This is the sort of statement that you usually do not see from a sitting president. There’s a chance that Richard Nixon may have said something similar when it came time to withdraw from Vietnam but if he did, we are not readily aware of it. While we can appreciate the honesty, it is still a shocking admission. He’s essentially admitting defeat.
We have all understood this for many years but it is still jarring to hear it come from the president himself. It’s a hard truth and he delivered it in a very forthright manner. This honest moment may have come about for any number of reasons but he’s said the quiet part loud now. All we can do is reckon with it.
“I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome. The United States cannot afford to remain tethered to policies created in response to the world as it was 20 years ago,” reads the quote from Biden. When this presser began, he announced that the Afghanistan mission would be ending on August 31.
President Biden: "I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome. The United States cannot afford to remain tethered to policies created in response to the world as it was 20 years ago." pic.twitter.com/tWjqMsiWHw
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 8, 2021
This means that we are finally going to be withdrawing after spending roughly 20 years at this location. While we have yet to reach this date, the Pentagon has already ended the mission for all intents and purposes. There is little to no American presence in the country at the moment. Politico has more:
“The withdrawal is over, for all intents and purposes,” said one of the officials with direct knowledge of the situation, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive planning. “It’s done.”
The U.S. currently has roughly 600 troops in Afghanistan, most of whom are Marine Corps and Army personnel providing security at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, the person said. The rest of the 600 will be based at the Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, said another U.S. official with direct knowledge of the discussions. All of those troops are expected to remain after the pullout is officially complete, The Associated Press first reported last month…
The primary reason [Gen. Scott] Miller is staying is to boost the morale of the Afghan security forces, who have endured heightened attacks by the Taliban across the country over the past few months, the second U.S. official said. The attacks have further intensified in recent weeks, with the Taliban taking control of 10 percent of the country in the last six days alone, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), which has closely tracked the conflict.”
Miller is going to be staying for a few more weeks, or at least this is the expectation at the moment. If he’s lucky, he won’t need to evacuate any sooner. The country is already starting to fall into dire straits because of the presence of the Taliban. They have been emboldened by America’s willingness to retreat and this is a problem that cannot be addressed because Biden has already decided that it is all over.
Q: "Do you trust the Taliban?"
President Biden: "Is that a serious question? No, I do not…It's a silly question. Do I trust the Taliban? No. But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more competent in terms of conducting war." pic.twitter.com/C6Z82NBwtL
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 8, 2021
The most telling moment of the presser came when Biden was asked if he placed his trust in the Taliban. Of course, he replied no but he also claimed that he trusts the Afghan military. This was a political move, as he was looking to bolster confidence in the region and keep the country from being any more destabilized. Unfortunately, the Afghans have yet to establish a cohesive fighting unit that can keep the American-built government from falling out of favor.
“Is that a serious question? No, I do not…It’s a silly question. Do I trust the Taliban? No. But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more competent in terms of conducting war,” Biden replied when asked about his trust of the Taliban. What more can you expect from a man who has made it very clear….there is going to be no mission accomplished celebration going on here.