The Biden administration released an audacious report this week blaming its disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan on former President Trump. A top Biden official is going even further to exonerate his boss, saying the evacuation wasn't "chaotic."
National security spokesman John Kirby said that the withdrawal, while not "perfect," got many things "right."
It's a remarkably casual assessment of the tragic and deadly final chapter of America's longest war, which ended with a scrambled retreat that cost 13 U.S. soldiers their lives in a terror bombing.
"For all this talk of chaos, I didn't see it from my perch," Kirby said at a briefing Thursday. "I just don't buy the whole argument of chaos."
Kirby stuck closely to the crude talking points in a 12-page National Security Council report praising Biden for ending the 20-year war, while clearing him of responsibility for the messy withdrawal.
Painting the situation in broad strokes, Kirby said Biden "inherited" a "general sense of degradation and neglect" from Trump.
Biden also relied on intelligence and military assessments of the evacuation timeline that turned out to be wrong, Kirby said. But he added that Biden wasn't interested in pursuing "accountability."
"This document and this effort isn’t about accountability today. It’s about understanding," he said.
The Biden report contains only a brief admission of fault: "We now prioritize earlier evacuations when faced with a degrading security situation."
But that mea culpa is couched in excuses. Biden's hands were tied because of negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban under President Trump that set a May 2021 withdrawal date, the report said, without explaining why Biden pushed back the evacuation to September of that year.
Republican Michael McCaul (Tx.), chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, called Kirby's comments "disgraceful and insulting," noting that Biden "picked the exact date" to end the mission in Afghanistan.
In the immediate aftermath of the evacuation two years ago, Biden told a deeply skeptical nation that the withdrawal was an "extraordinary success."
His approval ratings have never recovered, but it looks like the administration is still trying to rewrite history.
In a Truth Social Post, Trump accused Biden of playing a "disinformation game" to shift blame "for their grossly incompetent SURRENDER in Afghanistan".
"I watched this disaster unfold just like everyone else. I saw them take out the Military FIRST, GIVE $85 Billion of military equipment, allow killing of our soldiers, and leave Americans behind. Biden is responsible, no one else!" Trump wrote.