'Gaslighting': Joe Biden Defends Decision to Leave Afghanistan, Avoids Explaining Botched Withdrawal
President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Monday in the wake of the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan over the weekend, defending his decision to pull U.S. forces out of the country, but failing to explain the chaotic departure.
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said, claiming that his administration had “planned for every contingency,” including a sudden collapse of the country, though he noted: “The truth is this did unfold more quickly than we expected.”
The president did not explain why the administration had planned so poorly for the pullout, or for a Taliban takeover — an outcome he had described to reporters in July as “highly unlikely.” He did not admit having made any specific mistakes.
As he did on Saturday, Biden blamed President Donald Trump for negotiating the deal that led to the U.S. exit — failing to note that President Barack Obama began negotiations with the Taliban, and that Biden broke the deal to leave by May 1.
Biden also blamed the former government of Afghanistan, and the country’s military, bemoaning their lack to will to fight and claiming that the collapse of the state proved the wisdom of his decision to withdraw, since it could not last on its own.
The president did say that U.S. troops would execute a mission to extract U.S. citizens, vulnerable Afghans, and citizens of U.S. allies who were stranded in Afghanistan. He did not address the immediate humanitarian crisis at the Kabul airport.
Critics of Biden’s speech argued that he had missed the point, arguing about the decision to leave Afghanistan — which is broadly supported by many people in both political parties — and thereby setting up a “straw man,” in Obama’s style.
Biden’s performance now is so off the mark. Like Obama, Biden is creating a straw man. The issue isn’t why are we leaving Afghanistan. The issue is why did we botch so badly how we’re leaving Afghanistan.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) August 16, 2021
Republican Senate candidate — and Afghanistan combat veteran — Sean Parnell accused Biden of “gaslighting” the public:
.@JoeBiden is gaslighting America right now.
This is not a debate over whether or not we should leave Afghanistan. After 20 years, we should.
This is about his total disaster of a withdrawal.
He was asleep at the wheel & because of that Americans are trapped & people are dying.
— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) August 16, 2021
Biden left the East Room of the White House, where he had delivered his remarks, without taking reporters’ questions.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.