Today Joe Biden, seeking damage control, was interviewed by Democratic Party loyalist George Stephanopoulos. I am not sure how long the interview was, or whether it is available online in its entirety; this is the longest excerpt I have seen. Biden says nothing went wrong with the withdrawal from Afghanistan that is now under way. Intelligence, planning, tactics–all perfect. Chaos was predestined, in his view, and he wouldn’t change a thing:
Stephanopoulos: “You don’t think this could’ve been handled…better in any way?”
Biden: “No, I don’t think it could’ve been handled in a way…The idea that somehow there was a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.”pic.twitter.com/A9TSFe0anL
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) August 18, 2021
George S. is apparently too loyal to his party to ask the obvious question: why didn’t you get the civilians out before stopping air support to the Afghan forces, closing Bagram Air Force Base, and starting to pull our soldiers out?
And, no doubt a certain amount of chaos in Afghanistan was inevitable following our pullout, no matter how well it was managed. But that chaos didn’t have to include thousands of American citizens desperately trying to fight their way through Taliban checkpoints to get to the Kabul airport. Nor did thousands of Afghans who helped our effort need to be left to the sadistic ravages of the Taliban.
If this is what Joe Biden considers a success, it is hard to imagine what a failure would look like.
UPDATE: Also, at one point Stephanopoulos starts to ask about the hundreds of Afghans packed into transport planes and photographed falling off of airplanes, and Biden interrupts, saying “That was four days ago, five days ago!”
It was a revealing moment, first because in fact, it was day before yesterday. And second, because the point is completely irrelevant. The airport fiasco will be evidence of Biden’s inept conduct of the withdrawal for many years to come. Two days or four, what is the difference? The brief exchange shows how sensitive Biden is to the video and photographic evidence that his management of the withdrawal has been a disaster.