As the U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan winds down, the risks that were anticipated are unfolding in tragic ways. On Thursday a terrorist suicide bomber killed scores of people assembled at the gates of the airport in Kabul. Twelve of them were American soldiers. It was the deadliest day for the U.S. military in Afghanistan in years.
President Biden addressed the American people from the White House to pay tribute to the deceased heroes, to assure the terrorists that they will pay a steep price, and to comfort a grieving nation.
Biden then took questions from the press. Many of the questions were relevant and produced useful information. However, one question was brazenly slanted and intended only to assign blame at a time when the nation was more focused securing those in danger and apprehending the perpetrators. That question was asked by Peter Doocy of Fox News, of course:
Doocy: Mr. President, there had not been a U.S. service member killed in combat in Afghanistan since February of 2020. You set a deadline. You pulled troops out. You sent troops back in. And now twelve Marines are dead. You said the buck stops with you. Do you bear any responsibility for the way things have unfolded in the past two weeks?
Biden: I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that's happened of late. But here's the deal: You know – I wish you one day say these things – you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that we would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1. In return the commitment was made – that was the year before – in return he was given the commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others, but would not attack any American forces. Remember that?
To his credit, Biden showed the integrity to accept full responsibility for the somber duties he performs as Commander in Chief. Doocy's attempt to make this all about some facile form of guilt was intended to malign the President. It didn't work.
To the contrary, Biden flipped the question back on Doocy, asking him to recall that it was Donald Trump who made the deal with the Taliban to remove all American forces by May 1st – four months sooner – in exchange for lifting all sanctions and freeing 5,000 of their imprisoned fighters. That's a deal that Trump's own National Security Advisor called a “surrender agreement.”
Trump never had a plan to end the war or evacuate Americans and Afghan allies. That's a failing that was pointed out on Wednesday in response to yet another ill-advised question by Doocy. And as tensions mount, Fox News seems to be having trouble fulfilling their mission to undermine Democrats in government service. They even had a reporter chastise Republicans for leaping in front of the terrorist bombing story for their own selfish political advantage.
Doocy's efforts to politicize and trivialize the painful loss of life in Afghanistan is typical for Fox News. No story has any significance to them unless it can be exploited to hurt Democrats. Which is why Doocy and his handlers composed their question as a club with which to beat up on Biden. The only problem is that they are just so bad at it that it rarely, if ever, works.
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