September 29, 2021

Generals Testify

“The top U.S. military officer called the 20-year war in Afghanistan a ‘strategic failure’ and told Congress on Tuesday that he believes the U.S. should have kept several thousand troops in the country to prevent the unexpectedly rapid takeover by the Taliban.” AP News

Both sides note that the generals’ statements are inconsistent with President Biden’s earlier statements:

“Generals Milley and McKenzie said that they advised the Biden administration that unless the US kept 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, the Afghan military would collapse. They also said that the ground commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin ‘Scott’ Miller, provided the same advice. This clearly contradicts what President Biden told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos last month -- that the US military didn't advise him to keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan…

“Even the most senior US generals couldn't defend the debacle that has unfolded in Afghanistan during the past several weeks, a disaster owned by President Biden, even if it was teed up by President Trump's ill-fated ‘peace’ negotiations with the Taliban that culminated in the Doha agreement.”
Peter Bergen, CNN

“Biden’s under no obligation to take [the generals’] advice. They answer to him, not vice versa. But he made a provocative claim to Stephanopoulos when he said that the advice to him on withdrawal was ‘split’ and so now we’re entitled to ask for details. If it was ‘split,’ who was on the pro-withdrawal side? Was there some other top military advisor making the case for a pullout by September 11 or was that just a voice in Biden’s head? Or, more likely, was it a lie he told Stephanopoulos in lieu of admitting that he ignored the advice of his commanders and ordered what proved to be a calamitous bugout?…

“[White House Press Secretary Jen] Psaki was asked about it today and conveniently refused to give details. Instead she retreated into the argument that 3,000 to 4,500 troops was an impossible number since it imagined a status quo that didn’t exist. If the U.S. had ignored the May 1 withdrawal deadline, the Taliban would have attacked and Biden would have needed to send reinforcements — a troop build-up. Again, though, if that’s his position, he’s entitled to hold it without falsely claiming that the advice to him was ‘split’ in order to give his own preference a patina of military sanction.”
Allahpundit, Hot Air

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