There's not a lot of time for self-reflection right now. The focus is on the task at hand. ... It is easy to throw stones or be a critic from the outside. It is harder to be in the arena and make difficult decisions. — White House press secretary Jen Psaki
There's not a lot of time for self-reflection right now. The focus is on the task at hand. ... It is easy to throw stones or be a critic from the outside. It is harder to be in the arena and make difficult decisions. — White House press secretary Jen Psaki
'A direct punch in the gut': Inside Biden's biggest crisis as he races to withdraw from Afghanistan
Thursday was the deadliest day for American combat troops in almost a decade, and for Biden amounted to the worst day of his nascent presidency. A war that is almost over after 20 years is concluding in blood, anguish and — for the President who is ending it — fierce recrimination. Interviews with more than a dozen people, including White House officials, national security and congressional aides and others close to the situation, reveal an administration consumed by events in Afghanistan, driven by the President's unmovable desire to withdraw troops while also struggling to contain the chaos of war.

Biden's aides argue he is exactly the man for such a moment: a foreign policy veteran, a renowned empath, a military dad. Yet a legion of critics, including some Democratic allies, is now questioning whether his decades of foreign policy experience add up to sound policy or competent leadership at a moment of crisis.

As Biden's approval ratings already show signs of slipping, fears are rising among Democrats that mistakes made in Afghanistan could derail the party's ambitious domestic agenda. While Democrats were attempting damage control, Republicans attacked what they viewed as clear and devastating missteps.

A team of longtime Biden hands now faces scrutiny for not sufficiently preparing for what the President has said was inevitable chaos in the war's final days. Biden is currently focused on completing the mission in Kabul, aides said, but many of them expect he'll eventually hold someone responsible for what has happened.

... The White House says Biden isn't planning to ask any of his military leaders to resign in the wake of Thursday's deadly attack, and press secretary Jen Psaki said the President maintained confidence in Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has faced particularly harsh criticism for his department's role in coordinating the evacuation of Americans and Afghans who worked for coalition forces over the past two decades.

Still, Psaki acknowledged there had been little time inside the White House to contemplate anything beyond the current evacuation mission, especially as Biden was warned during a Friday morning briefing that further attacks are likely as the military winds down its operations.

"There's not a lot of time for self-reflection right now," Psaki said when asked about the current state-of-affairs in Afghanistan, in which the US is forced to coordinate with the Taliban in the final days of the war. "The focus is on the task at hand."

Asked to describe these final tense few days, another White House official said, "It's like a high wire with no net, and every single minute you could fall off."

... Psaki, during her briefing on Friday, said that criticism was easily made from outside the White House.

"It is easy to throw stones or be a critic from the outside," she said. "It is harder to be in the arena and make difficult decisions."
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/28/politics/biden-behind-scenes-crisis-attack-kabul-afghanistan/index.html