Former assistant defense secretary, under Ronald Reagan, Francis “Bing” West, warned that al Qaeda “will again show its viper head” and said President Biden was “disingenuous” during his address Monday.
Biden dug in on his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan during his speech, despite that the Taliban has swept through the nation. The Taliban quickly captured territory, invaded the capital city, and took control of the presidential palace.
“We’ve lost the war,” West told Fox News in an exclusive interview following Biden’s address. “I don’t care how President Biden tries to present it.”
“We’re the losers coming out looking like losers the way things are happening at the airport,” West, who served as an assistant defense secretary under President Reagan, continued.
The airport outside of Kabul fell into mayhem after the Taliban invaded the city, with Afghan and foreign nationals – including U.S. citizens – trying to escape the country. At least seven people died in the chaos.
“I was struck with how defensive [Biden] was, almost angry that this could be happening because he’s so much in the right,” West told Fox News. “He’s not in the right, and he didn’t tell the truth.”
“He was disingenuous,” he continued.
Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham had even harsher words for Biden soon after the speech.
“President Biden chose a dangerous and dishonorable path in Afghanistan, and he has no one to blame for this debacle but himself,” Graham said in a statement on Biden’s speech.
“With today’s speech, President Biden reinforced the view he still does not understand the War on Terror or how to protect America from the threat of radical Islam,” he continued. “The speech was a pathetic attempt to shift blame and an unnerving analysis of the situation he – and he alone – created. Contrary to what he may say or think, President Biden has not ended the war in Afghanistan. He is simply creating a new chapter – one that will be filled by Taliban thugs and al-Qaeda murderers.”
Biden spent much of his speech pinning the blame for the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan on others, most notably the Afghan military and government.
“We gave them every chance to determine their own future,” Biden said of the Afghan military. “What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future.”
The president insisted that he stands by his decision to have U.S. forces leave the country, arguing that no more U.S. troops should die in the conflict if those who live there aren’t willing to make the same sacrifice.
“American troops cannot, and should not, be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” Biden said
But Biden did acknowledge that the speed at which the situation unfolded did catch his administration off guard.
“Truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden admitted.
But that acknowledgment was not enough for Graham and others who have also slammed the president for making the decision to pull troops out, to begin with, and his completely botched execution of same.
During an MSNBC interview in which the liberal hosts were heaping effusive praise on Biden’s speech, guest, former CIA analyst Matt Zeller, countered by saying, “I feel like I watched a different speech than the rest of you guys. I was appalled. There was such a profound bald-faced lie in that speech. The idea we planned for every contingency? I have been personally trying to tell this administration since it took office. I have been trying to tell our government for years this was coming. We sent them plan after plan on how to evacuate these people. Nobody listened to us.”