During his interview with George Stephanopoulos, President Joe Biden contradicted statements he made in July when he deflected blame for the debacle in Afghanistan by saying chaos from the U.S. withdrawal was inevitable.
“We’re going to go back in hindsight and look, but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” he told Stephanopoulos.
“So, for you, that was always priced into the decision?” asked Stephanopoulos.
“Yes,” replied Biden.
In the same interview, Biden defended the withdrawal and did not believe it was a failure:
I don’t think it was a failure. When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government getting into a plane and taking off and going to another country. When you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, that was — you know I’m not — that’s what happened. That’s simply what happened.
Biden’s insistence that he anticipated a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan stands in stark contradiction to statements he made in July when he promised that it would not be another repeat of Saigon in 1975.
“Mr. President, some Vietnamese veterans see echoes of their experience in this withdrawal in Afghanistan. Do you see any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam?” Biden was asked on July 8. Biden replied:
None whatsoever. Zero. What you had is you had entire brigades breaking through the gates of our embassy — six, if I’m not mistaken. The Taliban is not the South — the North Vietnamese army. They’re not — they’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability. 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. It is not at all comparable.
Biden’s contradicting his own words was so blatant that even CNN had to call him out on it:
President Biden said he thought chaos in Afghanistan was inevitable after US troops left, even though he spent months promising there would be order https://t.co/KRahaW9ihI
— CNN (@CNN) August 18, 2021
According to Biden, the only factor that his administration did not have a firm grasp on was in knowing how fast the Taliban would take over the country and the methods they would use. That said, the president assured that the Taliban will be “cooperating” in the effort to get American citizens out of the country over the next few weeks. Biden said:
One of the things we didn’t know is what the Taliban would do, in terms of trying to keep people from getting out. What they would do. What are they doing now? They’re cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out, etc., but they’re having — we’re having some more difficulty having those who helped us when we were in there.
To make matters worse, when George Stephanopoulos confronted Biden on the harsh reality currently unfolding in Afghanistan – where Americans remain stranded behind enemy lines and desperate Afghans cling to planes flying off the tarmac to escape the Taliban – the president coldly (and falsely) brushed that reality off as if it were water under the bridge.
“That was four days ago, five days ago!” Biden said.
The first images of Afghans clinging to departing planes occurred on Monday – two days before Biden’s interview with George Stephanopoulos.
Follow Paul Bois on Twitter @Paulbois39