Nobody home: As Afghanistan collapses, Joe Biden goes on vacation

Joe Biden's team at the White House spends a lot of time obsessing about 'optics.' They insist there will be no Saigon-style evacuation in Afghanistan as Americans bail out. Last July 8, Joe assured us there was no chance of Taliban takeover. It's always about the optics, not the facts on the ground. 

So what is one to make of Joe Biden heading off for a five-day vacation?

A major U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan is collapsing before the entire world's eyes.

And the White House? Nobody's home at the White House. Joe's got other things to do. The White House says Biden is off to play with his grandchildren. He'll catch up when he gets back.

Which is atrocious optics, and much, much more. His entire presidency so far has been a failure of leadership and planning. Afghanistan is its culmination.

First, what's going on with the multi-billion-dollar intelligence community that they could miss an event as big as this? And why do their leaders still have jobs?

Second, what's going on with the Pentagon, in particular its military leader, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley? Why have billions of dollars in Humvees, Blackhawk helicopters, rockets, and advanced weapons of war, been abandoned to the Taliban? Why have the supposedly U.S.-trained Afghani soldiers folded like cheap suits and fled in terror, leaving a huge treasure trove of captured booty to the terrorists? In an orderly retreat, you don't normally arm your enemy on the way out. Any planning there, any leadership? Just a lot of pass the buck. As for Milley himself, he's got his priorities, too -- ranting on about the Reichstag fire and the Jan. 6 Capitol fracas, calling a Trump aide "Rasputin," comparing Trump voters to Hitler, accusing President Trump of a non-existent coup, and musing about "white rage" and critical race theory. Tucker Carlson has a good rundown here. Besides that, what's with this putting of 3,000 U.S. troops in harm's way to evacuate the U.S. embassy. Did he try to get Joe to stop with his hare-brained pullout plan before he left the embassy defenseless and forced to ship troops in again? Why does this general who makes George McClellan look masterly by comparison, still have a job?

Third, what's going on with the refugees, many of whom have collaborated with the U.S. and have legitimate reasons to flee. Anybody plan for that? Biden announced his pullout in April and apparently nothing was done. According to this piece here, Biden officials are scrambling to find some, any, country that can take some of them at least temporarily, starting with the 80,000 in the Kabul perimeter with obviously more outside. They're trying to muscle Albania and Kosovo into taking them, while Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, have all said no. Putin's Russia might have been a good place to put them, given Russia's spacious land and its huge Central Asian population, but Biden blew up that bridge earlier with his insults to Putin, he apparently never planned for that. Meanwhile, the refugees are desperate, given that they are crowded into broiling hot Kabul with no housing, no food, no services. Some are threatening to set themselves on fire if they don't get papers. And in reality, they should be shown mercy, these are real refugees, not people in designer clothes with cash to pay smugglers in a quest for a bigger benefits package. No planning, nobody home.

What's going on with the Afghan central bank? When the Taliban closes in, what happens to the $9.5 billion in reserves? Are there any plans to get it out, or just burn the joint and all the cash in it (the U.S. could easily replace the cash or M3 and M4 if it came to that) to keep it out of the Taliban hands? Or will the Taliban be flinging money -- and drawing allies from cash-strapped hellholes like Venezuela and Cuba for its war-booty bonanza?  

Lastly, what's with the embassy? According to CNN analyst Peter Bergen, the U.S. may move its embassy to the Kabul airport. Out on Twitter, the word being spread around is that Kabul airport is where the Taliban is circling right now in a bid to break into the city. If both reports are true, then the U.S. will be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. What kind of planning is this?

It's not a plan at all. It's a sign to the world that nobody's in charge in the U.S. Biden who should have been shunted off to the dog tracks by now is instead at the White House, but now on vacation, prioritizing playing with his grandkids, eating ice cream. It's a massive failure of leadership from a man who has never been anything but a motor-mouthed politician. He's never done anything, he's never been on top of events, but here we are. The biggest foreign policy failure since Vietnam is on us, and Joe has gone on vacation.

Image:  Screen shot from CNN video, posted on shareable YouTube

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