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Sad to say Lunch Bucket Joe is providing you and the rest of us plenty of items to comment on. But with all the clamor about Joe’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan and the ensuing chaos, I’m not so sure he’s actually calling the shots here. I don’t think and truly believe there are figures behind the scenes cuing the President up every time he supposedly makes a move. And it seems the moves he makes are handled so clumsily, why, it’s almost as if Obama never left office. Or Carter for that matter. LBJ is another story. And Clinton, for all his bravado, is responsible for Mogadishu. Are Democrats just lost as far as foreign policy is concerned? Or do they let their egos, (Johnson, Obama) get in the way of listening to their advisers? Or are their advisers just political hacks like Blinken who are truly out of their league? — Rod A.
I’ve written that I believe Joe Biden is sitting in the back seat looking out the side window while somebody else is driving the car. So to that extent, Rod, I’m with you. But in this case, he might actually be the one who called the shots regarding the August 31 firm deadline for leaving. He may also have rejected advice from the military. And yes, Democrats have had their share of foreign policy screwups but they’re not alone. Iraq? That was a Republican president’s screwup. And Trump was going to pull out of Afghanistan too — and we can only guess how that would have gone. Biden’s advisers may be in over their heads but so was George W. Bush’s advisors out of their league. Neither party has a monopoly on bad foreign policy decisions.
Was the suicide bombings in Afghanistan the saddest day you’ve experienced since the 70’s in regards to how our Government’s incompetence has led to such disastrous consequences (that could have been avoided if politics didn’t overrule sound military response & logistical practices)? I’ll never be convinced that the US Military agreed to the logistical order of operations to execute this withdrawal. It makes zero sense to me. Who then will investigate and report on for us the decision making that got us in this specific mess? Who really “instructed” Joe on how to execute this plan? –ScottyG
You ask an important question, Scotty: Who really “instructed” the president on his plan? As I’ve said before, while others are calling a lot of the shots, on Afghanistan,Mr. Biden may have been so determined to leave on a date certain that this is all on him. Even Democrats aren’t happy and they say they plan to hold hearings. Let’s see if they do.
Bernie, in a relatively short period of time Joe Biden has managed to insert himself in the pantheon of worst Presidents this country has ever suffered though. All my liberal friends are eerily quiet of late. They were eerily loud when Trump ran the show in what now must seem to them, an amazingly competent manner. — Thomas C.
You know things are going bad for Biden when his pals in the liberal media are holding him accountable … when Democrats hold hearings on what happened in Afghanistan … and when your liberal friends are eerily quiet of late. No fooling. That’s a real sign that the president is in hot water.
Hi Bernie. It’s been a while for me, but I need to suggest a point to you on your latest about ‘the best and brightest’ in [Monday’s] column. It’s a subtle quibble, I’ll admit, but a crucial one. You wrote this….”They told us there were “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. There weren’t.”
Now, while this contention –my word, to you, contention– has a great deal of substance supporting it, there’s a crucial facet to the question that needs inclusion/consideration. Simply….the president, as Commander In Chief with the sworn responsibility to ‘protect and defend’, must always have the best information available to manage situations and make life and death decisions that affect the entire nation. And that requirement imposes (often, but not always) tremendous risk on our armed forces to provide that data/information which then leads to dangerous missions.
Recall, Cuba 1962, JFK authorized additional U2 flights over the island to keep him up to date so that he was well informed well after the discovery and documentation of the presence of offensive missiles in Cuba was verified. Why? Remember, it did result in loss of life (pilots) when those planes (thought to be safe beyond the reach of AAA) did come under fire by new Russian anti-aircraft artillery missiles. Wrong? I suggest ‘NO’. Every person in that situation from JFK on down understand what his duty was. Sometimes people die, that’s life.
Now, Iraq 2003. Recall Mr. David Kay who opined publicly that Saddam Hussein ‘did everything to convince us that he had nuclear weapons except actually having them’ ….my paraphrase, I apologize. Well, what was the (then) president (GWB) to do in such a situation? There was no sure way to know OTHER THAN BOOTS ON THE GROUND…..an invasion. Again, every man, and woman, knew the mission and what their duty was. Sometimes people die, that’s life.
Now beyond that the two situations become quite different and we likely agree that Iraq then became a tragedy like Vietnam. But, the decision taken by the Commander in Chief in both those situations AT THAT PRECISE MOMENT was the correct one regardless of the NOW acknowledged stupidity of the ‘best and brightest’
Life…..a ball of excrement hurtling through the void of space with just enough regularity to nurture life so that the great human comedy of it all can continue. Be well, take care, I am a dedicated reader/listener who surfaces occasionally…. — Andrew M.
I’m not saying President Bush acted on his own. I’m 100% certain he acted based on what the intelligence community told him. But what they told him was wrong. There were no weapons of mass destruction. We went to war on bad information. The “best and brightest” — the “smart” crowd at the CIA and other places — screwed up.
