This Tuesday, a defiant President Joe Biden stood at a podium in the White House State Dining Room and delivered yet another address about Afghanistan without taking any questions. After the deaths last week of 13 U.S. service members in a suicide bomber attack at Kabul Airport’s Abbey Gate, after leaving Americans and American allies behind and after pulling all U.S. military out of Afghanistan, Biden called the operation an “extraordinary success.”
Jackie Gingrich Cushman writes a weekly human-interest column for Creators Syndicate that focuses on current events and political issues.
He does not have the same definition of success as I do. On the lead-up to this debacle, Biden promised that the Afghan military would hold, and then he promised there would be no airlift from the U.S. Embassy. Next, he vowed that we would leave no allies behind. Finally, he said we would leave no U.S. citizens behind. All of these are now broken promises. He is presiding over pandemonium. The Afghan military failed with stunning speed; helicopters were used to evacuate the embassy. We have left allies and U.S. citizens behind, as well as equipment and artillery, planes, trucks and helicopters that the Taliban are now using.
This week, we learned that, prior to the attack, we had had information about the suicide bomber who went on to kill 13 U.S. service members and more than 150 others. Politico’s Lara Seligman wrote an article published on Monday that was titled “Pentagon prepared for ‘mass casualty’ attack at Kabul Airport hours before explosion.” She attributed this information to senior officials within the Department of Defense.
“The transcript of these three conference calls, authenticated by a defense official, details conversations among the highest levels of Pentagon leadership. It makes clear that top officials were raising alarm bells and preparing for a potential attack that they had narrowed down to a handful of possible targets and a 24-48 hour time frame,” wrote Seligman. “Projections that ended up being deadly accurate.”
Biden went to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware this past Sunday to attend the dignified transfer of remains of the U.S. soldiers. He was seen checking his watch as the heroes were transferred. After the service, Biden met with the Gold Star families. Several of the families were unhappy with how the meeting unfolded. Biden compared the loss of his son Beau, who died in 2015 at the age 45 from a brain tumor, to their own loss.
Marine Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz, 20, was one of the fallen soldiers. His father, Mark Schmitz, told Sean Hannity on his show Monday night that Biden “talked a bit more about his own son than he did my son, and that didn’t sit well with me.”
The military debacle of the Afghanistan withdrawal has led almost 90 retired generals and admirals to issue a joint letter seeking the resignation of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. The letter stated that the military leaders “should have recommended against this dangerous withdrawal in the strongest possible terms.” Evidently, they did not view the operation as an extraordinary success.
They also pointed out that “there are leadership, training, and morale reasons for resignations. In interviews, congressional testimony, and public statements it has become clear that top leaders in our military are placing mandatory emphasis on PC ‘wokeness’ related training which is extremely divisive and harmful to unit cohesion, readiness, and war fighting capability.” They stated. “Our military exists to fight and win our Nation’s wars and that must be the sole focus of our top military leaders.”
At home, there are other problems. Inflation is up, the southern border apprehensions in July were over 220,000, (which is over 4 times the number of a year ago), crime is up, Hurricane Ida just swept through Louisiana and Mississippi, leaving millions of people without power, and forest fires are forcing people to flee their homes in the western United States. Everywhere you turn, there appears to be pandemonium.
What do the American people see from our president during this time of turmoil? Based on his loud voice during Tuesday’s speech, they see an angry man who does not understand how the country feels and who tries to reconnect with Americans by comparing their losses of loved ones through his administration’s failure to take the measures needed to protect our forces to the death of his son from brain cancer. Both are indeed tragic, but one of them could have been avoided. But Biden did not acknowledge his failure. Instead, he remained resolute, defiant and unwavering in his judgment that he is presiding over extraordinary success -- while all around him there is pandemonium.