After These Remarks by Obama's Former Defense Secretary on Biden and Afghanistan, No Wonder Why There's Chaos

Posted: Aug 18, 2021 4:35 PM
After These Remarks by Obama's Former Defense Secretary on Biden and Afghanistan, No Wonder Why There's Chaos

Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Afghanistan is in chaos. We have at least 10,000 Americans trapped in the country. The Biden administration has no plan to get them out. We’ve redeployed thousands of troops to secure portions of Kabul to safely evacuate Americans and key Afghan allies from the country. The Taliban rolled into Kabul last weekend. Thousands have swarmed the airport desperate to flee. It’s absolute mayhem—and Biden is to blame.

I thought the adults were in the room. American leadership is back, they said. Nope. It’s hard to be a leader when you don’t care about the situation on the ground. Biden has long wanted to get out of Afghanistan. And yes, it’s time to go, but there’s a right way to leave. This is clown town. Throughout the summer, intelligence reports noted a rapid deterioration of conditions on the ground. Biden ignored it and he lied about it. The president has long had issues with the military. And he has been disengaged on the matter. Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who ran the Pentagon under Obama, admitted that about Biden (via WaPo) [emphasis mine]:

Biden said that as president he would restore calm order to the vast federal bureaucracy. He vowed to reaffirm America’s place in the world. He touted how he knew world leaders, how his deep foreign policy expertise would lend itself well to the world stage, making things right and helping to correct past wrongs.

But over the past few days, the images from Afghanistan have put on vivid display an inability to plan, an underestimation of a foreign adversary, an ineffective effort to scramble and make up for it — and, as Biden demonstrated in a brief address Monday, an attempt to deflect full responsibility.

Biden conceded that his administration was caught off guard by the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan and the ensuing chaos, and he declared that “the buck stops with me,” yet he used his remarks to cast blame in multiple directions for the bungled U.S. withdrawal.


Biden sought to focus largely on defending his overarching decision to withdraw from Afghanistan — a move that has been popular in public opinion polls. But the events of recent days are leading lawmakers and others to raise questions about whether the chaotic, and deadly, implementation of his decision reflects a failure by Biden at a critical moment to deliver the steady leadership and sound judgment he promised.


“He didn’t really spend much time on the issue that I think really concerns the American people, which is the execution of that decision. What went wrong and how it is going to be fixed?” said Leon E. Panetta, a longtime adviser to Democratic presidents who served as defense secretary under President Barack Obama. “It just struck me that they were crossing their fingers and hoping chaos would not result. And it doesn’t work that way.”

Panetta, who said he has been unsure what to tell the numerous contacts in Afghanistan calling him seeking a way out of the country, said, “Right now it just does not look like we have our act together.” He expressed surprise at the seeming lack of preparation.

“It’s not the Joe Biden that I often saw in the National Security Council raising questions about the planning involved in any decision that the president had to face,” he said. “He would be among those that would say, ‘Have we looked at all the consequences? Have we looked at all the possible land mines that we might have to face in implementing that decision?’ He was good at that. I assume he must have asked those questions. But it’s clear that, for whatever reason, those plans or strategies or precautions were not put in place.”

Yeah, that’s evident. Now, we’re in a position where we’re trusting a terror group to ensure safe passage of our citizens to the airport in Kabul. Maybe an orderly exit could have been made much smoother if we didn’t abandon Bagram Air Force base a month ago. Too late now as the Taliban took it over while releasing the 5,000 terrorists we had detained there.

And where is Joe? He gave remarks and then went back on vacation. Americans are being left behind, and he’s just meandering at Camp David. He couldn’t manage an exit and he sure can’t manage running the country. The man just wrecked the core tenets of his presidency in a week. You can’t just wing it, Joe.

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