A CNN guest appeared to go off-script during a live broadcast on Monday to start blaming Democrat President Joe Biden for fallen soldiers who died evacuating Kabul.
Jake Tapper had on reporter George Packer, a staff writer at The Atlantic, as a guest in his show “The Lead.”
Packer was invited on to talk about his new investigation of what went wrong when U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan.
What he discovered will not help Biden or the Democrats in 2022 because Packer said the White House refused to act on a number of issues until it was too late, despite repeated warnings.
“I mean, messy, of course, the end of a 20-year war, by definition,” Packer said.
“But beginning with the president’s announcement that he was going to withdraw all troops by September 11 and later August 31, there were many things the administration could have done and was urged to do, again and again, publicly and privately, by advocates for Afghans that it simply refused to do until it was too late.
“There was a mad scramble in late July and early August to begin doing some of these things.
“But by then, Kabul was on the verge of falling and all the time had been lost.
“So, no, there was no need for children to be trampled to death outside the gates of the airport.
“There was no need for U.S. Marines to be blown up by a suicide bomber as they tried to pull people out of sewage canals. All of that was a result of the failure to plan and to carry out evacuations when there was time.”
George Packer, author of The Atlantic article ‘The Betrayal’, dissects how the chaotic end to the Afghan war was worse than it needed to be, with 90% of Afghan allies left behind pic.twitter.com/kmM74qKR0L
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) February 1, 2022
Jake Tapper asked Packer whether the U.S. image on the world stage was permanently damaged by Joe Biden’s debacle in Kabul.
“I think it’s hurt badly,” he said.
“Some experts on Russia and Ukraine have said that part of Putin’s decision to begin massing forces on the Ukraine border came after he saw the American debacle at the end of the Afghan war and decided we had been weakened on the world stage and this was their moment to try their hand in Eastern Europe.
“What it does is it makes us look unreliable and incompetent, bad partners, friends that can’t be counted on, a great power that can’t do the basic thing of bringing out its own allies and friends who risk their lives on behalf of a project that we brought to their country when they were at great risk of being killed.
“President Biden said more than once, and his aides began to repeat it, that more than half of the SIV applicants chose not to leave when they could have.
“When in fact, what the experts, the lawyers, the advocates told me was ‘no they couldn’t leave.’
“In other words, it was bureaucratic obstacles.
“These people were desperate to get out.
“These are people who we owed the highest debt to and whom we failed, and the failure goes up to the highest level because I think there simply wasn’t enough concern that this could go all badly very quickly and we need to take action sooner than later.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 31, 2022