Incompetent? Or worse?

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AP Photo/Evan Vucci

I think it’s fair to say that given a basic background briefing, a reasonably bright high school sophomore would tell you that if you’re the president, and you have military assets and civilians for whose safety you are responsible operating in a hostile part of the world, and if the desire is to exit that hostile region; the proper order of things is to withdraw unarmed civilians before withdrawing the heavily armed military.

That sophomore wouldn’t need an Ivy League degree in public policy or military science. Simple common sense would suffice.

Which begs the question, how is it that President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Mark Milley and the rest of our hyper-credentialed best and brightest have gotten the Afghanistan withdrawal so tragically wrong? It’s pretty clear that Joe Biden has lost a step (or two). But surely someone could have said to him, ‘Mr. President, we need to stop and think about this for a minute.’

I’m a subscriber to Hanlon’s Razor. Hanlon’s Razor is an adage attributed to a man named Robert J. Hanlon, who picked it up from any number of original sources going back to the 18th century. Hanlon’s Razor states:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”

That’s another way of saying that a dark, malign conspiracy – of the sort that is inevitably hypothesized when things go disastrously wrong as they have in Afghanistan – is much less likely the author of disaster than is the pure incompetence on the part of those in charge.

OK, fine. There are plenty of us who have long believed that Joe Biden is a bumbling hack. His former boss, President Barack Obama, is credibly quoted as having said, “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f*** things up.” In his 2014 book, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said of Biden, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Biden is a boob. We get it.

But are we being asked to believe that no one in the administration could foresee that surrendering control of Afghanistan to the Taliban prior to getting our own citizens safely out could have profound negative political consequences for the president and, by extension, Democrats? Though I don’t think they’re good at much else, I’ve always credited Democrats with being good at politics. How could they have not played the political “what if” game with respect to Afghanistan? (Remember the assertion above regarding a nominally bright high school sophomore.)

And now that things have turned to worms, why the stubborn refusal to even consider extending the artificial August 31 deadline for being out?

As I see it there are two possibilities. One is that the entire administration truly is cosmically incompetent. Hanlon’s Razor says that that is the most likely explanation.

But the other is that someone we can’t see is actually calling the shots.

Pick one or pick the other. Both possibilities are terrifying.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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19 Responses

  1. C M Solomon says:

    I assume that the Commiecrats hate the non-global, America First principle as much as some of our enemies such as the CCP or any other totalitarian regime. How else can you explain the preference for illegal aliens being allowed to destroy lives and property at our OPEN southern border, the support given to BLM and ANTIFA, or MS13 terrorists as they also destroy lives and property, or the deference paid to the CCP at the expense of American industry? I can easily assume that the Commiecrats are on a mission to destroy the “American exceptionalism” that we hold precious, and that they admittedly despise, and will eliminate by ANY means necessary!

    The Commiecrat Party and their follow travelers are essentially a criminal organization with NO regard for the Constitution or a society based on Law and Order. They will use any excuse (COVID?) to wreak havoc on the American population in order to use fear to gain POWER for themselves with impunity. Therefore I subscribe to Occam’s razor which states that “the simplest explanation is usually the best one”. There is just too much evidence that makes this a common sense issue to me. Incompetence is a lame excuse for visible malevolence that CAN BE proven by their repeatedly deliberate ACTIONS and the associated concrete abominable RESULTS, not because of their smooth WORDS lacking real-world wisdom (incompetence) from a utopian fantasy of their own creation that harms so MANY people, over and over, again.

    • Matthew E says:

      And there I was thinking the ( Republican circus) was guilty of all the same things, thanks for the correction. Destroying lives and property at our border, guess I missed that as well,sounds bad. We talking destruction of homes, businesses, by morodding illegal immigrants? Yea the last thing we need is some kind of antifascist group in America of all places. I think the only fantasy that’s been created is there’s a real threat of Socialism or Comunism in this country, that fear thing maybe. Personally when I look around at our country I see plenty of people that aren’t exceptional by any means. I won’t say a lot of what I do see and hear, don’t lose heart ,be optimistic it’s been suggested, to far gone in my opinion the circus is never leaving town ,it’s a virus in itself. Republican party is the party of delusion ,oh yea and that ” gas lighting ” they call it ,experts at that.