I have always believed Biden to be a one term president, likely by choice. Could it be that political soul mates in media believe the same thing thereby minimizing risk of occasional criticism? What say you? — Jesse B.
I’m with you, Jesse, on him being a one term president. But I think his allies in the media took him on because … if they didn’t, their credibility, their reputation, would go down the drain. They weren’t concerned about him; they were concerned about themselves.
If you could’ve given advise to any president during the War on Terror, how would you suggest he handle our dealings in Afghanistan, including our withdrawal? — D-Rock
That’s way over my capabilities, D-Rock. But since he knew he wanted to leave Afghanistan even before he was elected, he should have started to implement his evacuation plan on the day he took the oath of office. He waited too long and we got chaos as a result. I also think that humility goes a long way. Instead of steadfastly sticking by his bad decisions, he should have gone on television and admitted his mistakes. But that’s not what politicians do, is it?
President Biden has a tendency to mention Beau Biden, his service, and loss to cancer in his speeches. I believe he did so in each of his televised speeches on Afghanistan. While I have sympathy for Mr. Biden for the tragedies he has endured in his family, and I respect Beau Biden’s legacy of military and public service, I don’t believe that Mr. Biden’s references to his son help. I understand that he is trying to convey empathy to the families of our fallen and his personal commitment to end the war. However, it comes across as Mr. Biden is too consumed with this loss to be able to make the necessary military decisions that might put troops in harm’s way. Or the effective decisions needed that when our troops are in harm’s way, they can adequately defend and protect themselves. It just seems to be the justification of his “Out At Any Cost” policy. And that policy is failing spectacularly. I would be curious to read your thought about this. — Hendrick G.
I too have sympathy for the loss of his son. So, to some extent, I understand why he talks about it as much as he does. But … to talk about his loss to the parents of those servicemen and women who were killed, was a mistake. They were understandably offended.
Recently, 90 retired generals and admirals wrote a letter demanding the resignations of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley. In a nutshell, the letter brings up the disastrous cluster f—k that was the withdrawal from Afghanistan, along with the apparent desires of these men to push woke politics into the military instead of the ability to win wars. My question is this: although I never served in the military, I’ve known many that did. How in the world (do YOU) believe two intelligent military men like Milley and Austin fall for the woke political nonsense? I would think their combined experiences would have taught them that politically correct wokeness has no place in the armed forces and that such crap would actually weaken our military rather than strengthen it. Your thoughts are appreciated. — “Drop & Give Me 50 Lines From Ibrahim X Kendy” Regards from The Emperor
It seems like everything is political these days — even the stuff that comes out of the mouths of “two intelligent military men.” That’s the best I’ve got. Can you imagine Patton spouting woke crapola? I know that’s a tad unfair since “woke” didn’t exist in Patton’s time. But as an Emperor yourself, I’m sure you catch my drift.
I have started watching Bill Maher and CNN again, not because they have come over to the right side (pun very much intended), but because they are willing to be intellectually honest now and call BS on the their fellow libs when it is warranted. Like most of us on the right, I don’t expect them to all of a sudden become conservative, but can’t we all be objective adults when analyzing current events? Do you think this is the coda for Trump Derangement Syndrome? I certainly hope so. I notice on my news feeds that the only mentions of Orange Man are on the leftist web sites. — Steve R.
I think Maher is an old-fashioned lefty — one who really believes in liberal ideas. And so when liberals become illiberal, when they become authoritarian, he calls them out. CNN is a slightly different case, I think. CNN has held Mr. Biden accountable because, as I’ve said earlier, it’s their own credibility and reputation they’re concerned about. If they gave the president a pass, they’d lose what little credibility they still have. So good for them — for now. But it won’t be long, I think, before they and other liberal news outlets revert to form and once again cover for the man they were rooting for in the last election. I could be wrong, of course … so let’s wait and see.
Mr. Goldberg, I subscribe to the position that President Biden is little more than a puppet for the rabid left-wingers he allowed to infest his inner circle. My question is in regard to your opinion about the role of his wife in all this. Normally, one’s spouse is the closest and most trusted advisor and confidant we have, candidly providing counsel for all things and caring for each other “in sickness and in health”. But it seems that (Doctor) Jill Biden has completely acquiesced to having her husband regarded as a buffoon without making any effort to either protect him or help him (and his country) survive his descent into mental oblivion. Do you think she has been ostracized, dissuaded, or otherwise blocked from her duties as a wife by the powers behind the throne, or does she just want the inevitable gravy train available to First Ladies and does not care what her husband’s legacy will be? – Al L.
I’m glad she’s keeping a low profile. Nobody elects the spouses of presidents so the less they say about public policy matters, the better. And I’m sure that she sees the criticism as political and may complain about it in private but it’s a good thing that she’s not defending her husband in public. That’s how I see it anyway.
