Blaming Americans for not leaving Afghanistan sooner repeated and infuriating thread among US officials

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The Biden administration’s new strategy for pushing back on backlash over its demonstrable incompetence vis-a-vis the evacuation of U.S. citizens from Afghanistan appears to be to blame the citizens for being there in the first place.

Speaking on CBS News this Wednesday, acting U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson complained that the Americans currently trapped in Afghanistan had ignored the State Department’s pleas for them to leave.

“We put out repeated warnings every three weeks to Americans going back to, I think, March or April, each one in stronger terms: ‘leave now,’ ‘leave immediately.’ Never in my 40 years … at the State Department have I seen such strong language used,” he said.

“People chose not to leave. That’s their business, there’s their right. We regret now that many may find themselves in a position that they would rather not be in, and we are determined to try to help them,” he added as if the administration is the hero in all this.

Notice how he said the administration is “determined to try to help.” Some suspect that if former President Donald Trump were in charge, there’d be no trying — only doing.

Listen:

Wilson’s stunning remarks weren’t made in a vacuum.

During a State Department briefing that same day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken also blamed trapped Americans for their predicament. Although unlike Wilson, he did it more subtly, and so it was a tad harder to detect.

“The specific estimated number of Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave can go up as people respond to our outreach for the first time, and it can go down when we reach Americans we thought were in Afghanistan who tell us they’ve already left,” he said.

“There could be other Americans in Afghanistan who never enrolled with the embassy, who ignored public evacuation notices, and have not yet identified themselves to us,” he added.

See what he did there?

Listen:

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has reportedly also spouted such rhetoric.

This attitude is not endearing the administration — or President Joe Biden, for that matter — to the public.

The reason why not is because, one, it’s never appropriate to blame victims, and two, it’s a clear-cut deflection from the administration’s failures.

Issuing warnings — or sending “lots of emails & texts,” as former Fox News personality Heather Nauert put it — isn’t doing much.

According to critics, the administration should have been begun evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghan allies months in advance.

Instead, the administration dithered, all as Biden falsely promised that everything would be OK — thus arguably giving those Americans still in Afghanistan false optimism that they could wait until the last minute to travel home.

Worse, the administration abandoned the key location — Bagram Airbase — that would have made the now-extremely late evacuations far easier.

Even worse, the administration has barred U.S. military personnel from conducting expeditions deep into Afghanistan to retrieve trapped Americans and allies. As a result, other nations have had to make up for the United States’ slack, according to former Trump-era Deputy National Advisor Matt Pottinger.

For instance, the Qataris “have in some cases — at the risk of the lives of their own diplomats — have been arranging for Americans and students, journalists, Afghan staff who have been working at the American University of Kabul, for example, and they’ve been escorting, creating safe passage and escorting those people onto the airbase and then flying them out to safety,” he explained last week on Fox News.

The Brits have been doing something similar.

“The United Kingdom right now, I know that they’re running patrols into Kabul to get British citizens, Afghans, in some cases Americans that they encounter and helping bring them to safety,” according to Pottinger.

However, because the president this week rudely rejected pleas from U.S. allies that he delay the Aug. 31st deadline, their troops have already begun to pull out of Afghanistan, meaning that right it’s likely there’s nobody searching for Americans.

Despite all incessant mistakes and errors in judgment, the administration continues to blame trapped Americans for their predicament. It’s certainly an interesting strategy …

Vivek Saxena

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