Now, I didn’t think I would be pointing at Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) for saying anything consequential when it comes to what has gone down in Afghanistan. I think it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t agree with him on much. But I have to say he just eviscerated Joe Biden with some points that others aren’t making that everyone needs to hear.
First, he calls out Biden for the “false choice” that Biden has been making for months and that he made again in his speech today — that the choice is between immediate and precipitous withdrawal, with no clarity and no plan versus 150,000 occupying ground troops. A false choice which isn’t the reality of what was on the ground, we haven’t had 100,000 troops there in a decade, he said. What we had been holding them in check with a team of about 2500 until Biden removed them.
But then Sasse notes that even if you removed them, what a horrible way Biden went about doing it. He says Republicans and Democrats have been screaming at Biden for months saying “What is your plan?” but that his team was not able to answer that question. He says the Biden bizarrely claimed that they had nothing to fear from the Taliban for any significant offensive until next spring. This is as the Taliban was continuing to make gains across the country over the past few months. “They didn’t have a contingency plan,” Sasse said, despite what they claimed and despite what Biden tried to claim today in his speech.
Perhaps the most important part of what Sasse said is the reason why so many of the Afghan security forces melted. “Because the Biden Administration messaged over and over again this nonsense about a negotiation with the Taliban off in some Belgium restaurant somewhere. They messaged repeatedly that they were not going to support our allies in the moment of crisis. So you have the Biden Administration actively undermining the confidence of the commanders in the Afghan security forces.” Yet, now Biden is blaming them for caving as indeed, he couldn’t even be bothered to pull out the people who helped us and to whom we had an obligation.
But Biden then not only tried to blame Trump, he blamed Afghans, Sasse said. “He started attacking moms and dads who were at the edge of that airport with their kids,” Sasse said. “They were there because our troops promised them that the U.S. would never just turn tail and have another Saigon-like event. This is worse than Saigon. What is happening at the Karzai International Airport today is a more shameful, lower moment in U.S. history, than 1975 Saigon. And Biden comes out of his bunker, he comes back from Camp David, trying to do a campaign photo-op speech and he attacks the Afghan people who are at the edge of that airport because we promised them security. They fought with us and we said they would be secure. And his administration undermined the confidence of those people fighting, and they didn’t believe they were going to have air support [from the U.S.]. And then we bizarrely, in one of the great blunders of military history, evacuated Bagram Air Force base in the night. Why? Why would we have evacuated Bagram Air Force base? The Biden Administration undermined the confidence of the fighters in Afghanistan.”
The point he was making about Bagram is a point that is not generally being made in the media. Had they kept that open, they could have evacuated people from there, from a fully fortified, protected base. For some reason, they are now stuck in an unprotected area at Karzai Airport trying to scramble to cover themselves. We should have held that until everyone we wanted to get out got out. Yet, that’s a colossal blunder on Biden’s part. It shows there was no thought, certainly no competent military thought that went into this at all.