s defeat will echo for eternity: Devine”

August 17th, 2021

CNN, lost in the woods for the past four years, finally came out of them.

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Blinken on Sunday why the Biden administration didn’t evacuate people before withdrawing the military.

It’s a question, said Tapper, “of how poorly this was done. The idea that President Biden ordered 2,500 service members out and now is sending up to 5,000 service members back in [to evacuate people left behind], does that not on its face show that the exit was inadequately planned?”

Blinken simply had no answer. He kept trying either to blame Trump or pretend that the only alternative to this self-inflicted debacle was a forever war.

How inane Biden’s conceit looks now, when he was wandering around the G-7 in June telling anyone who would listen that “America is back” and that he had single-handedly restored America’s global leadership and credibility after Trump had ruined it.

Blinken has “other” priorities. He has said so.

Blinken laid out Biden’s eight most urgent foreign policy priorities:

  • Ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Reviving the economy at home and abroad.
  • Renewing democracy.
  • Reforming immigration.
  • Rebuilding alliances
  • Tackling climate change.
  • Securing U.S. leadership in technology.
  • Confronting China.

Well, crushing a small nation, one of those “allies” he babbled about, and bungling that entire operation is, at least, a “rousing start!”

Biden’s First Big Test: Afghanistan, a Complete Fail

August 17th, 2021

It is very difficult to articulate a response to just how badly Joe Biden “handled” Afghanistan.

From his speech, July 8, we had no idea collapse would be so rapid, so complete.

When I announced our drawdown in April, I said we would be out by September, and we’re on track to meet that target.

Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st.  The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops as they depart.

Our military commanders advised me that once I made the decision to end the war, we needed to move swiftly to conduct the main elements of the drawdown.  And in this context, speed is safety.

And thanks to the way in which we have managed our withdrawal, no one — no one U.S. forces or any forces have — have been lost.  Conducting our drawdown differently would have certainly come with a increased risk of safety to our personnel.

To me, those risks were unacceptable.  And there was never any doubt that our military would perform this task efficiently and with the highest level of professionalism.  That’s what they do.  And the same is true of our NATO Allies and partners who have supported — we are supporting, and supporting us as well, as they conclude their retrograde.

Biden ignored everyone, everything.

Q    Mr. President, is the U.S. responsible for the deaths of Afghans after you leave the country?

Q    Mr. President, will you amplify that question, please?  Will you amplify your answer, please — why you don’t trust the Taliban?

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s a — it’s a silly question.  Do I trust the Taliban?  No.  But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more re- — more competent in terms of conducting war.

Time Magazine summed it up succinctly: “Joe Biden’s Botched Withdrawal Plunges Afghanistan Into Chaos.”

Newsweek: House GOP Resurfaces July Clip of Biden Denying Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan ‘Inevitable’

Washington Post: How wrong the Biden administration was about Afghanistan

Fox News: Biden’s Afghanistan prediction fails spectacularly, What Biden predicted would never come to pass happened 38 days later

The Atlantic: Biden’s Betrayal of Afghanistan will Live in Infamy

The Intercept: The Fall of Kabul: Joe Biden claimed “zero” parallels between U.S. withdrawals from Afghanistan and Vietnam. As the Taliban take Kabul, he’s proved wrong.

The Strategist: Biden’s Afghan blunder

The US effectively ended its military operations in Afghanistan on 1 July when it handed over to the Afghan government the sprawling Bagram airbase, which long served as the staging ground for US operations in the country. In fact, ‘handover’ is too generous a description. In a sign of what’s to come, US forces quietly slipped out of the base overnight after shutting off the electricity. The resulting security lapse allowed looters to scavenge the facilities before Afghan troops arrived and gained control.

Associated Press: Biden team surprised by rapid Taliban gains in Afghanistan

The Hill: Cheney: Biden ignored military commanders’ advice on Afghanistan

Taiwan sees the ramifications of Joe Biden.

Emboldened China Warns Taiwan: ‘The Island’s Defense Will Collapse’ and the ‘U.S. Military Won’t Come to Help’

Race in America

August 17th, 2021

From the Federalist, Chris Bedford.

Diversity Is Not Our Strength — And The Lie Is Deliberate

“In 2004, 74 percent of white Americans and 68 percent of black Americans told Gallup that race relations in America were good. This year, those numbers are 43 percent and 33 percent, respectively. It turns out that a decade and a half of relentlessly racializing every issue in American politics just made everyone feel less happy, less trusting, less like they are part of a unified American whole.”

South Africa, Unravelling?

July 12th, 2021

When minority White rule surrendered control of South Africa to the Socialist African National Congress, then under the benevolent cloak of Nelson Mandela, the future, the ANC promised, would be “promising.”

But not so fast. While Mandela was in office,

The ANC waged a bloody war against the Zulu Inkatha Freedom Party under Xhosa leader Nelson Mandela 1994, which cost around 20,000 lives.  ANC VS. INKATHA ANATOMY OF A SLAUGHTER

Now, after the jailing of a former president convicted of corruption, South Africa comes apart.

