Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Biden doesn't deserve all the blame

| September 30, 2021 12:00 AM

A recent letter to the editor essentially accuses the Biden administration of being plagued by “…stupidity… that has no known cure…”. Such an approach unfortunately parrots the unwarranted superficial attacks that all too often appear on some news channels and social media platforms.

Trump and Pompeo made a deal. Had we not left, the agreed upon respite might well have ended and our kids would have been in the Taliban cross-hairs once again. Trump bragged in June of 2020 that he’d made a deal that the Democrats could not reverse. His administration pulled out 15,000 troops or so, admittedly leaving Biden with only 2,500 when Biden took office.

Why didn’t the Trump administration evacuate when more forces were still present rather than leaving Biden with such a small force for a task so daunting in a country that has defeated major empires over time. And why did his administration slow down the visa process? Was he too busy engaging in other divisive pursuits?

The surrender of the Afghan army no doubt caused a loss of our weaponry. You can’t blame this on Biden.

John Bolton himself said on a weekend talk show that Trump had broken the will of the Afghan army by negotiating directly with the Taliban, inviting their terrorist leaders to Washington and Camp David and, remarkably, leaving the Afghan government out of the negotiations. And when we left were we supposed to request that the Afghan army return our weaponry?.

Pompeo admitted on Fox News that he and Trump had negotiated the release of some 5,000 prisoners including, Taliban terrorists. How many of those released from prison under the Trump/Pompeo deal with the Taliban increased the risk to our kids and helped to plot the attack at the airport which no doubt prejudiced our efforts to evacuate more of the vulnerable.

And as Biden mentioned in his address to the nation, his administration reached out 19 times since March telling the vulnerable to leave, which of course none of the critics want to acknowledge.

Naysaying Monday morning quarterbacks claim for example that we should have maintained control of Kabul. With only 2,500 troops or so left when Biden took office, how could this possibly have been done? And what about other parts of the country from which extractions were needed? And could anyone legitimately argue that we should have brought more legions in to accomplish such a task with the Taliban having already achieved very substantial gains because of our ongoing withdrawal program.

The naysayers argue that we should have kept Bahrain airbase open and used it. But it was 60 kilometers or so from Kabul. How do you secure all the overland routes to that airport? How many improvised explosive devices and snipers might have killed our kids had we attempted to do so?

The naysayers argue we should have stayed even longer beyond Trump/Pompeo negotiated deadlines. Had we done so, how many more kids would have been killed if the Taliban had begun to lose patience and started slaughtering our people again? And they say Biden broke a promise by leaving before getting everyone out, but circumstances change. How could he in good faith delay with our kids at risk from terrorists and with existent prospects of our planes perhaps being shot down with RPGs?

In reality Biden was dammed if he did and dammed if he didn’t. And no one can deny that it was a remarkable feat to get so many out so quickly with the unprecedented airlift. Our country will strive to get more people out as it should, rather than seemingly leaving them to be displaced and slaughtered without making any effort to help them as occurred with the Kurds under the Trump administration.

No one can say that it is easy to achieve perfection in extracting forces from a 20 year misadventure and questions certainly remain to be answered. However there can be no doubt that attempting to put all the blame on Biden is another mistake.

— D.D. Hughmanick, Polson