As Biden blames Trump for disaster in Afghanistan, both Trump and Pence aggressively defend deal they made with the Taliban
Whether you agree or not, it’s worth looking closely at what Trump and Pence are saying, including Pence’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal calling Biden’s handling of the situation ‘a disgrace, unworthy of the courageous American service men and women whose blood still stains the soil of Afghanistan’
WASHINGTON, DC – Under attack by Congressional Democrats and Republicans, and many in the media, and seeing his poll numbers falling sharply, President Joe Biden is lashing out at Donald Trump, blaming his predecessor for the catastrophe unfolding in Kabul and across Afghanistan.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor – which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019 – that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. forces,” Biden argued this week.
“Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500,” Biden added. “Therefore, when I became president, I faced a choice – follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.”
“I was the fourth president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan – two Republicans, two Democrats,” Biden continued. “I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”
TRUMP DEFENDS HIMSELF, SCORCHES BIDEN
It’s true that Trump and his team negotiated a deal with the Taliban to remove all U.S. troops by May of this year.
And earlier this year Trump criticized Biden for delaying the pullout.
“I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11 as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons,” Trump argued. “First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long.”
For the record, I disagreed with Trump’s decision, as I noted in my Aug. 13 column.
Indeed, numerous Congressional Republicans told Trump his deal with the Taliban was a mistake.
While the desire to end the 20 year war in Afghanistan was welcomed by most Americans, myself included, experts like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark) and many senior current and former U.S. military commanders and strategists, warned Trump that he should not pull out all U.S. forces, but leave in place several thousand, including special forces units and combat air support, to assist the Afghan army.
Trump dismissed them.
Not surprisingly, however, Trump is now pushing back hard against Biden’s accusations that it was his deal with the Taliban that resulted in the disaster now unfolding.
Trump argues that even if Biden was going to proceed with pulling all U.S. forces out, Biden should not have done so until all U.S. citizens and our Afghan and NATO allies, were all safely evacuated from the country.
“Afghanistan is the most embarrassing military outcome in the history of the United States,” Trump said Monday. “It didn’t have to be that way!”
“Can anyone even imagine taking out our military before evacuating civilians and others who have been good to our Country and who should be allowed to seek refuge?” Trump argued. “In addition, these people left topflight and highly sophisticated equipment. Who can believe such incompetence? Under my Administration, all civilians and equipment would have been removed.”
While I disagreed with Trump’s deal with the Taliban, I absolutely agree with these points.
Biden has turned a mistake into an unmitigated disaster.
The U.S. is being humiliated on the world stage by radical Islamist jihadists.
And American and allied innocents may soon be captured, imprisoned and possibly slaughtered by the Taliban.
This is absolutely unacceptable.
PENCE FIERCELY DEFENDS THE DEAL TRUMP TEAM MADE WITH THE TALIBAN
On Tuesday, former Vice President Mike Pence wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, fiercely defending the deal that he and Trump negotiated with the Taliban.
Whether you agree with Pence or not, it is worth reading the article in full to understand his case.
It’s also worth noting that despite the serious differences Trump and Pence have had this year – especially concerning the events of Jan. 6 – Pence is defending Trump and launching a broadside against Biden.
Here is a link to the op-ed.
And here is the text in full.
Mike Pence: Biden Broke Our Deal With the Taliban
It’s a foreign-policy humiliation unlike anything our country has endured since the Iran hostage crisis.
By Mike Pence
Wall Street Journal
August 17, 2021
‘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. “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy.”
One month later, the scenario Mr. Biden deemed impossible has become a horrifying reality. In recent days, the world has watched panicked civilians cling to U.S. military aircraft in a desperate attempt to escape the chaos unleashed by Mr. Biden’s reckless retreat. American diplomats had to beg our enemies not to storm our embassy in Kabul. Taliban fighters have seized scores of American military vehicles, rifles, artillery, aircraft, helicopters and drones.
The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is a foreign-policy humiliation unlike anything our country has endured since the Iran hostage crisis.
It has embarrassed America on the world stage, caused allies to doubt our dependability, and emboldened enemies to test our resolve. Worst of all, it has dishonored the memory of the heroic Americans who helped bring terrorists to justice after 9/11, and all who served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.
In February 2020, the Trump administration reached an agreement that required the Taliban to end all attacks on U.S. military personnel, to refuse terrorists safe harbor, and to negotiate with Afghan leaders on creating a new government. As long as these conditions were met, the U.S. would conduct a gradual and orderly withdrawal of military forces.
Unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council, the agreement immediately brought to Afghanistan a stability unseen in decades. In the past 18 months, the U.S. has not suffered a single combat casualty there.
By the time we left office, the Afghan government and the Taliban each controlled their respective territories, neither was mounting major offensives, and America had only 2,500 U.S. troops in the country—the smallest military presence since the war began in 2001.
America’s endless war was coming to a dignified end, and Bagram Air Base ensured we could conduct counterterrorism missions through the war’s conclusion.
The progress our administration made toward ending the war was possible because Taliban leaders understood that the consequences of violating the deal would be swift and severe. After our military took out Iranian terrorist Qasem Soleimani, and U.S. Special Forces killed the leader of ISIS, the Taliban had no doubt we would keep our promise.
But when Mr. Biden became president, he quickly announced that U.S. forces would remain in Afghanistan for an additional four months without a clear reason for doing so.
There was no plan to transport the billions of dollars worth of American equipment recently captured by the Taliban, or evacuate the thousands of Americans now scrambling to escape Kabul, or facilitate the regional resettlement of the thousands of Afghan refugees who will now be seeking asylum in the U.S. with little or no vetting. Rather, it seems that the president simply didn’t want to appear to be abiding by the terms of a deal negotiated by his predecessor.
Once Mr. Biden broke the deal, the Taliban launched a major offensive against the Afghan government and seized Kabul. They knew there was no credible threat of force under this president. They’ve seen him kowtow to anti-Semitic terrorist groups like Hamas, restore millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority, and sit by earlier this year while thousands of rockets rained down on Israeli civilians.
Weakness arouses evil—and the magnitude of evil now rising in Afghanistan speaks volumes about the weaknesses of Mr. Biden. To limit the carnage, the president has ordered more troops to Afghanistan, tripling our military presence amid a supposed withdrawal.
After 20 years, more than 2,400 American deaths, 20,000 Americans wounded, and over $2 trillion spent, the American people are ready to bring our troops home.
But the manner in which Mr. Biden has executed this withdrawal is a disgrace, unworthy of the courageous American service men and women whose blood still stains the soil of Afghanistan.
Mr. Pence served as vice president of the United States, 2017-21, and is chairman of Advancing American Freedom.