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“DON'T UNDERESTIMATE JOE'S ABILITY TO F--K THINGS UP." In his new interview with ABC News, President Joe Biden seemed amazed at the idea that Americans might have expected an orderly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, rather than the chaos that is going on day after day.
"You don't think this could have been handled -- this exit could have been handled better in any way, no mistakes?" asked interviewer George Stephanopoulos.
"No," said Biden. "I don't think it could have been handled in a way that -- we're gonna go back in hindsight and look -- but the idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens. I don't know how that happened."
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Biden's point: Of course there was going to be chaos. Everybody knew that. How could anyone have thought otherwise?
Perhaps Americans who are surprised and appalled by the chaos made the mistake of listening to the same Joe Biden, speaking on July 8 about his plan for the Afghan withdrawal. "Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st," he said that day. "The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops as they depart."
Later, Biden was asked if he saw "any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam." That was a reference to the chaotic days in 1975 when frantic U.S. officials loaded escaping Vietnamese onto helicopters that had landed on the roof of the American embassy in Saigon.
"None whatsoever," Biden answered. "Zero...There's going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States in Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable."
And then, that very scenario played out in Kabul. And Biden, 41 days later, said to ABC: "The idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens."
Meanwhile, the president's top general, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mark Milley, said he was surprised by how quickly things had gone to hell in Afghanistan. "The timeframe of a rapid collapse, that was widely estimated and ranged from weeks to months and even years following our departure," Milley told the press Wednesday. "There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days."
Not long after, the Babylon Bee published a story headlined, "Giant Hurricane Forms Over Washington From White House Spinning Afghanistan Story." It was only a slight exaggeration.
With the Afghanistan crisis, Biden and his team have combined incompetence with an inability, or a disinclination, to be straight with the American people about it. The situation calls to mind a story in Politico from almost exactly one year ago, August 14, 2020. The article sought to explain former President Barack Obama's reluctance to wholeheartedly support his former vice president's campaign. Obama, Politico reported, was sending out message after message for his fellow Democrats to be wary of Biden.
"Searing, anonymously sourced quotes kept appearing through the race," Politico reported. "One Democrat who spoke to Obama recalled the former president warning, 'Don't underestimate Joe's ability to f--k things up.'"
Now, with Afghanistan, Americans who did not already know are learning what Obama meant.
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Original Author: Byron York