      • Michael Reagan says:

        You ever been to the border? HUH! I have. Spent days there riding with those who are responsible for taking care of the roadways and byways. Answer that one question please. Ever been to the border? Then I will respond with what I experienced and wrote down from those who live there every day.

        • Matthew E says:

          Yes been there, didn’t walk the banks of the river for miles on end in different areas or near by areas,tell me all about it. Try not to exaggerate to make you’re point ,seems to be a normalized acceptance now a days.

          • Michael Reagan says:

            How does one exaggerate holes the size of pick up trucks dug under fences where 200 illegals are crossing private property sneaking into the US? How does one exaggerate 100 feet of 12 foot high with barbed wire on top tore down by an excessive number of illegals climbing on the fence to push it over? How does one exaggerate piles of garbage; as in fully loaded 10 yard dump trucks, from where excessive numbers of illegals hiding in the brush have dumped their trash? How does one exaggerate the capture of a top 25 most wanted terrorist due to an aware TxDOT supervisor? Yes, Sir a TOP 25 most wanted terrorist just south of Falfurrias, Texas! How does one exaggerate the Mexican army pointing their automatic weapons at a bridge contractor on the US side and his crew as they are pouring concrete piling? NAH we don’t have issues at the border do we. Drugs, sex trafficking, MS 13, ISIS, al qaeda, no problem here, move along, nothing to see here. What part of the border were you at sight seeing?

  2. G. A. W. says:

    Excellent!

  3. Greg R says:

    You are absolutely correct sir. Obiden would like for everyone to believe he’s in charge in fact he probably believes it himself but anyone with half a brain knows better

  4. Dan Bullard says:

    Nice work Paul.

  5. Charles Taylor says:

    Been unable to find the interview, but think we got a clue a little while back when Obama was asked if he missed being in the Oval Office. Don’t remember who was doing the interview, but he said he didn’t, but if he could call the shots and have somebody take all the criticism, he’d like that. Then he paused and made the comment that he had that since 90% of his former staff was now Biden’s. Based on what I’ve seen, Biden is not capable of picking out the flavor of ice cream he wants.

  6. Ron Eagleman says:

    I subscribe to the second possibility of someone else calling the shots. Even when Biden was much younger, he had very limited abilities, and it has been reported that he plagiarized in school as well as political speeches. He gained little support from his party on previous presidential primaries, and had to withdraw in shame. Due to a well-orchestrated and protected exposure to the public, with help from Covid altered voting procedures, he was installed as president by the same ones who are now calling the shots. I think he was favored over the other Democratic candidates for the explicit reason that he could be manipulated easily with the promise of the presidency, if he followed orders. Why take a chance on Sanders, when you can institute the same or more radical policies with the “moderate” Biden? Unfortunately, those who are calling the shots are not incompetent; for the most part, they are executing flawlessly. Maybe this horrific management of the withdrawal from Afghanistan will awaken even the most uninvolved to become active in demanding accountability. We can hope that some of the moderate Democrats will actually realize that their party has left them, and party affiliation will take a backseat to preserving this wonderful country.

  7. Michael Reagan says:

    Listening to a radio talk show on my telephone couple days ago when a caller told the host, the caller had asked his 9 year old son what he would do given there were people in trouble from bad guys in another country. Father to son, “What would you do if you had to get everyone out?” Nine year old said, “Daddy I would get all the people out first and let the soldiers go after the bad people. Then when all the people are out, get the soldiers out.” AMAZING at the simple logic of a NINE YEAR OLD. Are we in trouble as a nation or what!!!!

    • Matthew E says:

      Who said no issues at border ? Comprehend what someone says not what you want to hear them say. Destroying lives and property is comment someone said ,what you described is not exactly that by a far stretch,sorry. That doesn’t sound like morrodding illegals destroying homes ,businesses, murdering and pillaging,which sounds lot more like destroying lives and property that is of REAL significance. Again what’s happening at border is not good but choice of words describing it matters, lots of trash and damaged fences and catching some bad guys isn’t exactly some really awful thing ,we have stuff like that more or less in other places in the country. Silly me thinking you had something more than damaged fences , piles of trash to talk about . It’s a bad situation there no one disputes that in their right mind. Things you’ve mentioned have been going on for a long time before this recent surge nothing new. I suppose it’s entertaining for some ,like watching goofy ass Ted standing in front of bushes by the river.

