The question is not whether Mr. Biden is a great, or even good, President. The question is whether or not he is even barely competent; can he at least adequately handle the tasks that face him and our nation.
Afghanistan gives us our first real clues about how to answer this key question.
We were never going to get an answer to that question until he became President. Mr. Biden has never worked in private industry where you are responsible for specific tasks, small or large, with bosses giving you feedback, rating you as competent, incompetent or perhaps even very good at your job. Biden has certainly never run anything, even a corner hotdog and hamburger joint, where he would have been responsible for staffing, inventory, accounting, meeting payroll and making a profit so he could give raises, hand out promotions–and just do what was necessary to stay in business.
He was never a governor, or even a mayor. The United States of America is the first entity of any kind that Biden has ever run.
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
Mr. Biden spent decades in Congress, then 8 years as the Vice President. In Congress, unless you are the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader, your vote, win or lose, is counted as part of a group, and you are never in charge of or personally responsible for anything. You may or may not be a contributor. You might be a leader or a follower. Your politics and policies might or might not make sense. What is certain is that you were always a committee member, never the CEO. Even worse, all American VPs do is go to funerals of second tier foreign leaders, and stand by in case the President dies.
When Biden ran for President this last time, his third attempt, he did not stand on his record. During the primaries, his claim to fame was not being one of the progressive left. That claim may not hold up today, but it worked well enough to give him the nomination. When he ran in the general election, his platform was “I’m not Trump.” That claim is still true. So the campaign did not offer much to assess competency.
I want to be clear that I am not talking about his well publicized gaffes, mispronunciations and apparent brain freezes; those things happen to many people. I want to focus on his performance, his judgement, his decisions and results as our President. The leader of the free world. So far, in general what we have seen is a strong drift to the left, an orderly rollout of vaccines developed under the previous administration, and his following–not leading–Congress as it pushes to spend unheard amounts of money. All while claiming that the cost of living will not go up, and that the value of the dollar will not go down. No real leadership here, nothing to go by to judge competency.
But what about Afghanistan? He clearly led here, giving us the first real handle on answering the question about his competency. “I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said. And a month prior, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country [of Afghanistan] is highly unlikely,” President Biden confidently proclaimed in July.” Let’s examine what President Biden is standing “squarely behind.” First off, everyone gets it, everyone agrees, that leaving Afghanistan was the right decision. You can even make an argument that we should have left after a year or two, in 2002 or 2003, when we found that Bin Laden had left. “Mr. Bin Laden has left the country.” The only conversation to be had is how the leaving, the withdrawal, was handled. It was an embarrassing, domestically, internationally and militarily, unmitigated disaster.
Today’s Key Point: Joe Biden is not competent. More than not being a great, or even a good President, he is simply not competent. And given how Biden is mismanaging a clear, simple situation where he needed to employ US troops to help conduct an orderly evacuation of 10K – 15K American staffers and other civilians, and tens of thousands of Afghans openly allied with the US who had put themselves in mortal danger–along with their families–if we abandoned them, is it any wonder that our Southern border is another disaster, and a dangerous one at that? All while leaving tens of billions of dollars of warfighting equipment to the Taliban, for their use or sale.
Our own 6-Day War–but the good guys lost this one. No, it could not have been a surprise to anyone who could either remember history or read it online that the Taliban is the Taliban; ruthless, murdering Islamic extremists, and that the Afghan forces needed and were trained to depend upon US air support. More than 55K Afghans in uniform died defending their country from the Taliban when US air support was suddenly withdrawn, when they were abandoned by their US “allies”. What rational person could be surprised that the Afghan Army surrendered or joined the Taliban in 6 days?
