Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Monday the current fiasco in Afghanistan was a “Bay of Pigs” moment for President Joe Biden, referring to the U.S.-backed effort to overthrow Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
The President has found himself under sharp scrutiny for the situation unfolding in Afghanistan as the Taliban seizes control. Panetta was asked by CNN’s John King what this moment meant for the president.
“In many ways, I think of John Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, you know?” Panetta said. “It unfolded quickly and the president thought that everything would be fine and that was not the case. But President Kennedy took responsibility for what took place. I strongly recommend to President Biden that he take responsibility and admit the mistakes that were made.”
The Bay of Pigs invasion attempt was a blotch on President Kennedy early in his presidential term, as well as a propaganda victory for Castro.
“We have been through a difficult few days here in Afghanistan, and he’s got to make clear to the American people that as commander in chief, he is going to continue to protect our national security and that we are going to go after terrorists wherever the hell they’re at,” said Panetta. “He has just got to ensure that the United States of America remains a strong world leader that can work with our allies to try to protect peace and prosperity. That is the message he’s got to give the American people and the world, because our credibility right now is in question.”
Biden is facing bipartisan scrutiny and media outrage over the horrifying events occurring in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Last month, Biden was confident that the Taliban would not take over in Afghanistan following his decision to remove U.S. troops. He was certain there would be “no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy” like there was during the infamous exit in Saigon in 1975.
In spite of what the President predicted, the Afghan government quickly fell, and the Taliban took back Kabul almost 20 years after U.S. troops drove the Islamist terror group out in 2001.