'Time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace!' says former US President Donald Trump

Trump claims he would have been 'far more successful.' Has the US really squandered what it paid for 'in blood, sweat, and tears?'

Y Rabinovitz ,

President Trump
President Trump

“What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan is legendary. It will go down as one of the greatest defeats in American history!” said former US President Donald Trump this week. “It’s time for [him] to resign in disgrace.”

Trump criticized the management of evacuations from Kabul after the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban, claiming that if he had been in charge, it would have been “much more successfully” done.

“Can anyone even imagine taking out our Military before evacuating civilians and others who have been good to our Country and who should be allowed to seek refuge?” Trump added in a separate statement. “In addition, these people left topflight and highly sophisticated equipment. Who can believe such incompetence? Under my Administration, all civilians and equipment would have been removed.”

What Trump didn’t say was that under his watch, America would have remained in Afghanistan—obviously, because it was under his watch that the Taliban itself was invited to “peace talks” with the United States which culminated in the signing of an agreement in Doha, Qatar, last year. It was to this deal that current President Biden was referring when he described how he had “inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on US Forces.”

Biden noted that, “Shortly before he left office, [Trump] also drew US Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies’ Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”

Back in February, 2020, all sides appeared happy, even jubilant, at the prospect of ending a war that had already cost so much—in terms of lives and not just incredible amounts of money. According to the Doha agreement, the United States would pull out all its armed forces from Afghanistan by May, 2021, if the Taliban promised that it would “not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including Al Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”

At the time, then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the deal represented the “best opportunity for peace in a generation,” adding that the US was not about to “squander” what its soldiers “have won through blood, sweat and tears.”

According to Trump, the squandering has been done and Biden should go home in disgrace. Biden has chosen to split the blame between Trump and the Afghans themselves, saying that, “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war, and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

Mark Esper, Trump’s former Defense Secretary, divided the blame between the two presidents.

“Both had the right goal in mind—ending America’s longstanding presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote this week, “but both also failed to pursue that goal in the right way … through a political agreement among Afghans that was conditions-based, patient, and backed up by US and allied militaries. We had this, but both presidents abandoned the process and stuck to an arbitrary timeline.”

In fact, there was more than one goal in Afghanistan. Aside from America’s military-security objectives, it also had what it (once) saw as moral aims in mind with the invasion that cost so much. Many of these aims were reached, as The Guardian points out, noting that, “Over the past 20 years, infant mortality rates fell by half. Hardly any girls went to school under the first Taliban regime. Now, more than one in three teenage girls can read and write. In 2005, fewer than one in four Afghans had access to electricity. Now, almost all do.”

Whether these advances will be sustained or reversed remains to be seen. Andrew Fox, a former major in a British parachute regiment who served three tours in Afghanistan, struck a hopeful note: “There is a generation of Afghans who have been given a taste of what freedom is like, so you never know.” And recent statements by Taliban spokesmen themselves, if they are to be taken at face value, suggest that for now, at least, they are seeking to portray themselves in a favorable light.

But the question of “Was it worth it?” is certainly being asked a lot this week, most pertinently by those who paid a heavy price themselves. “Probably not,” was the reply of another British soldier, Jack Cummings. “Did I lose my legs for nothing, looks like it. Did my mates die in vain. Yep. On my 11th Bangaversary it’s a very sombre one. Many emotions going through my head, anger, betrayal sadness to name a few …”

“As one of my friends said to me,” added Fox, “it’s like the defining feature of our adult lives has turned out to be pointless. I think that’s where we all were this week.”