August 17, 2021

ROGER KIMBALL: Joe Biden’s short walk in the Hindu Kush: To say that what just happened in Afghanistan caught the Biden administration by surprise would be the understatement of the year.

A few days ago, we were told that the Afghan government might fall within 90 days to the newly resurgent Taliban. Over the weekend, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby assured the world that “Kabul does not face an imminent threat from the Taliban.” Whew. That gave the team at our Kabul embassy time to shred or otherwise render inoperative all the sensitive information they were sitting on – that stash of Pride flags, for example, which the new masters will not have much use for, unless it is to drape over the shoulders of the gays they execute by pushing them off roofs.

Well, it turns out the embassy workers did not have quite enough time. If we still used ink, the bit used to record Kirby’s words would not have been dry before his words were replaced by headlines that Kabul had fallen to the Taliban, who now occupied the presidential palace, the president himself having fled the country, and that the country as whole was in a state of crisis.

President Biden – or, as I like to denominate him these days, due to the deference shown him by all those eager-beaver members of the press, President Ice Cream – was hors de combat when this important news came over what counts as the wire these days. He had left the White House for Camp David. Monday, I think, is when Ben and Jerry’s makes its deliveries, and all we could glean was that he would be addressing the nation “in a few days.”

The outcry over that bit of impertinence was loud, sustained, and widespread, even among the housebroken poodles of the Fourth Estate. So just a few hours before I sat down to write this, the President of the United States shuffled before the cameras, blinked, and told us two things. One, he felt really badly about what just happened. Really, his heart goes out to the thousands Afghans who are about to be raped, mutilated, or slaughtered. Two, it was all Donald Trump’s fault. Really. “I inherited a deal that president Trump negotiated with the Taliban.” I’m the president and the “buck stops with me,” but still, it’s all Donald Trump’s fault.

Quick question: does anybody, anybody believe that if Donald Trump were still president Afghanistan would have been consumed in this humiliating maelstrom?

No.

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