Thomas Gallatin / September 14, 2021

The Biden/Blinken Blatant Blame Game

Secretary of State Antony Blinken asserts that the U.S. surrender could not have been better.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken appeared before the House to give testimony virtually Monday. Apparently, he couldn’t be bothered to travel the three miles from the State Department building to show up in person before the House Foreign Affairs Committee to face questions over Joe Biden’s disastrous surrender in Afghanistan. It became quickly apparent that Blinken’s objective was to deflect all criticism for the irrefutably inept retreat onto the Trump administration, while at the same time praising his team’s diplomatic efforts.

“We inherited a deadline,” Blinken argued. “We did not inherit a plan.” That’s not true on multiple levels. For one thing, Team Biden quickly demonstrated that they weren’t bound by that deadline at all; they rejected it and set their own now-infamous deadline of August 31. Significantly, Biden’s later deadline just happened to coincide with the Taliban’s peak summertime “fighting season.”

Blinken also insisted, “There’s no evidence that staying longer would have made the Afghan security forces or the Afghan government any more resilient or self-sustaining.” Far from a defense of Biden’s policy choice, Blinken’s claim makes Biden’s debacle of a pullout even more inexcusable. Furthermore, it actually serves to refute Biden’s previous claim that his administration was surprised and caught off guard by an Afghan military that didn’t stand and fight as the Taliban was quickly taking back territory. Were they surprised, or did they know staying was futile? You can’t have it both ways.

Back in March, Blinken was singing a different tune when he boasted that the Biden administration would bring “a responsible end to the conflict, to remove our troops from harm’s way, and to ensure that Afghanistan can never again become a haven for terrorists.” Just the opposite has occurred, with 13 American military personnel killed along with a hundred Afghan civilians and the Taliban completely taking over the country and creating a haven for terrorists.

In a particularly heated exchange, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL), who lost both his legs fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, took Blinken to task. He highlighted Biden’s leaked phone call to the former Afghan president as evidence the administration knew weeks before that things weren’t going well. “I don’t want to hear from the secretary,” Mast asserted. “He lies to us when he appears before us. I don’t want to hear the secretary. We don’t need to hear lies.”

Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, responded to Blinken’s testimony by stating:

The president made this decision even though his own secretary of state [Antony Blinken] and secretary of defense [Lloyd Austin] were saying we are going to get all Americans out of there [Afghanistan] and all of our Afghan partners, there is no way it's humanly possible by August 31st. In the span of that hour and a half classified briefing the president made this decision and it’s very clear it surprised everybody. That’s why I say he will have blood [on his hands] because our military always says no man left behind, no one left behind, and the president is now leaving behind American citizens. I think it's a disgrace, a betrayal, and an unconditional surrender to the Taliban [that] should never have happened. This will have long-term consequences.

Multiple Republican lawmakers called on Blinken to take responsibility for the disastrous retreat and resign. “In American history,” Joe Wilson (R-SC) said, “American families have never been at a greater risk of attack at home than today. The global war on terrorism is not over, it has been moved from abroad to American homes. As the grateful father of an Afghanistan veteran, I especially see your actions as indefensible.” He added: “Your bizarre abandoning of Bagram Airfield led directly to 13 Marines murdered at Kabul. You should resign.”

Again, Wilson wasn’t alone. “We have an administration that does not know how to confront an adversary, understanding that they do not respect weakness, they only respect strength,” observed Lee Zeldin (R-NY). “And it is so greatly unfortunate, the consequences, and I believe that you, sir, should resign. That would be leadership.”

Blinken continues his testimony today, this time before the Senate. However, based on the House hearing, the only thing Americans can expect from him is more deceit and deflection. Taking responsibility for disastrously inept decisions and actions is something neither Biden nor members of his administration will do. Honesty and integrity do not reside in this White House.

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