(USA Features) Most major American media outlets on Tuesday tore into Joe Biden’s disastrous handling of the U.S. military pullout in Afghanistan in a rare show of unity against a Democratic president.
On Monday during an address to the nation, Biden appeared to lay the blame for the collapse of the Afghan government and military on them rather than take responsibility for a haphazard, poorly planned and executed withdrawal from the country, which led to chaos in the streets of the capital of Kabul as Taliban forces entered the city virtually unopposed.
In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal ripped Biden because he “refused to accept responsibility for the botched withdrawal while blaming others,” adding that the “one group he conspicuously did not blame was the Taliban.”
A Washington Post editorial noted that Biden could have listened to the “many seasoned hands” giving him alternatives to withdrawing in the manner he allowed. The paper added that Biden laying the blame on others was “unseemly” since 2,448 US service members died fighting in Afghanistan over 20 years.
The New York Post, meanwhile, pointed out that no U.S. soldiers had died in Afghanistan over the previous 18 months, meaning “he alone is responsible” for the rapid Taliban takeover. The Post also described the result as an “utter catastrophe, for Afghans and for world security.”
An opinion piece in left-leaning CNN by a retired soldier called Afghanistan’s collapse a “willful abandonment” of the country and its people, adding that the withdrawal of American and NATO forces “left the tribes of Afghanistan little choice but capitulation.”
An opinion piece in USA Today was gentler with Biden, saying he “bears some of the blame for the catastrophic collapse,” but added “there is plenty to go around.”
That piece also said that Biden was “dealt his losing hand by Bush, Obama and Trump,” suggesting that the current president wasn’t free to make his own Afghan policies, which makes little sense.
The Post also noted that one of the top Taliban leaders now in charge was once a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay but that then-President Barack Obama freed him. And a headline in the left-wing New York Daily News featured a photo of Afghan men attempting to cling to a U.S. C-17 cargo plane with the headline, “Calamity Plane.”
“He blamed Donald Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban and falsely claimed again that he was trapped. He blamed his three predecessors for not getting out of Afghanistan,” the WSJ editorial noted.
“He blamed the Afghans for not fighting hard enough, their leaders for fleeing, and even Afghans who helped us for not leaving sooner. The one group he conspicuously did not blame was the Taliban, who once harbored Osama bin Laden and may protect his terrorist successor,” the paper added.
The Washington Post’s editorial said Biden “could have listened to the many seasoned hands – inside and outside his own administration – who advised him that there were alternatives to precipitous, unconditional withdrawal.”
The “blame-shifting is especially unseemly given that some 66,000 Afghan fighters have given their lives in this war during the past 20 years, alongside 2,448 US service members,” the Post continued.
CNN’s Jake Tapper also criticized Biden right after the president gave his address Tuesday afternoon for “finger-pointing.”
“The president said that the buck stopped with him, but in fact, the speech was full of finger-pointing and blame, especially for the Afghans,” he said.
“Whether or not the US should continue to be there he did not get in to, or accept any blame for the catastrophic exit we’ve been watching on television in the last several days,” Tapper noted further.