Over the past two days of Congressional grilling of the Biden Administration’s defense officials, there have been some Democrats who have been trying to hold them to account and asking good questions.
I reported how one of those Dems, surprisingly, was Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who just tore into them for the incompetent way they left Americans and Afghan allies, saying there was “no one in charge.”
Another was Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a veteran who served in the Marines and did four tours of duty in Iraq.
Moulton asked CENTCOM Commander Gen. Frank McKenzie a terrific question — the central question behind the whole debacle — why did the evacuation begin after the pull-out of most of the troops? A completely baffling move for anyone with sense.
General McKenzie on why the withdrawal from Afghanistan started before the evacuation: "orders that I received." pic.twitter.com/RiyuvZB9v4
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 29, 2021
“You went from 2,500 troops in April to 650 in July, and then turned around and put 5,000 back into Kabul,” Moulton said. He said McKenzie has said repeatedly that he thought the Afghan government would fall if we took the 2,500 troops out. “So why didn’t you plan for an evacuation and leave enough troops on the ground to conduct it?” Moulton asked.
McKenzie’s response completely nailed Joe Biden. McKenzie claimed the evacuation had to be ordered by the Department of State. “The drawdown of U.S. forces was ordered by the president in April and completed in July.”
Moulton said, incredulous, “You’re going to fall back on the bureaucracy?”
McKenzie’s reply: “I’m going to fall back on the orders I received.”
In other words, this is all on Joe Biden because he ordered it in April without a care for the Americans still in country or the Afghan allies who also needed to get out. Even knowing that the country could collapse to the Taliban if he did so, because McKenzie and others had told him so. Biden lied about that, as we reported yesterday, saying no one had ever told him that including any of his military advisers.
It’s hard to be clearer than that. Good for Moulton for pursuing it and not being afraid to let the fall-out fall where it might. Other Democrats may try to paper that over or deflect, but that’s the bottom line: the decision was Joe Biden’s and it’s completely on him.