      • Ron Eagleman says:

        Mr. Evans, Your style of expression is very “unique” and somewhat difficult for normal folks to follow. If you will try to be more coherent in your thought process, as well as more precise in simple grammar and spelling, it would be much easier to understand and have a productive dialogue. Also, try to answer a question without irrelevant nonsense. For example, when Michael asked if you had been to the border, most people would assume that he would like to know if you have witnessed the chaos and unlawful invasion at the border. Your answer was nonsensical and trivialized his point. I have been to Churchill Downs, but never participated in the Kentucky Derby; can you see the difference?

        • Matthew E says:

          Yes I agree, destroying lives and property to many, I would think, would be much much more than examples he gave. If letting ones imagination run wild by being vague but with such strong words as ” destroying lives and property ” gets the intended response fine with me, that’s a common practice now more than ever, the talking heads are experts at it. Unfortunately many people don’t use any thought when they hear things they simply believe it ,literally, exaggerated misinformation is one term it’s called. My team said it so good enough for me,regardless , is how so many are processing information. It’s ridiculous and counterproductive and destructive. Throwing wood on the fire.

        • Matthew E says:

          Normal folks ,that’s a good one. So anyone that disagrees or challenges a particular narrative or opinion of anyone here isn’t normal, that seems to be the implication of part of what you said. Defend one another regardless of how nonsensical it may be, sign of the times I guess. You speak of my spelling and grammar rather than content because you simply have nothing else to respond with, sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all, I’m sure you were told that once upon a time, this is a good example why. It doesn’t make someone seem smart, grasping for something when there’s nothing there of substance to respond with. It seems to be the go to response for some folks when they don’t have a meaningful response, to criticize something that , well ,is made up ( exaggerated) like so much is anymore in this twisted need to support someone you think is on you’re team. That’s really weak , conservatives I thought were all about strength, expressing strength, I thought. It’s not how I write things it what I’m saying, let’s get real.

          • Ron Eagleman says:

            Mr. Matthew Evans, After reading some of your first posts, I really thought you were just trying to be funny, but you have convinced me that your comments and responses are from the heart. Even if I do not completely understand your syntax and thought process, I do respect your right to believe and say whatever you wish. Maybe you could exercise the same respect for others, and rely less on straw man and non sequitur arguments to dismiss opposing views? I must admit, some of your comments regarding our sovereignty are a little scary, especially when you imply, (without any proof), that Michael’s direct knowledge of the border invasion could be exaggerated. I have personally witnessed this unlawful storming of the border at La Joya, Mission, and Donna; Michael is not exaggerating! Let us all hope that some day you will not be reflecting with sadness: “I was one of the useful idiots who allowed this irreversible damage to my country”!

  8. Pete A Fasanello says:

    Biden is owned by the Chinese,Iranians and Russians –he is traitor trash

    • Ron Eagleman says:

      Yes Pete, and if we had legitimate news media, they would be investigating to see if the positions President Biden has taken regarding these 3 countries were compromised. How else can you explain his illogical decisions, unless he is being blackmailed? If President Trump had made such blunders, including this “strategy” for withdrawal from Afghanistan, he would have already been impeached, recalled, tarred, feathered, and institutionalized….and I would have been in full support! This insane behavior indicates an inability to perform the duties of his office, but where are all the howls to invoke the 25th Amendment?

    • C M Solomon says:

      Pete, “traitor trash” is putting it mildly. We now know that the Commiecrat regime is guilty of BETRAYAL of our fellow citizens in Afghanistan and our native partners that we promised to protect. This headline is UNBELIEVABLE: “U.S. officials provided Taliban with names of Americans, Afghan allies to evacuate”. Are we to believe that this group of “traitor trash” heading our hate America First, (SHIP of FOOLS), in typical fashion actually trust the Taliban terrorists to “help get our people out”? Don’t they know that they just gave these assassins the worlds most horrendous “kill list of innocent thousands” in order to facilitate their revenge against our Nation with torture and murder of men, women, and children that are now their captives and waiting to be rounded up? I never thought that our government would trust the “good graces” of terrorists to protect our people. Is not yesterday’s murder of 13 Americans clear evidence of how trustworthy the Taliban are? Thankfully, there will be ETERNAL justice that almighty God will dispense upon these facilitators of murder, mayhem, and torture. You can read the details at the following.

      https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/26/us-officials-provided-taliban-with-names-of-americans-afghan-allies-to-evacuate-506957

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