Yesterday I watched a recap of the President’s comments as I can only take good ole Joe in small doses. I found it incredulous that Mr. Biden claimed that all his national security team endorsed the closure of the Bagram airbase and the firm exit date of August 31st. If I was in the position of advising our current President and he wanted to remove all forces from Afghanistan, I would have suggested that he announce our planned departure, with evacuations of all U.S. citizens and other qualified stakeholders beginning on August 1st with the beginning of force reduction concurrently. The departures will be affected via Bagram Air Base and the Airport in Kabul. The exodus will be conducted in an orderly fashion and conclude when all qualified evacuees are safely removed from the theater of operation. With all of the high-priced brainpower at the President’s disposal, how could it be possible that everyone agreed to an exit strategy with so few options and a time constraint that didn’t provide some flexibility? — Douglas C.
Maybe they didn’t all agree on the exit strategy. Maybe they gave him advice that he rejected. Or maybe his advisers are not all that smart. Someone screwed up — and we need to know how it happened … so it doesn’t, hopefully, happen again.
Remember “Saving Private Ryan.” That’s when most of us first heard the term: FUBAR. Does that describe the current mess in Afghanistan to you? As noble as the motive is to stop the deployment of our troops and pull out of that conflict is, the way this administration went about it and messed it up is beyond description. Do you think it was just Biden wanting to look good for the upcoming Sept. 11th anniversary so he could preen like a peacock? Who do you think was behind these disastrous decisions? Someone has to held accountable don’t you think? No one has stepped forward and resigned or been fired. Why do you think that is? Just when I thought the news couldn’t be any worse about 13 wonderful young Americans being killed and then the military abandoning Americans and helpful Afghans as well leaving billions in equipment and an air base, I heard on the news more than 200 dogs, many of which were service animals, were left behind. Americans love their dogs and are outraged. How do you wrap your arms around all of that? — Warren
FUBAR — F’d up beyond all repair. That’s a pretty good description of what we witnessed in Kabul. Joe Biden wanted us out — not matter what. He said we would stay beyond his self imposed August 31 deadline to get all Americans out … and then broke his promise. At some point we’re going to get whistleblowers tell us what went on behind the scenes. I hope it comes soon.
Hi, Bernie, great “off the cuff” commentary. In answer to your question, Joe Biden was never a very intelligent person as highlighted by his history, and his ability to think today has clearly been diminished. So, I don’t think that they he even thought about whether the Taliban will honor their commitment, or if they don’t, he’ll use sanctions or something else economically to hurt them. Of course, that won’t bother them at all. Let’s see if I’m right on this one. Stay tuned as Joe’s handlers and the State Department use bribery money to get our American citizens back. And, of course, the corrupt media will do nothing about it except to say, we got them back, what’s your problem? Of course, if this was Donald Trump, it would be a different story with the media, which is why I turned them off years ago and listen to Bill O’Reilly and you. — Jerry G.
Unfortunately, I think you nailed it, Jerry. I say “unfortunately” because you describe a situation that doesn’t instill confidence in the president or his team. I wish it weren’t the case, but like you, I suspect it is.
Of course you are completely correct in all of [this week’s “Off the Cuff”] observations. If I were a space alien studying to understand this contradictory human species I might recognize a significant leadership vacuum as a feature of free peoples over time. Our memories are indeed short. To me the question is this: is it too late to shore up this damaged, cynical and stressed experiment of liberal democracy? Or will we revert to humankind’s historical default position of kings, potentates, princes and dictators? Each new day finds me personally glad to be on this end of my existence with the caveat of concern for those who will be left behind in the storm. — Jesse B.
We’ll survive this, Jesse. We’ve survived a Great Depression, two World Wars, many examples of run of the mill political stupidity. Not to worry about reverting to a historical default position where kings and the like run the show. In our system, dumbasses too often run the show. I’m taking nominations for a Benevolent Despot. Got any?
Bernie, Mediaite has been documenting a situation going on in Fox News prime-time, in which Tucker Carlson keeps trashing Senator Lindsey Graham on his show, and complaining that Graham won’t come on for an interview, and then — less than an hour later — Graham shows up on Sean Hannity’s show (same network and building) for an interview.
Do you believe this is all leading up to a sweeps week ploy, in which Carlson will invade Hannity’s set during a live broadcast, and attempt to ambush-interview Graham, thus setting up a professional wrestling match between Carlson and Hannity on a special episode of Watters World… with Greg Gutfeld as the referee and Jeanine Pirro as the ring announcer? — John D.
I don’t know but I’m sure of this: It would make for great TV. All the Fox yahoos in one place at one time. It would make Kabul look tame by comparison. But to your less-absurd point, John D — about Carlson trashing Senator Graham. That’s really strange. Something deeply personal is going on. And whatever it is, there’s a good chance that if/when it comes out, it’ll make Tucker Carlson look like a jerk.
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