“Apologists claim that catastrophic withdrawal was inevitable. That’s absurd…Lawmakers asked in June why the Pentagon had not mobilized to protect Afghan allies. So why were our U.S.-owned air bases shut down before an evacuation was complete? Never have I witnessed a greater, swifter collapse of competence than what I have seen with the U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan.” – Christina Sommers
During an interview with ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, Biden denied multiple media reports that alleged he “overruled” top military commanders.
“No, they didn’t. It was split. That wasn’t true,” Biden said of a report from the Wall Street Journal. When pressed by Stephanopoulos on whether he ignored their advice, Biden again said, “No.”
The WSJ reported in April that Biden ignored the advice of his military commanders when he authorized the full withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
From the WSJ:
In contrast to the numerous Trump policies he reversed, he opted to carry out Mr. Trump’s deal with the Taliban instead of trying to renegotiate it. In so doing, he overruled his top military commanders: Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East; Gen. Austin Scott Miller, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan; and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Citing the risks of removing American forces to Afghan security and the U.S. Embassy, they recommended that the U.S. keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan while stepping up diplomacy to try to cement a peace agreement.
During an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Sullivan why the U.S. did not maintain a small presence in Afghanistan like top military commanders reportedly advised.
The question followed an earlier inquiry in which Todd asked why Bagram Air Base — a massive airbase in eastern Afghanistan — was closed before all American and Afghan allies were evacuated from Afghanistan. Sullivan told Todd the base was closed because military and national security advisers said the base could be shut down.
“So, you followed the military advice on closing Bagram. But the same military advisers were telling you to keep a force on the ground. They were — they told you not to pursue this withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, correct?” Todd asked.
Sullivan responded by explaining that decision — to fully withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan — ultimately rested on Biden’s shoulders, no matter what military commanders recommended.
Bottom line, Mr. Biden went ahead, over the pleas and against the advice of so many. The warnings came true. And because the administration provided no meaningful method for Americans and Afghans to leave, the chore has fallen to veterans and other civilians to try to save those who are desperately appealing for our help. Most have done it out of a sense of duty and moral obligation, and as a last-ditch effort to uphold the promises we made to our Afghan friends.