Biden, facing blame for Afghanistan’s devastation, once again invokes his late son

In his first speech since the historic and chaotic final US withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden defended his withdrawal — even while blaming President Trump and the Afghan security forces — and again brought up his late son Beau, who died in 2015. died of brain cancer at age 46.

“I don’t think enough people understand how much we’ve asked of the 1% of this country who donned that uniform, willing to risk their lives defending our nation. Maybe it’s because my late son Beau served in Iraq for an entire year.”

“Let me be clear. The departure on August 31 is not due to any deadline. It was designed to save American lives,” Biden said in his first public comments since the last American soldier left Hamid Karzai International Airport Monday night.

Biden has often thought of the tragic loss of his son lately, as evidenced by the frequent references in his comments. Beau did not die in combat, although the president sometimes wondered if his exposure to fire pits played a role in causing his cancer.

Last week, 13 US servicemen were killed, and some Gold Star families said they were a little disappointed that the president continued to raise his late son as he tried to cope with their newfound sense of loss and devastation.

Beau Biden, above, at the second swearing-in ceremony of Vice President Joe Biden at the President's 57th ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the United States Capitol on January 21, 2013

Beau Biden, above, at the second swearing-in ceremony of Vice President Joe Biden at the President’s 57th ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the United States Capitol on January 21, 2013

Biden, right, talks to his son, US Army Capt.  Beau Biden, left, at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad on July 4, 2009

Biden, right, talks to his son, US Army Capt.  Beau Biden, left, at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad on July 4, 2009

Biden, right, talks to his son, US Army Capt. Beau Biden, left, at Camp Victory on the outskirts of Baghdad on July 4, 2009

These are the times the president thought of his late son as he faced the chaos in Afghanistan:

Aug 31 – Remarks after the withdrawal of the troops

“I don’t think enough people understand how much we’ve asked of the 1% of this country who donned that uniform, willing to risk their lives defending our nation. Maybe it’s because my late son Beau served in Iraq for an entire year.”

Biden spoke after the troop presence in Afghanistan dwindled while Americans and allies were still detained. He defended his decision to withdraw, even though he blamed a peace deal signed by President Trump.

Aug 29 – Conversations with Families of Killed Troops

Mark Schmitz, father of 20-year-old Jared who was killed in the suicide bombing in Kabul, told the… Washington Post that when he met Biden, he spent a lot of time talking about Beau.

“When he kept talking about his son so much, it was just — my interest in it was lost. I was more focused on my own son than what was happening to him and his son,” said Schmitz. “I’m not trying to offend the president, but it just didn’t seem appropriate to spend so much time with his own son.”

“I think he was the only one trying to say he understands grief,” Schmitz added. “But when you’re the one ultimately responsible for the way things went, you feel like that person should own it a little bit more.” Our son is now gone. Because of a direct decision or game plan – or lack thereof – that he put in place.’

Flag-draped coffins of fallen servicemen are loaded onto a transport plane during a disaster ceremony at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 27.

Flag-draped coffins of fallen servicemen are loaded onto a transport plane during a disaster ceremony at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 27.

Flag-draped coffins of fallen servicemen are loaded onto a transport plane during a disaster ceremony at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 27.

Families of the fallen US servicemen were disappointed by Joe Biden about Sunday's dignified handover.  A sister of a fallen Marine yelled at the president, “I hope you burn in hell!  That was my brother!'

Families of the fallen US servicemen were disappointed by Joe Biden about Sunday's dignified handover.  A sister of a fallen Marine yelled at the president, “I hope you burn in hell!  That was my brother!'

Families of the fallen US servicemen were disappointed by Joe Biden about Sunday’s dignified handover. A sister of a fallen Marine yelled at the president, “I hope you burn in hell! That was my brother!’

August 29 – Biden checks his pulse in a dignified handover ceremony

When the bodies of fallen US troops were delivered home to Dover, Delaware, on Sunday, the president is said to have “looked at his watch” every time a flag-draped coffin was removed from the Air Force’s C-17.

“They’d say hello, and he looked down at his watch with every last one,” Hoover said. “All 13, he looked at his watch.”

Biden wears his late son Beau’s rosary on his wrist just above his watch, and the president’s supporters have said he looked at the rosary instead of looking at the time.

President Joe Biden is under fire for checking his watch during Sunday’s “dignified transfer” to US soil of the 13 US troops killed in Thursday’s suicide bombing in Kabul

Aug 26- Remarks after terror attack

“Being the father of an army major who served in Iraq for a year and before that spent the better part of six months in Kosovo as a lawyer in the US in the midst of a war – when he came home after a year in Iraq, he was the diagnosis, like many, many who came home, with an aggressive and deadly brain cancer – which we lost.

We have an idea, like many of you, what the families of these brave heroes are feeling today. You feel as if you are being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest; there is no way out. My heart aches for you.

Biden spoke after a terrorist attack in Kabul that left 170 dead, including 13 US troops trying to help Americans and allies escape Taliban rule.

Aug 20- Notes on the evacuation

“If I endanger our troops, I take that responsibility seriously. I carry that burden every day, just like I did when I was vice president and my son was sent to Iraq for a year,” Biden said, explaining his decision to leave.

He later pointed to the Trump-era peace accord that promised US troops would come out on May 1. “The idea that if I had said on May 2 or 3, ‘We’re not leaving; we’ll stay’ – does anyone really believe that I would not have had to deploy significantly more American troops – your sons, your daughters – as my son was sent to Iraq – to perhaps die? And for what? What for?’

August 19- Interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos

In Biden’s first interview, as chaos unfolded and the Taliban took over at lightning speed, Stephanopoulos asked what the president would say to those who disagreed with his withdrawal strategy.

“I think many Americans, and even many veterans who have served in Afghanistan, agree with you about the big, strategic picture. They think we should get out. But I wonder how you react to Javier McKay (PH), an Army Special Forces officer. He did seven tours. He was shot twice. He agrees with you. He says: ‘We must limit our losses in Afghanistan.’ But he adds: “I wish we could have left with honour,” Stephanopoulos said.

“Look, that’s like asking my late son Beau, who spent six months in Kosovo and a year in Iraq as a naval captain and then major… I mean, army major. And, you know, I’m sure he… he regretted coming from Afganista… I mean, from Iraq.

He regretted how things are going. But the idea… what’s the alternative? The alternative is: why are we staying in Afghanistan? Why are we there? Don’t you think the one… you know who’s most disappointed that we’re out? Russia and China,” Biden replied.

July 4 – Notes on Independence Day Celebration

On the holiday of July 4, Biden was sure to refer to his son as he thanked US troops for their services.

“Like so many military families, we think of loved ones who served, today we think of our son Beau,” Biden said. “You are all part of a long chain of patriots who have sworn their lives and their sacred honors in defense of this nation and democracy around the world. For freedom and fair play, for peace and security and opportunity. For the cause of justice, for the soul of America itself.”

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