The Biden administration has been uniformly awful on so many fronts that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Whatever spin or excuse they trot out for their failing Afghanistan policy doesn’t even last 24 hours, usually less. For a president who claims the buck stops with him, Joe Biden passes it on every opportunity — and by the end of the day, he has to find a new excuse.
The latest iteration of this came on Sunday, courtesy of Secretary of State Antony Blinken doing his daily damage control duty on all the network news shows. Blinken was out this past weekend to attack an accusation from Politico that the Biden administration had given lists of names of American citizens and allied Afghans to the Taliban.
The Politico report was startling:
U.S. officials in Kabul gave the Taliban a list of names of American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies to grant entry into the militant-controlled outer perimeter of the city’s airport[.]
The worst part was a quote from one of their sources. A defense official told the outlet: “Basically, they just put all those Afghans on a kill list… It’s just appalling and shocking and makes you feel unclean.”
Another official told Politico, “They had to do that because of the security situation the White House created by allowing the Taliban to control everything outside the airport.”
Blinken went onto the Sunday shows to defend and push back on the story because politicians on both sides of the aisle were furious, and understandably so. Bliken started out by denying the reports, saying, “it’s simply not the case,” and arguing that “the idea that we shared lists of Americans or others with the Taliban is simply wrong.”
But when pressed on what the United States government was sharing with the Taliban, Blinken admitted:
So, in specific instances when you’re trying to get a bus or a group of people through, and you need to show a manifest to do that, because particularly in cases where people don’t have the necessary credentials on them or documents on them, then you would — you’ll share names on a list of people on the bus so they can be assured that those are people that we’re looking to bring in. And by definition, that’s exactly what’s happened.
Blinken again insisted, “The idea that we put anyone in any further jeopardy is simply wrong.”
That’s a great answer, and I wish it were true. But by the end of the day, The New York Times was painting a radically different picture. “[T]here are growing reports of detentions, disappearances and even executions of officials at the hands of the Taliban,” one report read.
More alarming was a second report from The New York Times that described the very thing Blinken denied. The Times reported:
Hundreds of students and alumni of American University of Kabul gathered at a safe house on Sunday and boarded buses in what was supposed to be a final attempt at evacuation on U.S. military flights, students and alumni said. […] But after seven hours of waiting for clearance to enter the airport gates and driving around the city, the group met a dead end: Evacuations were permanently called off.
The Times added:
The group was then alarmed to learn that the university had shared a list of names and passport information of hundreds of students and alumni with the Taliban guarding the airport checkpoints, said four students who were on the buses on Sunday. “They told us: we have given your names to the Taliban[.]”
These are people who have a right to evacuate who are getting abandoned by the Biden administration. These are people who are now getting rejected, and now their names and information are in the hands of the Taliban.
We can hope and pray for their safe return. Still, now their safety is in the hands of the Taliban being merciful, and not in the hands of the United States government.
Everything described so far was a choice by the Biden administration. They purposely gave up Kabul, and they gave up any capacity we had to direct an evacuation. Every decision made by the Biden administration has placed the United States and American lives in a weaker and more precarious situation.
The Biden administration refuses to take responsibility for its actions and continues to act weak and feckless. Hopefully, we get everyone out by Aug. 31, but there’s been little evidence that it will take place. And if that doesn’t occur, then the Biden administration will trot out its next excuse.
If it’s anything like what they’ve said so far, it won’t survive the day. Everyone should make sure to hold them accountable for that disaster and their pitiful excuses.
This situation is a real crisis demanding authentic leadership, not the J.V. club of presidential administration.