Book Reveals President Biden Rejects Any Responsibility for Disastrous Afghanistan Withdrawal

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A new book by Politico’s Alexander Ward reveals that President Joe Biden felt no shame for his pivotal role in the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan at the beginning of his presidency. The withdrawal set the tone for President Biden’s descent in the polls, which saw a massive hit as 20 years of war ended in failure for Americans on live television.

President Biden’s legacy will likely be tied to his decision to abruptly pull troops from Afghanistan, leaving behind thousands of allies and hundreds of Americans. Ironically, the title of the book alludes to the Biden administration’s need to “rebuild” foreign policy after President Trump.

The Internationalists: The Fight to Restore Foreign Policy after Trump illustrates the sheer lack of accountability within the Biden administration and, if anything, explains how President Biden was a catalyst for the destruction of America’s credibility as an ally on the world stage. For a generation of veterans like myself, the withdrawal from Afghanistan is a moral stain on our country, one that Joe Biden and those in his administration should’ve been held to task for.

It starts at the top

A recurring leadership tenet taught while I was in the military was that those in your charge emulate you as the leader. Essentially, leading by example is what sets the tone for how the rest of the organization will run.

Suppose one is a leader of solid ethics and adherence to personal and organizational accountability. In that case, those throughout the chain of command will do the same.

In Alexander Ward’s book, he writes that after the Afghanistan withdrawal:

“…no one offered to resign, in large part because the president didn’t believe anyone had made a mistake.”

As I watched the withdrawal from Afghanistan before heading into work with my uniform on between tears, I wondered when the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and or the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would resign. After all, how could, at a minimum, those who had served as leaders stand by and watch the horror of our failed withdrawal without feeling a need to resign?

The answer was simple because their leader didn’t and still doesn’t believe in an environment of accountability. In Ward’s book, he explains:

“Biden told his top aides, (National Security Advisor Jake) Sullivan included, that he stood by them and they had done their best during a tough situation.”

Because as the book goes on to state:

“Ending the war was always going to be messy.”

The mess continues to expand over two years after the withdrawal.

Empty promises

On 18 August 2021, President Biden told ABC News that he was committed to American troops staying in Afghanistan until every U.S. citizen who wanted to leave the country could. Not only did this end up not being the case, but those in his administration knew at the time that it was a lie.

A senior White House official told Ward at the time:

“There’s no one here who thinks we can meet that promise.”

Did any of those White House officials who doubted President Biden’s promise advise the Commander-in-Chief of such? Or did they allow President Biden to make whatever claims he wanted to without care for the tactical reality on the ground?

Both scenarios are equally bad as either the President brushed off the warnings of his administration, knowingly lied to the American people, or is merely an empty vessel for those who actually run the country. In all, over 800 Americans were left behind.

To add insult to injury, two weeks ago, President Biden announced that Tracey Jacobson would be his nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Ms. Jacobson ran the failed Afghan ally visa program.

Under Ms. Jacobson’s tenure, tens of thousands of allied Afghans who had been promised refuge in the United States were abandoned, left to be hunted by the Taliban after the United States withdrew. Tracey Jacobson’s nomination is both continued evidence of President Biden’s lack of accountability for Afghanistan and his administration’s disastrous foreign policy strategy.

The fallout

The worst punctuation to the Afghanistan withdrawal came when 13 of America’s service members were murdered in Kabul by a suicide bomber. After their deaths, President Biden said:

“I am President of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me. I am deeply saddened by the facts we now face, but I do not regret my decision.”

Last month, the U.N. Security Council reported that Al-Qaeda has set up eight new training camps in Afghanistan and five new madrasas, which are schools that specialize in Islamic indoctrination. The report also lays out this chilling reality that Al-Qaeda:

“…maintains safe houses to facilitate the movement between Afghanistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran…”

Just as the Earth turns and the wheels of history move, what was once before is once again, with those whom veterans like myself fought against now facilitating our enemies in Iran who have ramped up attacks on American assets leading to the deaths of American service members. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report, the Biden administration left behind:

“…nearly $7.2 billion worth of aircraft, guns, vehicles, ammunition, and specialized equipment.”

Over the 20-year war in Afghanistan, over 2,400 service members lost their lives, and over 20,000 of us were wounded. The buck doesn’t stop with President Biden or his appointed advisors.

The hard truth is that there is no buck in the United States. The only people who are expected to shoulder the responsibility for the decisions made by the U.S. elected and appointed officials are the citizens themselves.

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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