Friday on FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson ridiculed the media and those claiming “progress” in Afghanistan in the wake of the collapse of the U.S.-installed government in Kabul in an abbreviated amount of time.
Carlson noted the U.S. military equipment left behind, which he described as the Biden administration arming the Taliban and marooning its own citizens.
Transcript as follows:
CARLSON: In July of 2017, every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with newly elected President Donald Trump for the first time. It didn’t go well. “You’re all losers,” the President has told them according to a “Foreign Policy” magazine account. “You don’t know how to win anymore.”
Now, that’s a harsh assessment, obviously, though arguably true, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff are, keep in mind the country’s highest-ranking military officers. Their job is to follow the orders of elected officials and protect the country no matter how much their feelings may be hurt.
But in this case, that’s not what happened, because the rules are different now. According to U.S. Army Major General Paul Eaton, the President’s insults that day and similar comments he made in public were a bitter humiliation for the country’s military leaders and they made it their mission to undermine civilian control of The Pentagon ever after, quote: “I was really shocked by how many of my former colleagues voted for the former President and openly supported him,” Eaton said, “But when Trump turned on the military, well the military turned on him.” End quote.
Now keep in mind, that’s not how democracy is supposed to work. Military leaders report to the people you elect, but again that’s not what happened.
Stories began leaking about how the President — President Trump was ignoring classified Intelligence about Russian bounties in Afghanistan. Where do you think those stories came from? They came from The Pentagon. That was payback. Then the military simply refused to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan even though they were ordered to do so by the elected President of the United States. Again, no more civilian control of the military.
When Joe Biden finally became President on Inauguration Day, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley was so excited, he couldn’t control himself, quote: “No one has a bigger smile today than I do,” Milley told Michelle Obama, sucking up like a child. “You can’t see it under my mask, but I do.”
The media people who supported Biden from the very beginning, including a former CIA Director — there are many of those on television these days — also celebrated. They told us that the adults were back in charge.
The orange man is gone. Everything is going to be better now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Anybody who has any connection to reality about what is going on around them should have watched that and said the adults are back in the room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems as though we have a professional adult once again in the White House who is just simply doing the work.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, “FAREED ZAKARIA GPS”: Really the theme I would say is the adults are back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still, it is a relief to have adults in charge.
JOHN O. BRENNAN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Now we have adults in the White House.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Okay, the adults are back in the room.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST: There is a sense, I think the world over, that the adults have returned.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC HOST: We have an adult in the White House now and it’s glorious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Those clips are amazing to watch now simply because they consist of the most childish people in the country celebrating adulthood, but they look especially absurd in light of what we’ve just seen in Afghanistan.
These days, Joe Biden’s friends in The Pentagon and the Foreign Affairs desk at NBC News no longer think he is an adult. He abandoned American citizens. He got 13 Americans killed and suddenly, they seem a little ashamed. Plus, he has turned his back on the neocon project and that’s the greatest offense of all.
But the bigger question is why our media and the military were talking like this in the first place. The adults are back in charge? What does that mean exactly?
Well if you follow the generals who have been telling us for the past 20 years about Afghanistan, you realize very quickly, adults means people who are willing to pretend that everything is fine when it’s very much not fine.
Consider that no matter how badly our mission in Afghanistan was deteriorating, by the way, we were never clear what that mission was, but clearly, our strategy of pacifying the country was falling apart. No matter how badly it got in Afghanistan, The Pentagon and its many spokesmen repeatedly told us we were making incredible progress, and progress is the word they used again, again, and again, almost as if they coordinated it.
In 2005 for example, the head of U.S. Central Command, General John Abizaid told reporters, quote: “Over the three years we’ve been operating here, Afghanistan has shown interesting progress.” Two years later the website “Task and Purpose” reported that another senior, General Dan McNeill had a similar message. He said quote: “I’d like to point out there are significant progress in the forward move of the Afghan National Army.”
In 2008, the commander of the 101st Airborne, apparently, another adult concurred that progress was ongoing, quote: “We’re making some steady progress here.” Then in 2010, even as coalition casualties were increasing, the progress somehow continued unabated. It was “progress” no matter what.
Another Lieutenant General called David Rodriguez informed reporters at a news conference in Kabul, quote: “We are steadily making deliberate (can you guess) progress.”
That same year, Stanley McChrystal, then the Commander of all U.S. forces in Afghanistan also wanted us to know progress was being made quote: “I think we have made significant progress in setting the conditions in 2009 and beginning some progress and we’ll make real progress in 2010,” which we remind you was 11 years ago.
Then Stanley McChrystal was fired for criticizing the Obama administration, in particular, the total incompetence of the current President Joe Biden and David Petraeus took over, and sure enough, General Petraeus quickly declared that quote, “Progress has been achieved in some critical areas and we are poised to realize more progress.”