South Africa violence spreads to Johannesburg in wake of Zuma jailing.

JOHANNESBURG, July 11 (Reuters) – Shops were looted overnight, a section of highway was closed and stick-wielding protesters marched through Johannesburg on Sunday, as sporadic violence following the jailing of former South African President Jacob Zuma spread.

The unrest had mainly been concentrated in Zuma’s home province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), where he started serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court on Wednesday night. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday there was no justification for violence and that it was damaging efforts to rebuild the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Zuma’s sentencing and imprisonment have been seen as a test of the post-apartheid nation’s ability to enforce the law fairly – even against powerful politicians – 27 years after the African National Congress (ANC) ousted white minority rulers to usher in democracy. 

But his incarceration has angered Zuma’s supporters and exposed rifts within the ANC.

Castro Redux

July 12th, 2021

Cuba sees public “unrest” as the Revolution unravels.

Thousands of Cubans have joined the biggest protests for decades against the island’s Communist government.

They marched in cities including the capital Havana, shouting “freedom” and “down with the dictatorship”.

Cubans have been angered by the collapse of the economy, food shortages, high prices and the government’s handling of the pandemic.

The protests are significant, with government critics risking jail for dissent in the island.

“We are not afraid. We want change, we do not want any more dictatorship,” one protester in San Antonio told the BBC.

Images on social media showed what appeared to be security forces detaining and beating some of the protesters.

President Miguel Díaz-Canel is blaming the US for the turmoil, calling its tight sanctions on Cuba – which have been in place in various forms since 1962 – a “policy of economic suffocation”.

He said the protesters were mercenaries hired by the US to destabilise the country, and called for his supporters to go out and defend the revolution

From the BBC.

In other news from Cuba, the expected authoritarian response:

Cuba’s internet cutoff: A go-to tactic to suppress dissent


Cubans facing the country’s worst economic crisis in decades took to the streets over the weekend. In turn, authorities blocked social media sites in an apparent effort to stop the flow of information into, out of and within the beleaguered nation.

Restricting internet access has become a tried-and-true method of stifling dissent by authoritarian regimes around the world, alongside government-supported disinformation campaigns and propaganda. On the extreme side, regimes like China and North Korea exert tight control over what regular citizens can access online. Elsewhere, service blockages are more limited, often cutting off common social platforms around elections and times of mass protests.

After Joe Biden Sold Out Students, Now He Wants to Help Them

July 10th, 2021

Joe Biden promises to help students struggling with their student loan debt. The irony in that promise is found in the fact that Joe Biden was a strong advocate for precisely the problem that creates the hardship.

How Biden helped create the student debt problem he now promises to fix

Among his promises is that he will fix the student loan crisis saddling 45 million Americans with crippling debt now totaling a staggering $1.5tn. One idea is to allow people struggling to repay private student loans owed to banks and credit card companies to discharge them in bankruptcy.The pledge is one of the most striking policies on offer from Democratic candidates in the 2020 race, given how the problem Biden now proposes to resolve came about in the first place. Private student loans were largely stripped of bankruptcy protections in 2005 in a congressional move that had the devastating impact of tripling such debt over a decade and locking in millions of Americans to years of grueling repayments.

The Republican-led bill tightened the bankruptcy code, unleashing a huge giveaway to lenders at the expense of indebted student borrowers. At the time it faced vociferous opposition from 25 Democrats in the US Senate.

But it passed anyway, with 18 Democratic senators breaking ranks and casting their vote in favor of the bill. Of those 18, one politician stood out as an especially enthusiastic champion of the credit companies who, as it happens, had given him hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions – Joe Biden.

The Guardian, December 2, 2019.

When You’ve Lost CNN …

July 10th, 2021

From CNN: “The Worst Speech of Biden’s Presidency”

On Thursday President Joe Biden spoke in defense of his ill-considered, hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, in remarks peopled with straw men and littered with false assertions.

First, Biden contended that he was bound by a 2020 Trump administration agreement with the Taliban to withdraw all US troops by May 2021. But that was an agreement conducted by a previous administration – so it’s not binding – and it was predicated on the Taliban breaking with al-Qaeda.

They didn’t, according to the UN in a report released just last month. It was also predicated on the Taliban engaging with the Afghan government in real peace negations.

They haven’t. . . . Biden also claimed that Afghanistan has never been unified, an odd assertion when a united Afghanistan has existed since 1747, making it older than the United States.

When Smug People Have No Reason to Be

May 21st, 2019

Why High-Class People Get Away With Incompetence. “The researchers suggest that part of the answer involves what they call ‘overconfidence.’ In several experiments, they found that people who came from a higher social class were more likely to have an inflated sense of their skills — even when tests proved that they were average. This unmerited overconfidence, they found, was interpreted by strangers as competence.” Sharp-creased pants and a Harvard Law degree were enough to fool a lot of people.