Biden, keenly aware of the impact of the horrifying scenes of chaos in the Afghan capital of Kabul, looked straight into the camera and said, “I am the president of the United States and the buck stops with me.” He acknowledged the mayhem and the human toll it is taking and he expressed his clear anger at the failure of the Afghan government and military to mount a defense of their own country. He specifically noted that the government had urged the U.S. not to begin early evacuations of foreign nationals because of the message it might send.
After he spoke, the talking heads came out in force and argued he did not accept responsibility. But “the buck stops here” is the ultimate expression of a president owning his actions. They said he did not explain how we could be in the situation we are in. But what they really mean is that he did not give the explanation they wanted.