Washington Post White House correspondent Anne Gearan said Sunday that President Joe Biden was so caught up in wanting to get out of Afghanistan that he ignored advice from top generals.
Gearan joined a panel discussion on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to discuss the Taliban’s rapid takeover of much of Afghanistan in the wake of the Biden administration’s accelerated exit from the country.
“Anne, what’s the divide? Clearly a divide between the Pentagon and the president,” host Chuck Todd began.
“Do you expect this to have long-term fallout between the White House and the Pentagon?” Todd asked, adding, “And I think the Pentagon is whispering, ‘We didn’t want to do it.’”
“They didn’t want to do it,” Gearan replied, saying that Biden’s relationship with the top generals had not been the best from the very beginning.
“Biden took office very skeptical of the generals, as he likes to call them, for exactly the point you make,” Gearan continued. “He thinks Obama got jammed — that’s his word — during the surge and he was determined not to be jammed himself.”
Gearan then explained the military argument in favor of leaving a small strategic force in Kabul or Bagram, saying it would have been a preventative measure to keep eyes on the ground in case of any uprisings that might require American intervention.
“I think that then you had the president say, no, when Donald Trump said we’re getting out completely, that means that once we leave anybody there, they become targets; and I also think he saw the possibility and the opportunity to do what no other president had been able to do before and end it,” Gearan said. “That was more important to him than any of the arguments about why a very small force might be cost-effective in the long run.” .