Most “either/or” questions are designed to make you choose, but sometimes the correct answer is “both.” When dealing with someone like President Joe Biden, it’s not always possible to know the answer to a simple question: is this man stupid, or is he just a liar? There is ample evidence of both, almost always, but the exact tilt of a scale and in which direction it points for the majority is not always clear. As such, you are sometimes left wondering which it is, but there is little doubt it is at least one and usually some combination of both.
So what has me asking this? The way Joe Biden answered a simple question from NBC News anchor Lester Holt on the President’s failed, deadly retreat from Afghanistan.
NBC News had just run a devastating report on the failures of the Biden administration in that retreat. Those failures were not the conclusion of NBC News, they’d never determine such a thing about a Democrat, this was the United States military.
An investigation by the Army concluded gross incompetence and indifference led to the disastrous scramble at the Kabul airport and the deaths of 13 Americans soldiers at the hands of terrorists. This all could have been avoided, the report says, had the President’s team listened to the military.
When asked about this, Biden told Holt it was all news to him. “No. No. That’s not what I was told,” the President said.
What was curious about how the President said it was his general indifference to the possibilities this revelation presented. If the President of the United States was not told of the military’s assessment and serious concerns, at any point in the lead up to the withdrawal, why not? These were the people on the ground, those most likely to know the whole situation, and those risking their lives. Their concerns should have been paramount. But according to the President, he never heard them.
Instead, according to the President, he was told something completely different. “No, what I was told. No one told me that — look,” he stammeringly said in a dash to change the conversation, “there was no good time to get out. If we had not gotten out, they acknowledged that we would have had to put a hell of a lot more troops back in. It wasn’t just 2000, 4000. We would have to significantly increase the number of troops and we’re back in this war of attrition, and there was no way we were ever going to unite Ukraine, I mean, excuse me, Iraq–Afghanistan. No way that was going to happen. And so this is a much wiser thing to do.” Continue