BTW, does anyone believe that Taiwan, its people or their leaders, trust the US to help defend them from a takeover by Communist China? Might their understandable nervousness about the US as an ally make them more likely to compromise with China
Okay, Will, so who predicted this? For one, Revolution 2.0™ did. The episode titled, Afghanistan: Another Shameful Exit. EP 347, published on the 13th of July started with “The Taliban will be free to exert cruel, dictatorial control over Afghanistan in exactly the same way that North Vietnam did when we left.” Please read or listen to this 10 minute episode.
In addition to our 20 year history in Afghanistan, we have been offered lessons, all apparently ignored, from previous failures in Afghanistan by Alexander the Great well before Christ, the British in the mid 1800s, and the Russians in the 1980s. And speaking of learning, since this still unfolding disaster began, there is no indication that President Biden has conferred with a single foreign leader.
Let’s hear from other voices, mostly liberal or progressive. CNN. “As harrowing pictures of Afghans clinging to US cargo jets in a desperate bid to escape the Taliban circulate, everyone in Washington is asking a version of the same questions: Did President Joe Biden misread intelligence about the imminent collapse of the Afghan government and armed forces? Did US spy agencies fail to pick up the Taliban surge, which led to the collapse of numerous provincial strongholds and Kabul within days? Or did the President simply ignore the evidence in his zeal to end a military misadventure and reap a political win? The imagery from Afghanistan is deeply damaging to Biden politically and paints a disastrous picture of a nation that has long seen itself as a global leader and guardian of democracy, human rights and humanitarianism. Biden did admit in an address to the nation that the Taliban triumph had unfolded more quickly than he had expected, after repeatedly dismissing the idea that the fundamentalist militia could quickly capture Afghanistan.
“As he seeks to stabilize his reeling administration, Biden tried to reframe the issue into a question of whether the US should leave its longest war or keep fighting — conveniently ignoring the question at hand: Did the White House botch its pull out in a way that caused chaos — and could expose thousands of Afghans linked to US forces to a vicious backlash?”
NBC. “As the Taliban began seizing provinces across Afghanistan in recent weeks, the CIA’s intelligence assessments began to warn in increasingly stark terms about the potential for a rapid, total collapse of the Afghan military and government, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News. In the end, the CIA’s description of what a worst-case scenario could look like ‘was pretty close to what happened,’ one former official briefed on the matter said.”
Wall Street Journal headline, “Saigon On Steroids.”
CNN continues. “Biden placed blame almost everywhere else. He implicitly rebuked previous presidents for allowing the 20-year war to go on so long. He lambasted Afghan leaders and their soldiers for not putting up a fight after years of US funds and training (an easy and rather callous point to make from the safety of the East Room’s ornate, gold-curtained splendor.)” Conversely, President Harry Truman was famous for taking responsibility with his saying, “The buck stops here.” That was written on a sign on his desk in the Oval Office. He explained the quote by saying that it is all about accountability.
We’ll give the Washington Post the last quote. “As the situation on the ground in Afghanistan’s capital continues to deteriorate, thousands of U.S. citizens are trapped in and around Kabul with no ability to get to the airport, which is their only way out of the country. As Taliban soldiers go door to door, searching for Westerners, these U.S. citizens are now reaching out to anyone and everyone back in Washington for help. The Biden administration must get moving on a plan to rescue them before it’s too late.
“There will be plenty of time later to look back on how and why the 20-year American intervention in Afghanistan failed so miserably, why the U.S. withdrawal was so badly mismanaged and how the U.S. government failed to predict that the Taliban would take over the country with almost no resistance. But right now, the No. 1 job of the U.S. government and the roughly 7,000 U.S. troops in or on their way to Kabul must be to rescue American citizens first and then all the Afghans who risked their lives based on America’s promise of safety. President Biden didn’t address the issue of how the U.S. government will assist Americans who aren’t already at the airport during his remarks to the nation Monday afternoon.”
Shame on you, Joe. If you can’t be competent, at least muscle up and accept responsibility.
We all have the personal responsibility to be accountable for our actions, both good and bad, well advised or poorly conceived and executed.
Speaking of personal responsibility, it does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.
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