It's a mark of just what an utter fiasco is the Biden Afghanistan abandonment that Morning Joe, normally a solicitous supporter of all things Biden, devoted a scathing opening segment today to lambasting Biden's mishandling of the situation.
Among the highlights was Joe Scarborough scoffing at the Baghdad Bob imitation by Biden's State Department spokesman, Ned Price. The show rolled a clip of Price managing to keep a straight face while saying:
"The message we are sending to the people of Afghanistan is one of enduring partnership. This is not abandonment. This is not an evacuation. This is not the wholesale withdrawal. What this is, is a reduction in the size of our civilian footprint."
Scarborough scoffed that an abandonment and wholesale withdrawal "is exactly what it is."
Morning Joe then brought on MSNBC analyst, retired Navy Admiral and Supreme Allied Commander Europe James Stavridis, to absolutely unload on Biden's abandonment of Afghanistan. Calling it a "very dark moment," Stavridis predicted the result will be the re-establishment there of Al Qaeda and ISIS, with a "risk to the homeland, in my view, and secondly, a deterioration in how our allies think about us."
That latter comment is, of course, a flat contradiction of Biden's repeated boast that, thanks to his election, "America is back" in the eyes of our allies.
In another shot, Stavridis said that the winners of the Biden abandonment will be "Russia and China, who will point to this as they consolidate gains globally."
Willie Geist sounded a very ominous note in reacting to Stavridis's prediction that Al Qaeda and ISIS will once again be using Afghanistan as a base for terrorist operations. Said Geist:
"Precisely what everyone feared: that Afghanistan returns to what it was on September 10th 2001."
Here's the transcript.
6:07 AM EDT
WILLIE GEIST: Despite the accelerated exit, State Department spokesman Ned Price insisted yesterday the United States has not given up on the Afghan people.
NED PRICE: Well, the message we are sending to the people of Afghanistan is one of enduring partnership. This is not abandonment. This is not an evacuation. This is not the wholesale withdrawal. What this is, is a reduction in the size of our civilian footprint.
. . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Ned Price at the State Department said this wasn't abandonment, this wasn't evacuation. It's exactly what it is.
. . .
JAMES STAVRIDIS: This administration, it seems quite clear. They going to cut the cord and get out. So, we've got to be thinking about follow-on steps in an even that ensures that American citizens, our allies, those who worked alongside of us, the interpreters for example, can get out as well. Very dark moment.
. . .
We are failing in keeping the leverage here. At this point there's really no way back that I can see for the administration.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Admiral, again, talking about the United States of America, and our place in the world. We’re not Aruba or Luxembourg. We can’t wash our hands of a situation because we grow tired or bored of it.
. . .
And the United States, I'm sorry: can you explain why the United States can't just say, you know, we're tired of this. We're going to leave Iraq. We're tired of this. We're just going to leave Afghanistan. We've done enough. And well, if they lose, well, tough luck. Can you please explain if people haven't been paying attention over the past few decades what happens when the United States just says, we're bored, we're going home?
STAVRIDIS: Yeah, let’s start with the high potential, in my view, that the Taliban come in, go back to being international pariahs, and permit Al Qaeda to come back into play. They have lied about every single thing they agreed to in the run-up to this. So why we think there’s going to be a sudden, new Taliban 2.0 who not only provide human rights — not going to happen. But also push out Al Qaeda, the Islamic State? Not going to happen. So, we've got a risk to the homeland and to our allies. Secondly, Joe, to your point, what does this look like globally when people see us step away from a problem, as you say?
. . .
In any event, good deal, bad deal. This is a done deal. I don’t think the administration is going to come back.
And you’re going to see both risk to the homeland, in my view, and secondly, a deterioration in how our allies think about us. And who’s the upside? The upside is for Russia and China, who will point to this as they consolidate gains globally.
GEIST: Precisely what everyone feared: that Afghanistan returns to what it was on September 10th 2001.