It is rare that a CNN reporter or analyst starts off his reporting using almost the exact words and phrases to describe something President Biden did, or has nearly identical conclusions, to something I wrote.
But in today’s world surprises abound. On July 10, Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst, wrote a piece about Biden’s deceptively rosy Afghanistan withdrawal speech in strikingly similar terms to what I used a day earlier in my July 9 piece.
Imitation may be the best form of flattery. And CNN was right to agree with me.
In my piece the day before, I wrote: “During his recent address to the American people, President Joe Biden tried to explain his reckless and ill-advised Afghan withdrawal that is increasingly turning into a disaster.” I added: “Based on the overwhelming reporting for Afghanistan, Biden’s rosy optimism is either an outright lie, or as he likes to say, total ‘malarky,’ or he is delusional beyond repair.”
In his piece the next day, titled ‘The worst speech of Biden’s presidency,’ Bergen began, “On Thursday President Joe Biden spoke in defense of his ill-considered, hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, in remarks peopled [sic] with straw men and littered with false assertions.” Bergen concluded: “To use another trademark Biden expression, his Afghanistan speech was a bunch of malarkey.”
To his credit, Bergen goes into much more depth and detail as to why Biden’s speech was a total crock of horse puckey. Bergen notes:
First, Biden contended that he was bound by a 2020 Trump administration agreement with the Taliban to withdraw all US troops by May 2021. But that was an agreement conducted by a previous administration — so it’s not binding — and it was predicated on the Taliban breaking with al-Qaeda.
They didn’t, according to the UN in a report released just last month.
…Biden is now honoring an agreement with an insurgent/terrorist group that is not abiding by the terms of the deal that was negotiated last year by the Trump team.
In an analysis I have used repeatedly, Bergen demolished Biden (and Trump’s nonsensical argument about ‘never ending wars” and commitments. And how little this withdrawal aids the U.S. in its face-off with China. Bergen continues:
Biden said that the US can’t be in Afghanistan “indefinitely,” yet there are some 28,000 US troops in South Korea three-quarters of a century after the end of the Korean War, because the US has a strategic interest in defending the country against the nuclear armed North Korean despot, Kim Jong Un.
So too, the US could have left its 2,500 troops in place in Afghanistan, a force that is less than 10% of the American service personnel in South Korea, to enable the Afghan government to fight the Taliban and its jihadist allies, such as al Qaeda.
Fourth, Biden speciously implied that if the US has troops in Afghanistan then somehow it won’t be strong enough to “meet the strategic competition with China and other nations.”
After his speech, Bergen noted, “Biden told reporters that it’s “highly unlikely” that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan, which is not what his own intelligence community is warning.” They give our Afghan allies as little as six months without direct U.S. support.
In words Biden is certain to soon regret, Bergen concluded by noting that Biden also said in response to questions, there were no parallels “whatsoever” to Vietnam in 1975: “There’s going to be no circumstance for you to see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan.” Biden proclaimed this even as Bergen confirmed US military planners are preparing for just such an urgent evacuation as one of its contingencies.
Kudos to Peter Bergen and CNN for some truly solid analysis and for following AND’s lead on this critical topic. ADN