What exactly does Joe Biden mean that “we’ve turned the page” on Afghanistan, as he declared at the UN General Assembly this morning? For that matter, what does it mean when Biden claims that his appearance marks the first presidential address to the UNGA “in 20 years with the United States not at war”? Our troops conducting counter-terrorism operations in places like Syria, Yemen, and parts of Africa must be scratching their heads over that claim.
If we have turned a page on Afghanistan, it’s only to return to the page of September 2001, thanks to the resurgence of the Taliban in the vacuum of Biden’s catastrophic retreat. That’s apparently what Biden wanted, as this “mission accomplished” declaration suggests:
Joe Biden stranded hundreds of Americans in Afghanistan during his botched withdrawal.
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) September 21, 2021
What do you mean by ‘we,’ kemosabe? There are hundreds of American citizens that got abandoned by Biden in his rush to pull the military out of Afghanistan, and perhaps thousands of green-card holders traveling under American protection. That doesn’t account for the tens of thousands of Afghans who assisted us over those twenty years and who are at an even higher risk of retribution from the Taliban. Biden didn’t “turn a page” in Afghanistan — he turned his back on these Americans and Afghan allies. That’s not a we even in the royal sense, except to the extent that it includes the Pentagon and State Department leadership that participated in this historic disgrace.
The idea that we’ve turned a page from this humiliation is entirely fanciful to the point of utter fantasy. The Taliban’s not the only group looking for Americans and our allies left behind by Biden. When they start grabbing them and creating hostage videos (or worse), this claim will look even more ridiculous than it does now. Even if we exfiltrate most or all of them out of Afghanistan, they’re not likely to stay silent for long over Biden’s abandonment.
Those stories are already coming out of Afghanistan, even if the national media is giving them the Hunter-laptop treatment so far. Jim Geraghty relates what “turning the page” looks like to Americans stuck in Kabul and other Taliban-controlled areas:
Another one of Samaritan’s guys fled to Jalalabad, about 75 miles east of Kabul, with his family, to his parents’ home, concluding that Kabul had grown too dangerous. “Of course, over the weekend there were six bombings in Jalalabad (ISIS-K attacking Taliban fighters because the Taliban is too lenient). I asked him if he was safe.”
Samaritan showed me the text message: “Good evening sir. No place is safe. I am totally confused what to do and where to go. If I go to Kabul, I think someone can easily hunt us.”
Samaritan also sent me a recording of the phone message from the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, you receive a recorded message: “The consular section does not accept phone inquiries about non-immigrants, or immigrant visa cases, or policies. Inquiries are accepted through our web site. You can access our web site at Islamabad.usembassy.gov. We will repeat this address again at the end of this message. On our web site’s home page, click on visas and then select contact information’ on the drop-down menu.”
The problem is, there is nothing at the address, “Islamabad.usembassy.gov.” The web address for the U.S. embassy in Pakistan is https://pk.usembassy.gov/.
The Biden administration can’t even turn a web page correctly, let alone a 20-year war page.
Here’s the whole speech, with NBC’s commentary afterward. The only notable points are that Biden did a decent job of delivering what Chuck Todd notes was a rather mundane address otherwise, and Biden’s reminder that he wants back into the Iran deal. Other than Biden’s callous disregard for the Americans he abandoned in this “mission accomplished” moment, there’s not much else worth watching … but YMMV.