Reuters has a bombshell report about a July phone call between Joe Biden and then-Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, in which the US president promises military aid in return for lies.
The “perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” says Biden in the July 23 call. “And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
Whether it is true or not.
No, things weren’t going well, three weeks after the US abandoned Bagram Airfield in the dead of night.
Biden’s solution was to create the “perception” that all was fine. He wanted to keep the illusion going long enough to cover his Aug. 31 self-imposed deadline to withdraw US troops and have a victory lap on September 11th, when he would preen as the first president to end the forever war.
So he asked Ghani to trick up an event to make it look as if he had a plan to push back on the Taliban to reassure America’s allies who were beginning to question Biden’s timetable.
“I don’t know whether you’re aware,” said Biden, “just how much the perception around the world is that this is looking like a losing proposition . . . so the conclusion I’m asking you to consider is to bring together everyone from [ex-Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid] Dostum, to [ex-President Hamid] Karzai and in between. If they stand there and say they back the strategy you put together, and put a warrior in charge, you know a military man . . . in charge of executing that strategy, and that will change perception.”
Ghani tried to explain that the situation was dire: “Mr. President, we are facing a full-scale invasion, composed of Taliban, full Pakistani planning and logistical support, and at least 10-15,000 international terrorists.”
He begged for US air support. “What is crucial is, close air support . . . a very heavy reliance on air power.”
The Afghan army was based on the US model, which relies on air support for enemy strikes, ferrying the wounded, and so on. But the contractors who serviced Afghan aircraft had left, leaving the Afghan army exposed.
Biden offered conditional air support, in return for Ghani going along with his ruse, but only until his Aug. 31 deadline. After that, “who knows?”
“Was the president in any way pushing a false narrative in that call?” a reporter asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki Wednesday after the Reuters story broke.
“I am not going to go into the details of a private conversation,” she replied.
Hah! That sure wasn’t the Democrats’ standard when they impeached Donald Trump last year over a leaked phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. That was when Trump was accused of pressuring Ukraine to investigate credible allegations that Biden had pressured Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating a company that had paid Joe’s son Hunter $4 million.
Biden’s call with Ghani was just as self-serving and more harmful to US interests, but don’t expect Congress to pursue it.
Reuters also reported on a call to Ghani from Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was equally focused on turning around global “perceptions” of reality.
“The perception in the United States, in Europe and the media sort of thing is a narrative of Taliban momentum, and a narrative of Taliban victory,” Milley said in the call, also on July 23. “We need to collectively . . . try to turn that perception, that narrative around.”
But the problem was not the perception. The problem was the reality that the Taliban was winning.
Denial of reality is not a winning formula. It’s a psychological malady, and it appears to have fogged thinking at Foggy Bottom as well. Vanity Fair describes the delusional mindset afflicting the State Department in the months leading up to the Afghanistan withdrawal as “pathologic optimism.”
This wilful naiveté of Biden and his urbane secretary of State, Antony Blinken, was designed to provide plausible deniability when everything went wrong in Afghanistan, as they knew it would. Their only mistake was thinking Ghani and his army would hang around until September 11th.
The president probably thinks the lies will keep working since his presidential campaign was such a triumph of perception over reality. Democrats pretended that he was a candidate of sound mind and good character whose empathy, integrity and foreign-policy expertise would restore America’s soul.
They got away with it only because the media and Big Tech conspired to fool the American people.
But a new Rasmussen poll shows that voters no longer buy the delusion — a majority think Biden should resign over the Afghanistan debacle. The problem is most don’t think VP Kamala Harris is qualified to replace him.
And that is our predicament for the next three years.