This New York Times article provides a detailed look at “how the US exit from Afghanistan unraveled, miscue by miscue.” The Times offers a sort of time line of the Biden administration’s erroneous thinking about its pullout and the awful planning (or lack thereof) that resulted.
The article confirms that Team Biden was clueless about the facts on the ground in Afghanistan and the fate of the Afghan government and military. To the extent it received half-way decent analysis, the administration ignored it.
Here’s the passage I want to call attention to:
A week later, on July 2, Biden, in an ebullient mood, gathered a small group of reporters to celebrate new jobs numbers that he said showed that his economic recovery plan was working. But all the questions he received were about news from Afghanistan that the United States had abandoned Bagram Airfield, with little to no notice to the Afghans.
“It’s a rational drawdown with our allies,” he insisted, “so there’s nothing unusual about it.”
But as the questions persisted, on Afghanistan rather than the economy, he grew visibly annoyed. He recalled Ghani’s visit and said, “I think they have the capacity to be able to sustain the government,” although he added that there would have to be negotiations with the Taliban.
Then, for the first time, he was pressed on what the administration would do to save Kabul if it came under direct attack. “I want to talk about happy things, man,” he said.
FDR is remembered for saying “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” JFK is remembered for saying “ask not what your country can do for you. . .” (what a quaint idea).
Let Joe Biden be remembered for saying, as Afghanistan descended into chaos, “I want to talk about happy things, man.”