The Pentagon, the State Department, and the adult side of the White House must cringe each time the voluble and solipsistic vice president is interviewed on television. There he was, in full verbal overdrive, on Sunday, where among his many, many messages was: We’re outta Afghanistan by 2014.
On December 16, the president cited progress and issued this statement: “At the recent NATO Lisbon Summit, we forged a broad Afghan and international consensus, agreeing on a path to complete transition by the end of 2014. Beyond these targets, and even after we draw down our combat forces, the U.S. will continue to support Afghanistan’s development and security as a strategic partner, just as the NATO-Afghanistan partnership affirms the broader and enduring international community support to Afghanistan.”
Last year, Biden advised reporters to bet on a major U.S. withdrawal in 2011. That advice didn’t work out so well. Now he’s back at it, earnestly saying on Meet the Press, “We’re starting it in July of 2011 and we’re going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014.”
You cannot take the man seriously. His verbal gaffes and overstatements are his persona.
— Bing West is author of The Wrong War: Grit, Strategy and the Way Out of Afghanistan.