The laughter was so off-kilter it made you wonder if Joe Biden had taken leave of his senses during his mini-press conference Sunday.
Americans are trapped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. Our troops at Kabul airport are faced with an uncontrollable surge of people so desperate to escape they are dying in the crush. America has suffered its worst self-inflicted humiliation and the free world is less safe — all because of his dumb decisions.
And he laughs? A cold, inappropriate laugh, muscle memory deployed as a political weapon by a man operating on empty.
The first bout of hilarity came in response to a question from CBS News reporter Ed O’Keefe, one of four questions he allowed from a pre-approved list of reporters in the Roosevelt Room, seven days after the fall of Kabul.
Did he trust the Taliban? A swaggering, streetwise smile swept his face. I’m no chump, it said, after he and his congenitally naive national security team were taken for chumps by those Stone Age Islamists.
His derisive chuckles began when O’Keefe apologetically asked about a new CBS/YouGov poll which shows a majority of Americans disapprove of the way he has handled the Afghanistan exit, and “forgive me, I’m the messenger, no longer consider you to be competent, focused, or effective at the job.”
“I haven’t seen that poll,” said Biden, shaking his head with a half smirk.
“It’s out there,” said O’Keefe. “From CBS this morning.”
This led Biden to burst out laughing. What was funny? If the mirth was a face-saving performance, it was appallingly ill-judged.
He looked down at the cue cards he cannot survive without and began reciting: “Look, I had a basic decision to make.” He went on to reel off a raft of widely accepted reasons for ending the war. But this is not in dispute, as he well knows every time he slyly answers the question no one has asked.
The problem is the incompetence of the withdrawal, the premature closure of Bagram Air Base, placing our troops in an impossible position, needlessly endangering lives of American citizens and Afghan allies, and leaving billions of dollars of weaponry in the hands of our enemies.
“The evacuation of thousands of people from Kabul is going to be hard and painful no matter when it started,” he said. “It would have been true if we had started a month ago, or a month from now.”
This is pure gaslighting. Of course it would have made a difference if the evacuation had been done while the US military still held Bagram, before the Taliban took Kabul. Who is he kidding?
In April, he promised the withdrawal would be done “responsibly, deliberately, and safely.”
But it’s been utter chaos, and only effective in the last mad scramble due to the competence of troops on the ground.
Biden was full of self-congratulatory bluster and teleprompter statistics of how many people have been evacuated — 28,000, by our military as well as our NATO allies and civilian charters.
He hinted that the military finally has been authorized to go outside the airport to retrieve stranded Americans. But if that’s the case, it’s days after the UK and French and Germans started doing it. Why the delay?
He never said how many of the evacuees are Americans but was at pains to stress that planes from Kabul are not flying directly to the United States, and noncitizens would be thoroughly screened offshore before they come here.
The comments reflect public concern about the prospect of terrorists arriving on our shores in the crowd of unvetted refugees who have been airlifted out in the chaos.
But Biden just confirmed the administration has no idea who it is flying out, one of the many long-term consequences of botching the withdrawal.
The unfamiliar feeling of universal condemnation, more than anything, is what has had his team reeling. He has lost his air cover from left-wing media allies and now sits exposed to enemy fire.
Belatedly, he has realized he can’t hide away on vacation and hope that Americans won’t notice events half a world away.
Afghanistan is the one area where journalists weren’t willing to cover for him because most of them in the past 20 years have been to that godforsaken war zone and know the truth. The fact is that when you are in touch with reality, Biden’s fantasies and glib narratives are unacceptable, no matter how partisan you are.
He kept fantasizing at the podium Sunday, as if saying something grotesquely false will make it come true.
“History is going to record this was the logical, rational, right decision to make.”
No, history will record that he bungled the troop withdrawal, against all advice, and set in train a disaster that has echoes of the last disaster he had carriage for in the Middle East, when he was the VP in charge of withdrawing troops from Iraq, spawning ISIS and the Christian genocide.
No matter how he tries to shift the blame, he is responsible for the calamity in Kabul. Yet his lack of humility or reflection shows he is nothing better than a con man, trying one last time to shaft the American people.
He should have stuck to giving us updates on Tropical Storm Henri, the pretext for his address Sunday. Talking about downed cables and fallen trees is about the limit of his ability.
View original post