Just a year later, in 2011, Petraeus doubled down. He told lawmakers that year that quote, “The past eight months have seen important, but hard-fought progress.”
Speaking that summer to troops in Kandahar, the Defense Secretary at the time, Robert Gates echoed that theme.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GATES, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: And what you’ve accomplished is extraordinary because over the last year, essentially you have ejected the Taliban from their — from their home territory, and if we can hold this territory and expand the bubble, then I think — I think by the end of the year, we can turn the corner in this conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: Gates didn’t actually use the word “progress.” He had more original language than that, but the message was the same. And just to make sure that message was crystal clear, senior military leaders kept using that word. A few years later, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford confirmed that progress was indeed continuing, quote: “At this point, we’ve made significant progress.” He said that in 2013.
And then three years later, in 2016, the new commander in Afghanistan John W. Nicholson said the same thing, “We are seeing some progress.”
As recently as last year, a spokesman for Mark Milley said he was hard at work making sure to accelerate progress in Afghanistan.
So if you’re wondering why Americans were so confused by the fact that Kabul fell in an afternoon and the Taliban controlled the country that we occupied for 20 years, maybe it’s because they thought we were making progress.
So consider that whole chronology you just heard. Consider the news that Reuters broke this week about Joe Biden’s recent conversation with the guy that we installed as the President of Afghanistan, some college professor called Ashraf Ghani.
Joe Biden told Ghani that even as the Taliban were taking over the country this summer, the most important thing to do is to keep up the appearance of you guessed it — progress. Quote: “I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban.” President Biden said, “And there is a need whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture,” end quote.
Now, two things to say about this. First, we know that conversation took place because The Pentagon and/or the State Department leaked it to Reuters. Now, why would they do that? Because whatever Biden’s faults, he did pull American troops out of Afghanistan and they hate that. So, they leaked an audiotape of the President speaking to another head of state. That’s illegal.
You can’t conduct statecraft if people are leaking the contents of your conversations, and yet, they are doing that to get back at him because he broke the rules. He stopped permanent war. He did it ineptly, but he did it.
So lying to the rest of us about what is actually happening with our troops and our money in our name in foreign countries, that has been the philosophy of this country’s military established for 20 years. It’s also the philosophy of every high-ranking official in the Biden administration. Project the illusion of progress, even when it’s clear we’re failing.
Tony Blinken who runs the State Department ineptly just announced the news that more than a hundred American citizens remain trapped in Afghanistan is really kind of progress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Now, U.S. military flights have ended and our troops have departed Afghanistan, a new chapter of America’s engagement with Afghanistan has begun.
We believe there are still a small number of Americans, under 200, and likely closer to 100 who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave. We’re trying to determine exactly how many.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: We had 20 years to figure it out, but we have no idea how many Americans including school children remain in Afghanistan because we are the adults in the room, and that’s why we’re going to lead with our diplomacy.
Now, what does that look like exactly? How do you lead with diplomacy? Well, here is one example.
Back in April of this year, Tony Blinken’s State Department announced that it was spending hundreds of millions of dollars on social programs in Afghanistan to destroy the patriarchy because that’s really our goal. Impose our modernist social values on prehistoric countries. We’re going to pay for programs that support, quote, “women’s empowerment.”
Where did that money go? Well, to people like Dr. Bahar Jalali who just posted this dirge for equity in Afghanistan on social media, quote: “For 8.5 years, I taught at the American university of Afghanistan as a faculty member and academic administrator,” she wrote. “I founded the first Gender Studies program in Afghanistan’s history there. All our work, hopes, dreams, progress only to have it snatched away so needlessly.”
So you’ve got to think, it takes a special kind of arrogance — we used to call this cultural imperialism — to imagine that other cultures want to ape your family structure, for example. Isn’t it up to the Afghans what kind of families they want? No. We tried to impose our customs on them and they hated it. I mean, that’s one of the reasons the Taliban took over in a weekend.
We hired people like Bahar Jalali and Ashraf Ghani to lead with our diplomacy. That’s what Afghanistan looked like for the past 20 years. Meanwhile, we’ve been leading with our diplomacy, we’ve given billions of American military dollars with equipment to the Taliban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Row upon row of sophisticated assault rifles, boxes of pistols, ammunition, vision equipment. Videos posted by the Taliban online in recent days boast of what they say are their seizures of the assault rifles in the Afghan City of Herat, and at Kunduz Airport, armored Humvees by the dozen.
Some mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles called MRAPs costing half a million dollars apiece, even a small drone. These are the potentially lethal spoils the Taliban are believed to have captured in recent days from defeated Afghan Forces, weapons made in America supplied by the U.S. to their fallen Afghan allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So now, we’re arming the Taliban and marooning our own citizens in Afghanistan. Who could possibly have seen that coming?
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor