FPI / September 30, 2021
Following testimony from top military commanders who said they recommended keeping some U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn on Tuesday called on Joe Biden to resign for making false statements about the commanders' advice.
“Biden lied when he told (ABC News personality George) Stephanopoulos no one advised him against his timeline-based withdrawal. His recklessness resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers and abandonment of countless citizens & allies. Biden can’t avoid the consequences of his actions. He must resign,” Blackburn tweeted.
Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump said in a statement on Tuesday that Biden's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan was “one of the dumbest military moves in history.”
“This withdrawal was developed by a child’s mind, and only the Biden administration is responsible for it,” Trump said.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie both said they advised keeping some troops in Afghanistan.
“I won’t share my personal recommendation to the president, but I will give you my honest opinion and my honest opinion and view shaped my recommendation,” McKenzie told lawmakers. “And I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. I also have a view that the withdrawal of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and eventually the Afghan government.”
Milley told lawmakers that while he would not divulge his “personal” recommendations to Biden, he believed that “back in the fall of 2020, and remained consistent throughout, that we should keep a steady state of 2,500 and it could bounce up to 3,500, maybe, something like that, in order to move toward a negotiated solution.”
The testimonies of Milley and McKenzie raise questions as to whether Biden lied to Stephanopoulos during an Aug. 19 interview in which Biden said he could not recall whether his military advisors urged him to maintain a U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
Below is a partial transcript of the exchange:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But your top military advisors warned against withdrawing on this timeline. They wanted you to keep about 2,500 troops.
BIDEN: No, they didn’t. It was split. Tha– that wasn’t true. That wasn’t true.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t tell you that they wanted troops to stay?
BIDEN: No. Not at — not in terms of whether we were going to get out in a timeframe all troops. They didn’t argue against that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So no one told — your military advisors did not tell you, “No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It’s been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that”?
BIDEN: No. No one said that to me that I can recall. Look, George, the reason why it’s been stable for a year is because the last president said, “We’re leaving. And here’s the deal I wanna make with you, Taliban. We’re agreeing to leave if you agree not to attack us between now and the time we leave on May the 1st.”
During Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Democrats focused on Trump’s role in the negotiations with the Taliban, while Republicans focused on Biden’s failures and lies in executing his version of the withdrawal.
“The botched and embarrassingly incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan had nothing to do with past administrations or things that happened ‘from 20 years ago,' ” Trump said, adding that America “should not have been in the Middle East in the first place!”
Trump berated Biden for taking the military out of Afghanistan before getting American citizens and military equipment out of the country.
“The horrible ‘withdrawal’ was caused, in particular, because the military was taken out before American citizens and $85 billion worth of the highest-grade military equipment anywhere in the world,” Trump said.
Trump called the operation led by Biden and Milley “one of the dumbest military moves in history.”
Free Press International