President Joe Biden has asserted that he bears the ultimate responsibility for the aftermath of a mismanaged U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
That acknowledgment appears to ring hollow, however, in contrast to the president’s tendency to heap blame for what is taking place under Taliban rule on his predecessor and the Afghan people themselves.
Biden sends mixed message
As Breitbart reported, Biden delivered remarks and accepted a handful of questions during a press briefing on Thursday following what is believed to have been a terrorist attack near the Kabul airport that left more than a dozen U.S. service members dead and many others wounded.
The president’s last question went to Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy, who noted that no American troops had been killed in Afghanistan for more than a year until the fatal series of explosions outside of the airport this week. Doocy asked Biden if he accepted “any responsibility” for the chaos in the region over the past several weeks.
“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that’s happened of late,” the president stated.
From there, however, Biden pivoted to pointing the finger at former President Donald Trump for making a deal with the Taliban in February 2020.
As Trump and his allies have asserted, however, that deal would have been based on the guarantee that the Taliban would agree to certain conditions, unlike the Biden policy.
“The buck stops with me”
This was not the first example of Biden sending mixed messages about where responsibility lies. He made similar remarks in a prepared speech in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Kabul to the Taliban earlier this month.
“I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me,” he said at the time, according to a White House transcript.
Not only had he already blamed Trump for the debacle, but he also faulted the Afghan government and its military forces for failing to fight the Taliban.
Of course, there is plenty of blame to go around regarding the dismal failures in Afghanistan, including Pentagon leadership over the past 20 years, it is also true that the current president is in charge and the current atrocities are being carried out on his watch.
Despite problematic policies and precedents implemented under prior administrations, Biden could have chosen to ignore them. Things did not have to turn out this way.