We're in trouble. REAL trouble!
That's what you have when Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agree that Joe Biden doesn't know what's going on in Afghanistan.
I'm not joking.
Both appeared on Sunday talk shows.
First, it was Blinken – then Austin.
Fox's Chris Wallace pressed Blinken to answer a simple question: "Mr. Secretary, does the president not know what's going on" in Afghanistan?
Joe Biden had told the American people that al-Qaida "was gone" from Afghanistan.
Here's what Blinken said.
"This is an incredibly emotional time for many of us, and including allies and partners who've been shoulder to shoulder with us in Afghanistan for 20 years, at high costs themselves as well as us," Blinken responded. "They stood with us after 9/11, invoked Article Five of NATO for the first time, an attack on one is an attack on all, and we've been there together. But I got to tell you this, Chris, from the get go, I spent more time with our NATO partners in Brussels, virtually from before the president made his decision to when he made his decision to every time since. We've been working very, very closely together. We've gotten the G7 together, NATO together, the U.N. Security Council together, we had 113 countries, thanks to our diplomacy, to put out a clear understanding of the Taliban's requirements to let people leave the country."
"Sir, respectfully that, that look, I'm not questioning whether or not the allies have a right to complain. I'm not questioning whether or not al-Qaida has a presence," Wallace responded. "The president said, al-Qaida is gone. It's not gone. The president said he's not heard any criticism from the allies. There's been a lot of criticism from the allies. Words matter, and the words of the president matter most."
"Chris, all I can tell you is what I've heard," Blinken said. "And again, this is a powerfully emotional time for a lot of allies and partners as it is for me, as it is for us."
That's called a dodge.
What are we to conclude?
Later, in a separate interview with ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Austin said that intelligence assessments on the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan predicted the Taliban could retake the country in a matter of months, appearing to contradict Biden's reassurances less than a month before that a Taliban takeover was not inevitable.
"There were assessments that ranged initially from one to two years to, you know, several months," he said. "But it was a wide range of assessments. And as the Taliban began to make gains, and we saw that in a number of cases there was less fighting and more surrendering and more forces just kind of evaporating, it was very difficult to predict with accuracy.
"This all occurred in a span of about 11 days," he added. "Nobody predicted that, you know, the government would fall in 11 days."
Asked by Raddatz whether he thought the planning for the military's withdrawal from the region was "acceptable and appropriate," Austin responded, "I do, based upon what we were looking at."
Why? Who was in charge of closely monitoring the situation on the ground?
July 8, when confronted by a reporter who said, "Your own intelligence community has assessed that the Afghan government will likely collapse," Biden fired back at the time, saying, "That is not true."
"They did not reach that conclusion," the president said. "The Afghan government and leadership has to come together. They clearly have the capacity to sustain the government in place. The question is: Will they generate the kind of cohesion to do it? It's not a question of whether they have the capacity. They have the capacity."
"There's not a conclusion that, in fact, they cannot defeat the Taliban," he added.
Asked directly at the time whether a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was "inevitable," Biden responded, "No, it is not."
That's just naïve – or worse. In fact, it's stupid. Everyone knew we were pulling out of Afghanistan. Why did we wait so long?
Biden spoke from the White House on Monday, saying the Taliban's retaking of Afghanistan 20 years after their ouster by U.S.-led forces "did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated" but that he still stood "squarely behind" his decision to withdraw troops.
I heard Biden say, in his own words, the Afghan forces had one of the largest armies in the region – boasting some 300,000 troops trained by the U.S.
What on earth was he waiting for to begin an orderly, effective withdrawal and prevent a massacre?
It's pretty evident Biden is not up to the task of making judgments. He's had eight months to prepare!
Once again, the American people need to know: Who's in charge of the nation's policies?
Who is the real president?
Secretary of state won’t say if Biden knows ‘what’s going on’
We're in trouble. REAL trouble!