On Friday Fox News featured a headline on its frontpage highlighting that President Biden is vacationing as Afghanistan implodes. He flew to Camp David and took no questions while diplomatic staff in Kabul are frantically closing shop, and as 3,000 Marines are en route to facilitate a full evacuation. This as the State Department issued the rare or even unprecedented order for the embassy to begin burning and shredding documents at a moment the Taliban is eyeing the imminent Kabul offensive.
Everyone seemed to be fully aware that eventually the Taliban would eventually be back in control of the war-torn country that US forces spent two decades occupying, but few predicted it would be this lightning fast, with the Taliban already in firm control of two-thirds of Afghan territory and now poised to march on the capital.
So the question on everyone's mind is naturally: just what is the administration thinking while it sits back and looks on another developing 'Saigon moment'?
Axios' Jonathan Swan in a Saturday morning report says Biden is bracing for "brutal defeat in Afghanistan" and the post-US situation is likely to be even worse than imagined, given that:
"The Biden administration is preparing for the fall of Kabul and a retreat from any U.S. diplomatic presence in Afghanistan — a stunning reversal of expectations," Swan writes.
"It's looking increasingly likely to high-ranking aides to President Biden that the U.S. will have no enduring diplomatic presence in Afghanistan beyond Aug. 31 — the date Biden has promised the full troop withdrawal will be complete."
Swan notes that Biden being at Camp David means that he can "relax" on vacation, but that he'll be monitoring the rapidly deteriorating situation with "full comms".
POTUS departs for Camp David -- does not take questions from reporters.— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) August 13, 2021
Perhaps the most devastating part of Swan's report comes in his telling the American public to brace for Islamist fighters overrunning US diplomatic buildings and residences. Indeed the American flag will come down fast...
Despite the efforts to secure intelligence and safeguard U.S. personnel and their Afghan supporters, Biden must brace for the symbolic defeat of seeing the Taliban overrun the space that housed the embassy.
- That includes the ambassador's residence — and the landmark "Duck and Cover" bar frequented by generations of troops, diplomats and journalists.
The major moment to come: Lowering the American flag that flies over what is essentially sovereign US territory.
Perhaps in only a matter of days and weeks, the world will witness US empire in full retreat and deeply symbolic humiliation, in moment which will only be rivaled by Tehran in 1979 or Saigon in 1975.