Milley and Austin Confirm Another Key Biden Afghanistan Failure in Testy Exchange With Tom Cotton

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

There are a lot of damaging things for Joe Biden coming out in the testimony today by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley, and US CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie before the Senate.


One of the most damning was that both Milley and McKenzie testified that they had previously recommended to Biden that we keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan prior to his decision not to do so. McKenzie also said he predicted that withdrawing them would cause the Afghan Army to collapse and the Taliban to take over.

Biden repeatedly denied that he was ever told he should keep troops in the country past the withdrawal, including from any of his military commanders, as we previously reported. Biden also repeatedly claimed that no one anticipated that the country would collapse that fast and that he hadn’t been told that by anyone.

But it gets worse.

During the questioning by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Cotton asked Austin if the military leaders had ever advised Biden of their desire to want to keep troops there. Austin basically avoided the question, saying he knew Biden to be an “honest and forthright man.” Translation: he doesn’t really want to say that information was, in fact, conveyed to Biden. So, he was basically trying to be evasive with Cotton and not call out Biden, because, indeed, he knows they did advise him. He ultimately did concede that it was “received & considered, for sure.”


But then there was a truly stunning comment from Gen. Mark Milley during further questioning from Cotton. Cotton asked Milley when he was contacted by Joe Biden about the question of whether or not to extend the August 31 deadline after Kabul fell. Milley’s response has to make you wonder what the heck was going on with Joe Biden.

Kabul fell on August 15. If you recall, Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken were both on vacation. Indeed Joe Biden didn’t even say anything at all until August 16, when he made some brief remarks then went back on vacation.

So at a moment when it was a real question, he wasn’t even talking with his military advisors about it? This raises a greater question of what he was doing — and why he wasn’t talking with them.

The man who claimed they planned for every contingency hadn’t planned on what might happen if he had to extend the deadline. This means he really wasn’t even considering it, despite Americans being stuck all around Afghanistan.


Keep in mind that on August 18, he even told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would stay to get out all Americans, if need be, past August 31.

But he hadn’t even discussed it with his advisers, based on their testimony today. So, this makes all the more clear — if it wasn’t already clear — that, despite what he told Stephanopoulos and the American people, he had no intention of changing the date to help get out Americans. That was just a lie, because there was no effort to even talk about the possibility of it at that point.


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