The debacle in Afghanistan isn’t Biden’s fault. We were all misled for years about U.S. successes in Afghanistan.

A young Afghan girl observes as coalition aircraft provide aerial security during a village clearing operation in northern Khakrez District, May 25, 2011, Kandahar province, Afghanistan. “Operations such as these, conducted by Afghan Commandos with the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Commando Kandak and U.S. Navy SEALs with Special Operations Task Force — South, help legitimize the government of Afghanistan and hinder Taliban influence in the area. Also assisting during the operation were members of the Afghan national police and Ghorak District Chief of Police Alam Guhl. Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force — Afghanistan Media Operations Center.” (Photo: Sgt. Daniel P. Shook)

Readers of the New York Times might have been shocked this morning to see the following headline: “To Save His Presidency, Biden Must Tell the Truth About Afghanistan.

The implication, that President Joe Biden is not only deliberately misleading the American public on the subject of Afghanistan, but also that his presidency is in need of saving, is hard to miss.

Biden, who has only been on the job for 8 short months, was endorsed by the New York Times only last year, a publication that openly supports the Democratic Party platform and progressive policies.

For a news publication to endorse a political candidate puts it in a very tenuous position from a journalistic standpoint once that candidate is elected: Defend the endorsement of Joe Biden by the New York Times by defending Joe Biden or cover the Biden Administration with the hard-eyed clarity of the Trump years?

Plenty of Democrats are rallying to Joe Biden’s side, even as the White House struggles with cohesive messaging. Other Democrats, and certainly Republicans with an eye on taking back the House in the mid-terms- and now maybe even the Senate- haven’t been as generous.

Joe Biden may indeed have erred in his over-estimation of U.S.-trained troops in the Afghan army. He might have also badly underestimated the Taliban. Getting to the bottom of what went wrong, and is still going wrong, in Afghanistan is going to take time, a searchingly honest moral inventory, and real accountability.

But that process doesn’t begin with an indictment of Joe Biden’s presidency, which is still in its infancy.

Is it any wonder, really, that the presidential administration which ended up drawing the short-straw of the Afghanistan drawdown didn’t nail it?

As the Washington Post’s Afghanistan Papers revealed, U.S. officials have misled other U.S. officials, and the American public, for over a decade- overestimating U.S. successes in Afghanistan.

Confidential documents reveal U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan

The Afghanistan Papers A secret history of the war By A confidential trove of government documents obtained by The…


As Warren Buffet once said: “When the tide goes out, you can see who has been swimming naked.”

Buffet was referring to difficult times in the financial markets. Savvy investors with diverse portfolios who have done their due diligence can usually survive the odd downturn. Investors who are overextended, operating in the red, with a flawed business model can’t survive a downturn.

They might have been getting away with it when the market was up and everyone was flush. The down trends tell another story.

This week, the tide went out in Afghanistan and the U.S. foreign policy, intelligence, and military apparatus in Afghanistan was exposed for the shoddy business practices of the past two decades.

When the Taliban rolled into Kabul, there could be no more pretending as if all has been going well for U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. If all had been going well, as we all were led to believe, including Joe Biden, his actions this week would have made perfect sense.

Things might have worked out okay, too.

Biden operated under these constant and ongoing assurances that American efforts at training the Afghan army and nation building were going, “great, boss, just great; nothing to worry about over here in Afghanistan.”

A U.S. President misleading the American public about U.S. military success in Afghanistan isn’t unusual; far from it. The Times should also note that four successive U.S. presidential administrations- two Republican and two Democrat- have misled the voting public to various degrees on U.S. military successes in Afghanistan.

After this week, all those fudged numbers, overly-rosy predictions and optimistic yarns uncovered by the Washington Post in the Afghanistan Papers have been fully exposed for all to see in the most embarrassing, public, and cruelest manner imaginable.

As far as American military successes in Afghanistan, we have now been forced to confront an irrefutable truth; there weren’t any.

Any gains made were illusory, and so fragile as to have barely existed at all. Osama bin Laden, mastermind of 9/11, may indeed be long dead, but his organization, and others like it, are obviously still very much alive and well.

As the New York Times rightly pointed out this morning: “All presidents lie at times, but those who admit mistakes, particularly obvious ones, can retain their popularity.”

Though it is true that all presidents lie to the American people, some do it far more successfully than others. Voters not only expect politicians to lie, polls indicate they don’t even mind all that much.

What Americans do mind, is being forced to confront the reality of our failures in Afghanistan in such a brutal manner. In this particular case, layers of lies, told over decades, led the U.S. Commander and Chief to operate under false information.

What happened in Afghanistan this week is the result of over a decade of misleading information fed to U.S. officials and the American public about our successes. For insight into failures in Afghanistan, don’t look at Joe Biden.

The real culprit is over a decade of spin about how successful the U.S. has been in Afghanistan. Who is most responsible for this deluge of misinformation, which led to this terrible disaster, is a question worth asking.

How they were able to so successfully lie, and for so long, is a question the New York Times should be asking itself.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)