On Monday, in a scathing opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, William McGurn, the chief speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, eviscerated President Biden for incessantly bring up his late son Beau after American servicemen and women were murdered by terrorists in Afghanistan. McGurn snapped, “Mr. Biden is not a Gold Star father and should stop playing one on TV.”
McGurn began his essay by noting that some people hoped Biden might “reconsider letting the Taliban dictate the terms of our exit.” He added, “These people profoundly misunderstand the president and the political equations driving his decisions. For Mr. Biden, the top priority was to use the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to take a victory lap as the president who ended America’s longest war. When Kabul fell, it added a new imperative: avoid any U.S. combat casualties that would mar the moment. Even at the cost of leaving Americans behind enemy lines and abandoning our Afghan partners.”
“Critics who accuse the president of having no strategy miss the point: What we are seeing is the strategy,” McGurn posited. “It is based on Mr. Biden’s confidence that no one will hold the disastrous consequences of his decisions about Afghanistan against him so long as our troops are gone. Accept this and Afghanistan falls neatly into place.”
McGurn recalled Biden stating in July, “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy.” McGurn commented, “Turned out plenty of folks were evacuated from our embassy in Kabul, but no helicopter dared land on the rooftop lest a photographer end up with an image too close to Saigon ’75 for the political comfort of the commander in chief. “
“Ditto for rescuing Americans in and around the city,” McGurn continued. “Too great a risk of a replay of Mogadishu and another ‘Black Hawk Down.’ So instead of sending highly trained soldiers and Marines outside the airport to do it their way and on their terms, they were largely confined to the airport while Central Intelligence Agency teams and volunteer groups brought people out.”
McGurn wrote bluntly, “George W. Bush surged troops to fight in Iraq. Barack Obama surged troops to fight in Afghanistan. Mr. Biden surged them to pack up and go home.”
McGurn then turned to Biden’s avoidance of any sort of mea culpa:
Meantime, the president refuses to acknowledge any hint of failure, much less his own culpability. He has variously denied making any mistakes, claimed he anticipated the entire mess, and wherever possible blamed Donald Trump.
He also dodges the hard question by constantly insisting the issue in contention is his decision to leave rather than the deadly hash he’s made of it. And he bizarrely keeps invoking his son, the late Maj. Beau Biden, a Delaware Army National Guard lawyer who served honorably in Baghdad and whose early death from brain cancer was tragic but has nothing to do with Afghanistan, much less the 11 Marines, Navy corpsman and Army soldier killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing. Mr. Biden is not a Gold Star father and should stop playing one on TV.
In demanding moments, great presidents appeal to the better angels of our nature. But Mr. Biden’s presidency now rests on a cynical bet that, by the time Sept. 11 rolls around, a war-weary American people will share the president’s indifference to what he has now wrought in Afghanistan. We can already imagine his response to any newsman who dares bring it up.
C’mon, man. That was two weeks ago.
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