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Thomas Gallatin / December 15, 2021

Pentagon Holds No One Culpable for Botched Kabul Drone Strike

Where’s the justice for Afghan victims of Joe Biden’s gross malfeasance?

The Biden administration is trying to sweep the consequences of Joe Biden’s horrendous Afghanistan surrender and retreat under the rug. Nowhere is this more obvious than the Pentagon’s recent announcement that no one — no U.S. military personnel nor anyone else — will be facing disciplinary action as a result of the botched drone strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians.

Now, to be clear, this isn’t the fault of the military personnel who acted on orders. This ill-advised drone strike was Biden’s “do something” retaliatory response after two jihadi suicide bombers struck outside the Kabul airport, killing 13 U.S. service members and more than a hundred Afghan civilians who were clamoring to escape the Taliban.

“There was not a strong enough case to be made for personal accountability,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. “The recommendations were more about procedure and process and the secretary reviewed them and has accepted them. And again, most of them are of a classified nature … but there was no overt recommendation made by either specific to accountability and any punishment for anyone.”

Then, almost humorously, Kirby insisted that this decision doesn’t mean that Team Biden “is turning a blind eye to a high standard of conduct and leadership.” Talk about gaslighting.

The problem is Kirby’s excuse doesn’t pass the smell test. An active-duty combat-arms officer writing under the pen name Robert M. Berg recently contended:

Accountability for the botched drone strike by the U.S. military that killed ten civilians in Kabul must lie somewhere. Having personally conducted countless dynamic-targeting situations while running current operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I can attest that you do not just strike a car you have been actively tracking for eight hours that is loaded with civilians without people making serious mistakes. Likely these mistakes came at much higher levels than Air Force lieutenant general Sami Said’s review cared to look.

What I find most interesting is that Said focused all his comments on the “strike cell” and the information that our military had at the time. While I am not for micromanaging our current operations cells, where this strike would have been tracked and processed, it is hard to believe that general or flag-level officers (abbreviated GOFOs, a term used to refer to general or admiral-level officers within our military) were not directly involved in approving this strike. Who were these GOFOs, and how actively were they tracking the situation? We don’t know. But we should.

Berg surmises that what’s really going on here “is that the Pentagon intentionally overlooked potential failures of GOFOs, senior defense and intelligence officials, and White House officials to shield them from culpability in the deaths of ten civilians.” He adds: “Instead of actually investigating the failures that led to this strike, Said simply cleared low-level operators who were under-resourced, fed bad intelligence, placed under political pressure from possibly as high up as the president, and operating under restricted ROE they did not set. To take any investigation seriously to clear the Department of Defense and Biden administration of ‘misconduct or negligence’ for the strike, we need to look much higher than the ‘strike cell.’”

Following the Afghan surrender disaster and Kabul bombing, Biden disingenuously declared, “I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that’s happened of late.” Of course, he immediately offered a huge qualifier: “You know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban…” In any case, now Biden’s DOD is claiming to take seriously the failures surrounding the drone strike, only to then shirk any culpability, essentially blaming it all on the fog of war.

This is what passes for “leadership” in the Biden administration, and it’s exactly why America’s enemies are eagerly arming up and preparing for action with little concern that “tough guy” Biden will do anything other than bloviate toothless warnings.

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