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President Biden finally found his way back to the White House this afternoon to deliver a speech about his failure in Afghanistan. If he were a real president, in full control of his mental faculties and looking to earn respect from his constituents, here’s what he should have delivered. You can read his miserable, finger-pointing, “not my fault” remarks as delivered here.
Note: I’m a former speechwriter. I have written speeches for a Cabinet Secretary in the Bush 41 Administration, a leading United States Senator, and on occasion, a couple of Fortune 250 corporate CEOs.
Here’s the speech I would have written and he would never have given, considering his lack of integrity, failure of leadership, his diminished mental state, and his awful staff. And I would have resigned before being fired. These are incompetent and deluded people, from the top down. This is the first draft, so forgive the errors.
My fellow Americans. This is a sad and tragic day.
Trillions of dollars, twenty years, and more importantly, 2,400 lives were invested in meeting an important mission that began 20 years ago – exacting justice from the horrible attacks on our soil on 9/11.
Twenty thousand more were injured and live every hour, every day, with their painful sacrifices. God bless you for your service and sacrifice. We honor you; it was not in vain. We accomplished so much. But we made mistakes, and I want to own up to them and outline where we are headed now.
We paid a serious price decades ago by allowing the Taliban to sponsor Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, who, with others, conspired to attack both the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Over 3,100 lives were lost that day, and not all were Americans – people from dozens of countries lost their lives along with our fellow patriots. The pain still resonates. We will never forget.
America and the free world came together on that tragic day.
Under President Bush, we removed the Taliban from power and helped Afghanistan instill its own democratically elected government based on universal human rights.
Under President Obama, we continued that progress. Over some objections, we implemented a “surge” to combat a resurgence by the Taliban. We were successful. More importantly, under President Obama’s leadership, we killed Al Qaeda’s leader, Obama bin Laden, and captured an enormous amount of intelligence to help us with the war on terror.
President Trump began the process, after nearly two decades, of turning over the responsibility for Afghanistan’s future and defense to the Afghan people, and slowly and responsibly withdrawing US troops. He negotiated a set of accords and annex agreements with the Taliban and the Afghan government. Not a perfect agreement. But one I felt obligated to live up to.
And that’s where we made mistakes. As President, I take full responsibility.
I made the decision to implement the Trump accords. Our nation had promised to provide continued air support, reconnaissance, intelligence, and other forms of support to the Afghan government. We didn’t do that. When the Taliban began violating the agreement and ignored the annexes that accompanied it, we failed to enforce it. The Taliban saw that as an open invitation. And the Afgan army, without support from us that they were counting on, cut and run, and worse.
As a result, near the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we are seeing the Taliban’s banner flying over the country once again. I understand why so many Americans feel shame and intense hurt. So do I.
The Taliban has committed that they will no longer harbor the terrorism they sponsored twenty years ago. We will hold them to it, and we will build an international coalition to hold them accountable.
We and our allies will pressure the Taliban to respect the rights of women and the Human Rights Declaration of the United Nations. We will pressure the rest of the world to hold them accountable and punish countries with sanctions that overlook abuses of human rights by the Taliban, especially those nations that quickly recognized the Taliban, including – and I’ll name them – Communist China, Russia, and Iran.
We will suspend our negotiations over a renegotiated Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, with Iran over its naked ambitions for nuclear weapons and support for undermining our accords in Afghanistan. Further, we will reimpose sanctions and intensify them. It is time we recognize that Iran is our enemy and means us harms and stands most to benefit from the Taliban’s reemergence. We will never allow them to develop or procure nuclear weapons. Period.
Most urgently, we are working feverishly to help Americans, our allies, and our Afghan friends to leave Kabul. I call on the Taliban to live up to their promises of an “open, inclusive” Islamic government. We are watching you. We have committed more than 7,000 American troops to help facilitate that free movement.
If we see forced, arranged marriages, degradation of women’s rights, the open killings of LGBT persons, and the torture and murder of their people, the world will respond. I’ll see to it. This is your chance for a second chance, after your failures of 20 years ago.
Many Americans ask why we should care about Afghanistan. It’s simple. We should never allow terrorism to grow, fester, and be exported to the free world, especially the United States, nor support those who do.
My fellow Americans, we handled this wrong. Our intelligence was faulty. We planned poorly. We were inadequately prepared. The easy, political thing to do is to blame my predecessors. I won’t do that. I’m President. This was on my watch. I own it. And I’m going to respond. This must never happen again, and we will never, ever let terrorism let loose on our shores ever again. That is my solemn commitment.
Hold me accountable.
God Bless the United States of America.Published in