Some MDJ readers wonder why I don’t criticize President Biden. Part of the answer is, this is a weekly column written from a liberal perspective. There is plenty of Biden criticism on the pages of this newspaper as well as countless online and broadcast outlets.
I called out the administration recently for the Afghanistan exit. We should have proceeded more cautiously, but Biden was determined to make a break of the failed 20-year war in that country. In testimony before the Senate this week, his senior military advisors said they developed the withdrawal plan, presented it to the president, who accepted their recommendations and directed the military to proceed.
That the plan failed is certainly on Biden, but, as I said in the previous column, there is plenty of blame to go around.
His right-wing critics, meanwhile, made much of the suicide bombing at the Kabul airport that killed 13 American servicemen and women. Those deaths were tragic but so were the deaths of the 90 servicemen and women killed during the previous four years. The GOP insinuation is the soldiers killed on Biden’s watch was more egregious than the 2,500 Americans who died over 20 years.
Well, Biden handed over $85 billion of military hardware to the Taliban!
According to a Reuters analysis, the estimated value of equipment provided to Afghan security forces from 2002 to 2017 and left behind was approximately $28 billion. In addition, whatever aircraft, vehicles, and heavy weapons the Taliban seized in Kabul were disabled, according to U.S. Central Command.
Migrants coming to our border from poor, corrupt, and violent countries is not news. It’s been going on for decades. Yes, there are more people seeking asylum now, but the difference is these unfortunate men, women and children are being treated humanely by the Biden administration. Because of their sheer numbers, it is a messy process as officials consider legitimate asylum claims and deport those migrants who don’t have them.
I’d rather see that than the vicious brutality of the previous administration forcibly grabbing children from their parents as a deterrent to other would-be migrants: come here and you will never see your kids again.
Biden has taken a lot of heat from the left for the deportation of Haitian immigrants fleeing a country reeling from a recent earthquake and political and economic chaos. Conservative media giddily presented images of thousands of Haitians camping beneath a bridge in Texas as some sort of proof of Biden’s incompetence.
But by last Saturday, that camp had been cleared and some 20 flights scheduled to take most of the migrants back to Haiti, where they can legally apply for asylum at the U.S. embassy.
Then there are Biden’s verbal gaffes and age. The right conflates the two, suggesting the president suffers from dementia. Biden had to overcome a stutter, which occasionally shows itself when he speaks publicly. There is also an enormous amount of information he needs to stay on top of, a task that would challenge anyone, regardless of age, so yes, occasionally Biden misspeaks.
Every president does.
Biden reportedly has a short temper. He has been known to hang up the phone on unprepared aides and for barking at his staff. Biden is also extremely deliberative, according to published reports, debating and maybe overthinking the pros and cons of issues with his advisors for hours.
What Biden is not responsible for are the shortages of labor, goods and services, supply chain delays and the resulting inflation. The COVID pandemic brought all those about. If enough workers here and abroad get vaccinated, it will likely ease, but one quarter of Republicans say they will never get vaccinated, mandate or no mandate, an alarming statistic considering the 700,000 deaths since the pandemic began.
What about Biden’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure package? We can’t afford that!
Oh, really? That’s $3.5 trillion over 10 years to revitalize roads, bridges, and rail, to provide services working families are lacking, to invest in sustainable energy, to improve access to the internet and create the jobs all these initiatives need. And it’s paid for by increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
In contrast, over the last 10 years, the U.S. spent nearly $7 trillion on defense that we know is fraught with abuse, waste, and fraud. That is far more than was spent by the next 20 countries combined, including Russia and China. We saw what all those trillions bought taxpayers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Meantime, what is the GOP doing to pay the bill? Stopping the debt ceiling from rising so we cannot meet our obligations.
Joe Biden has never professed to be perfect, and he isn’t. No president in my lifetime was perfect. His predecessor gave himself an A+ last year – a grade indicative of perfection. That was before 81 million voters told him, you’re fired.