Despite these mistakes, Biden said the US evacuation of more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan was an “extraordinary success”.
Biden spent no time on sticking to his own broken promises – including a vow to evacuate any U.S. citizen who wanted to leave – and instead delivered a defiant speech to end America’s longest war by his handling of the outcome defended and pointed to “corruption and” misconduct ”in the Afghan government, which had supported the US for far too long, criticized its critics for playing down the costs of the armed conflict and argued that the country had to wage the“ war against the Overcoming Terror “.
“This decision on Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of great military operations to recreate other countries, ”said Biden. He didn’t take any questions.
Biden’s remarks were the latest example of the president digging his heels into Afghanistan in the face of an unprecedented wave of criticism from traditional allies in the Democratic Party and the media. In fact, the louder his critics got, the more determined and defensive Biden seemed, and seemed convinced that voters and history will ultimately reward him for ending the war despite the chaotic retreat.
His administration has spent weeks running polls showing voters support his political goal.
“I give you my word with all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, the wise decision and the best decision for America,” he said today.
Not everyone in the administration shared the Commander-in-Chief’s trust. “I am absolutely appalled and literally appalled that we left the Americans there,” a government official told POLITICO. “It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the form of a NEO [noncombatant evacuation operations]and we failed on this flawless mission. ”Another White House official said that if they left the Americans behind, the mission would not be completed.
The withdrawal of the war in Afghanistan represents the most significant failure Biden faced in his presidency – one which he repeatedly failed to deliver on his lofty promises and erroneous predictions. Biden has long enjoyed proving the contrary to his doubters and shrouding his aspirations in optimism. It has worked for him before, most recently in his eager quest to win Republican support for a bipartisan infrastructure deal.
After the massive bill passed the Senate, it struck critics who had long said its move was an attempt to revive “a relic of a past time.”
“I never believed that. I still don’t, ”the president said, turning a question back to the reporters to ask if they had learned any lessons from watching him negotiate and offer that he has just read 50 statements from “very serious press people that my whole plan was dead from the start”.
However, on several other occasions, he got into trouble or was forced to change his tactics. Biden had argued for months that the surge in migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border was part of a seasonal pattern. “It happens every single lonely year,” he said. But the numbers by summer have peaked in two decades, with a record number of unaccompanied children arriving here.
Previously, even after months of wringing hands with other Democrats who viewed the decision as unsustainable and morally wrong, the government had refused to raise the Trump administration’s 15,000-person limit on refugee admission. Ultimately, Biden relented and agreed to raise it to 62,500 for 2021.
In other areas where the outcome is uncertain, he was less willing to give. After meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year, Biden reprimanded the news media for being too depressed about the possibility of strategic stability between the two countries. “The country has given a different face to where we have been and where we are going – and I feel good about it,” he said at the time.
“I mean, look people,” he added, telegraphing his frustration, “I’m going to drive you all crazy because I know you want me to always give things a negative nudge.”
Yet even when dealing with legitimate criticisms of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, Biden has consistently pushed the limits of optimism while apparently unwilling to admit that his earlier predictions were too rosy. “There will be no circumstance in which people are lifted from the roof of a US embassy in Afghanistan,” Biden told reporters earlier this summer.
Then he dug the hole deeper and added, “The likelihood of it Taliban overrun everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely. “
He was wrong on both counts.
When some of the predictions were put under pressure, Biden and his administration tried again and again to shift responsibility elsewhere.
When asked on Tuesday whether the president, by remarking the number of times warned US citizens to leave Afghanistan, was essentially blaming Americans for not getting to the airport in time to evacuate, the White House press secretary replied, Jen Psaki: I think what the president made clear … is that our commitment remains, our commitment to American citizens who are in Afghanistan and want to leave, does not stop. “
Then she added, “It is also important that people notice and understand what the process has been and what we have been through in the past few months, and that is what the President determined.”