So much for that “Mission Accomplished” moment Joe Biden wanted. The twentieth anniversary of 9/11 will come and go tomorrow without any live presidential remarks, CNN reported yesterday from sources within the White House. That looks like a major change in strategy, likely a belated acknowledgment of the craven debacle Biden created in our exit from Afghanistan:
Biden is not planning to deliver major public remarks to mark the 20th anniversary; instead, his events on Saturday will include laying wreaths and observing moments of silence alongside his predecessors. He will appear in a video produced by the White House reflecting on the attacks that is expected to be released on Saturday morning.
Aides had contemplated an address, but ultimately decided against a speech pegged to the infamous date in history. Biden’s muted presence on the anniversary reflects a shift that has occurred over time, as leaders who served in the years after the attack found themselves caught, often against their best laid plans, in its lingering effects. …
For Biden, the 20th anniversary of 9/11 is a moment to reflect and remember, briefly, the unity of spirit that existed in the aftermath. Yet embedded within Biden’s commemoration of the attacks is a desire to move past them, as threats evolve elsewhere and the conflicts borne from that day outlast their objectives.
Er … suuuuuuure. Does anyone doubt for a hot second that Biden would have skipped live remarks tomorrow had his withdrawal matched Biden’s fantasy of it? Biden would have flown to the podium to declare a successful end to the “forever wars” and covered himself in glory. That’s why he moved the date up to August 31 after initially setting it for September 11 — to allow himself the time to build that “mission accomplished” argument.
As it stands, however, Biden’s mission was not only not accomplished, it’s become a disaster. Biden abandoned Americans in Afghanistan in his mad rush to the exits despite promising to stick around until they all got out. All Biden cared about was getting the military out in order to stick the landing on a victory lap on the anniversary of 9/11. He pulled them out first rather than ramping up civilian evacuations while we still controlled Kabul, Bagram, and other major cities through the Afghan army. Biden then had to dispatch five thousands troops back to the Kabul airport just to secure it alone as a point of egress, and told Americans to find their way to the airport on their own.
On top of that, the victory lap would have had to acknowledge that Biden’s incompetence has put Afghanistan back in the hands of the Taliban. The Haqqanis, close allies to 9/11 perpetrators al-Qaeda, now control the country’s security forces. Women and journalists are once again being beaten in the street, and the best his State Department can offer in response is a lame lament about the Taliban’s lack of gender diversity. Meanwhile, Americans remain trapped in Afghanistan, and the Biden administration can’t even say for sure how many there are — and shamefully keep excluding legal permanent residents from those totals.
Small wonder that Biden won’t show up to speak on 9/11 after the disgrace of the last few weeks. There aren’t many presidents who can spike the ball after losing the game on a safety and make it look like victory.