Biden lied; people died.
That’s the inescapable conclusion after this week’s testimony in Congress by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair General Mark Milley; Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin; and CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
In August, President Joe Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that none of his military advisers suggested that he keep a residual force of 2,500 troops in the country to ensure that Afghanistan did not fall to the Taliban. That was false.
The military brass told Congress that they had, indeed, presented that option to Biden. Milley went further: he noted that in November 2020, then-President Donald Trump had ordered all troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan, but that after the military warned him of a potential collapse, he rescinded the order. Trump wanted to pull out of the country, but he listened to his military advisers.
Not so Joe Biden, who insisted on withdrawal — but on Sep. 11, not May 1, which ensured disaster.
Not only did the new date break the agreement Trump had reached with the Taliban — in negotiations started by Obama, by the way — but it also placed the withdrawal smack in the middle of the summer “fighting season,” rather than the winter.
The generals effectively threw Biden under the bus — and he deserves it, frankly, after telling the country that “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
But note how the generals carefully sidestepped their own responsibility. We didn’t learn enough about the curious decision to abandon the Bagram air base. We didn’t learn much about the intelligence failures that caused U.S. forces to be so surprised by the sudden turn of events.
We didn’t learn much about why Gen. Milley said in 2013 that the “conditions are set” for the U.S. to win the war in Afghanistan and that the Taliban were no longer capable of overthrowing the country.
It remains astonishing that none of the military leaders responsible for the Afghanistan debacle has resigned, while Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller willingly sits in the brig for having called them out publicly on social media, giving voice to what thousands of other servicemembers were thinking.
Asked by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) why he had not resigned yet, Milley said that doing so would be a “political” act — as if Milley had not been engaged in politics, on the left’s behalf, since 2020.
But at least Milley was held responsible, however briefly and incompletely, by Congress. What about the other generals and admirals who waded into politics in 2020 — who trashed Trump, and praised Biden for his supposed military acumen?
Where, for example, is retired General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, who was abruptly recalled from the field and fired by President Barack Obama in 2010 for trashing Biden in a Rolling Stone article?
In October 2020, McChrystal — who was then advising Democrats on campaign propaganda that used of artificial intelligence technology first developed by the military — endorsed Biden for president. He told MSNBC’s Morning Joe that Biden was “an honest person who is willing to listen.”
McChrystal added: “We need someone who will take in information, surround themselves with talented people and lead the country the best they can.”
Where is McChrystal’s apology today?
Or how about retired Admiral William McRaven, who published an op-ed in the New York Times in 2019, in the midst of President Trump’s absurd first impeachment, that Trump should be removed from office — “the sooner, the better.”
Now that we know Biden pressured then-Afghan president Ashraf Ghani this summer to create a false impression of stability, or else risk losing U.S. aid, where is McRaven, calling for Biden to be impeached for actually doing what Trump never did?
Then there’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a retired general who broke with Trump and accused him, falsely, of violating the Constitution in his walk across Lafayette Square last year to reassure Americans that the democratically-elected government, not the mob, was still in control. He compared Trump to a Nazi, pouring fuel on the fires of ongoing unrest that aimed to remove Trump from office. (Note how the Black Lives Matter protests have disappeared since then.)
Where is Mattis’s explanation for his error?
And how about the nearly 800 retired “national security leaders” who signed a much-ballyhooed letter backing Biden, praising his “sound judgment”? Or the over 70 retired Republican national security officials who signed a similar statement? Or the 50 former intelligence officials who defended Biden over the Hunter Biden laptop, calling it Russian disinformation?
Our national security leadership is politically compromised, and hence incompetent.
The “woke” military is the result of several factors. One is the increasing influence of left-wing faculty within the military academies — itself partly a response to the left-wing mandates of the Obama and Biden administrations, particularly on contentious and divisive issues of race and gender.
Senior military officials also cannot advance without political support in Congress — and they devote much of their energy to appeasing Democrats, since they take the support of Republicans for granted. Many military officials also look to careers in D.C. after their service — and D.C. is a left-wing company town.
Thus it was that Secretary Austin embraced the opportunity earlier this year to “stand down” the military to purge it of “extremists” — only on the right, and regardless of the urgent challenges that awaited in Afghanistan.
A different inquiry is needed — one aimed at the corrupt military establishment that backed Biden publicly in 2020, and led to our present disgrace.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.