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Biden on Afghanistan: ‘Don’t look at me, Trump did it’ | EDITORIAL

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The White House may have set a new low for political cowardice last week in its efforts to evade responsibility for the Afghanistan debacle.

John F. Kennedy had “Profiles in Courage.” Harry S. Truman was known for “The buck stops here.” Now, President Joe Biden has apparently decided to adopt “Don’t look at me” as his motto.

In a 12-page summary of the Afghanistan withdrawal, drafted by Mr. Biden’s National Security Council, the president and his team take no responsibility for the dayslong fiasco, in which 13 Americans were killed along with scores of Afghans. Instead, they point the finger at “conditions created” by the Trump administration.

How apropos for a president whom former Defense Secretary Robert Gates once described as having “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

The Biden line, parroted in the internal report, points the finger at Donald Trump for a February 2020 deal he reached with the Taliban intended to encourage them to enter talks with the U.S.-backed government in Kabul. This “constrained” the Biden administration, leaving its hands tied, the argument goes.

But this is nonsense. The agreement also “left an opening for the U.S. to call off its withdrawal deal with the Taliban if the promised Taliban-Afghan peace talks failed — which they did under Biden,” The Washington Post noted Friday. Instead of calling off the deal, Mr. Biden continued to insist on a hard-and-fast date for the removal of American troops.

Mr. Biden had options. He chose not to take them. At no point leading up to the withdrawal in August 2021 did the president express his concerns about being “constrained” by the former administration when it came to dealing with Afghanistan.

In fact, on July 8, the president told reporters that a Taliban takeover in the absence of U.S. troops was “not” inevitable. He went on to say, “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. The likelihood there’s going to be one unified government in Afghanistan controlling the whole country is highly unlikely.”

His comments were an embarrassment to a president who would later be completely taken aback by how quickly the Taliban regained power. Yet now he wants to point fingers at Mr. Trump.

“This 12-page document is a whitewash. It is narrative,” Ed O’Keefe of CBS News told viewers. “It is light on specifics. It is devoid of citations. And it is in essence their version of events.”

In other words, “Don’t look at me.”

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