President Biden rejected an Army report that revealed multiple commanders involved in the operation gave sworn testimony indicating the administration failed to grasp the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan over the summer, putting American troops in greater danger.
The report, first brought to light by the Washington Post, reveals what they call “bleak, blunt assessments of top military commanders” in claiming White House officials “failed to grasp the Taliban’s steady advance on Afghanistan’s capital.”
The Post also revealed administration officials “resisted efforts by U.S. military leaders to prepare the evacuation of embassy personnel and Afghan allies weeks before Kabul’s fall, placing American troops ordered to carry out the withdrawal in greater danger.”
In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt on Thursday, the President dismissed the extensive report out of hand.
“No, that’s not that I was told,” Biden said to Holt when asked of the details of the investigation. “There was no good time to get out, but if we had not gotten out, they acknowledged we would have had to put a hell of a lot more troops back in.”
Pressed further on if he was rejecting the report Biden replied, “Yes, I am.”
“So they’re not true?” Holt asked.
Biden replied, “I am rejecting them.”
Watch Biden’s expression below at the 5 minute mark:
The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan led to a suicide bombing that killed 13 service members, a ‘retaliatory’ drone strike by the United States that killed 10 civilians – including an aid worker and 7 children – and countless Americans being left behind in the Taliban-controlled country for an extensive period of time.
Military officials, according to the Post report, had “in many ways cobbled together on the fly” the evacuation plan.
The report outlines several disagreements over how to proceed with the withdrawal plan and accuses White House officials and State Department officials of not recognizing the swift advance of the Taliban.
General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, privately blamed the State Department as being responsible for the botched evacuation effort in Afghanistan.
Multiple commanders in sworn testimony said administration officials did not properly anticipate what would happen. Milley has insinuated that the State Department blew it.
Recall that in the last call between President Biden and Ashra Ghani, the former lamented the “perception” problem he was having with the withdrawal and urged the Afghanistan President to fix the messaging problem.
“I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban,” Biden said.
“And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
Milley testified at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that while he wouldn’t share his personal conversations with the President, he maintained his assessment “back in the fall of 2020, and remained consistent throughout, that we should keep a steady state of 2,500.”
Head of U.S. Central Command General Kenneth McKenzie testified, “I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.”
Yet, Biden couldn’t recall those recommendations.
“Biden lied when he told [George] Stephanopoulos no one advised him against his timeline-based withdrawal,” Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted. “His recklessness resulted in the deaths of 13 US service members and abandonment of countless citizens & allies.”
“Biden can’t avoid the consequences of his actions,” she concluded. “He must resign.”
Democrat Senator Chris Coons argued in 2019 that Joe Biden would be the better Commander-in-Chief because, “unlike (Trump) he would rely upon and listen to the advice of generals and diplomats.”
In addition to the 13 service members who died in the suicide bombing outside of Kabul airport, another 45 were wounded in the blast, some suffering brain injuries.
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