Months before Democrats cast their first 2020 primary ballot, Joe Biden began highlighting what he believed to be his best selling point: his superior decision-making. “I think my record has been good,” candidate Biden told NPR in September 2019. Even then, his campaign had to deal with Biden’s tendency to let his mind wander or lose his place while speaking, but he insisted that his verbal miscues had “nothing to do with judgment” — specifically “whether or not you send troops to war, the judgment of whether you bring someone home.” His campaign argued that his five decades in public service had uniquely equipped him to become, in the words of George W. Bush, “the decider.”
Since taking office, Biden has shown notable independence by breaking with the consensus served up to him by a coterie of Obama-era analysts, advisers, and administrators. Unfortunately, most of the times this has happened, the result has been a policy failure for him and, more importantly, a major setback for our country. Here are three such examples.
The Collapse Of Afghanistan
Perhaps the most conspicuous case in which President Biden disregarded his advisers came when he decided to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan — and the chaos and carnage that followed.
President Biden has been outspoken about his desire to end the U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan, which stretched on two decades since 9/11 and one decade after the death of Osama bin Laden (a mission that President Biden opposed at the time). “We cannot continue this cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result,” he said in April. “I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”
Yet Biden has publicly denied that he struck out on his own, even after the media reported that his closest military advisers recommended leaving a U.S. military force on the ground. “Your military advisors did not tell you, ‘No, we should just keep 2,500 troops’?” ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked the president on August 18. “No,” President Biden replied. “No one said that to me that I can recall.”
But the cat was already out of the bag. The Wall Street Journal had reported in April that “Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. forces