The White House sought congratulations this week for a deadly Afghanistan evacuation they told Americans would not be necessary and which nobody can verify.
The Biden administration, focusing on the specifics of the chaotic evacuation effort that encompasses flying thousands of evacuees out of the country on short notice, is framing the operation as “over performing” historic standards and “defying expectations.”
The White House even compared the evacuation to the Berlin airlift post-World War II.
“We are moving thousands of people every day out of Afghanistan and to safety, in what is one of the biggest airlifts in world history,” an enthused administration official told reporters Tuesday.
For Biden’s apologists, “the evacuation resembles a truly concrete achievement, and underscores a new reality that deserves broader recognition: after taking heaps of criticism over the collapse of Kabul, the president now has a success story to tell,” Politico reported.
Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klein has tweeted evacuation numbers nearly every day this week, ignoring the policies that drove the country to collapse, even as thousands of Americans and other potential evacuees remain stranded.
Over 80,000 evacuated from Kabul in approximately 10 days. https://t.co/rvHO2vsZig
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) August 25, 2021
“Buoyed by the evacuation numbers, aides and allies have” begun “to make the case that the White House’s accomplishments should get more credit and attention,” Politico continued. “They’ve noted that the evacuation figures exceed the estimates the administration initially put out and that the press corps said was possible.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) boosted the evacuation by applauding “actual results.”
“In fact, it didn’t take 2 weeks to evacuate 50,000. It took 10 days. Lots of work still to do, but it might be time for a bit of a reassessment by the media of this operation given the actual results” he tweeted.
In fact, it didn’t take 2 weeks to evacuate 50,000. It took 10 days.
Lots of work still to do, but it might be time for a bit of a reassessment by the media of this operation given the actual results. https://t.co/qbLWWcJ05q
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) August 24, 2021
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) also touted the evacuation as, “President Biden Defies Expectations (Again), Delivers Results in Afghanistan,” issuing a congratulatory paper Tuesday with gushing statements about the evacuation operation.
“President Biden has defied expectations and exceeded even his own administration’s goal in successfully ramping up evacuations from Afghanistan,” the committee continued.
The DNC’s paper highlighted MSNBC’s anchor Lawrence O’Donnell for suggesting the failed evacuation “is the best run evacuation from a war America lost.”
There is a risk in the “administration’s efforts to cast the evacuation as a smashing and historical success,” Politico noted, even as other countries lament the ongoing events at Kabul airport and across the rest of the country.
Tuesday’s reports suggest Islamic State is now a major threat to airport security, with other accounts revealing the Taliban is refusing entry to the Kabul airport.
The Biden administration is also negotiating with the Taliban while bowing to the mandated August 31 deadline.
Biden spoke about the deadly evacuation Tuesday. “We are currently on a pace to finish by August the 31st. The sooner we can finish, the better. Each day of operations brings added risk to our troops.”
“But the completion by August 31st depends upon the Taliban continuing to cooperate and allow access to the airport for those who were transport- — we’re transporting out and no disruptions to our operations,” he added.
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø