NY Post, Aug. 29, 2021
Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, must go.
President Biden claims that the military advised him to close Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and instead use Kabul’s airport to evacuate Americans. They were the ones who said the Afghan army would hold, that the pullout would go smoothly.
If Biden is telling the truth, this disaster is on Milley’s watch. Or Biden is lying (the more likely scenario, based on what sources inside the administration are saying) and Milley failed to do his duty and push back against a commander-in-chief who is making deadly decisions. Either way, he is derelict in his duty — and must either take responsibility for what went wrong or tell Americans the truth about their president.
Biden was reportedly so intent on drawing down the number of troops in Afghanistan to less than 1,000, a force not large enough to secure Bagram, that we gave up its strategic advantage. Not only that, but we left in the dead of night, abandoning weapons and vehicles to the Taliban and demoralizing our Afghan allies. That forced Marines to protect the perimeter of Hamid Karzai International Airport, a situation that the parent of one of the 13 service members who lost their lives compared to a “turkey shoot.” Biden should never have left the safety of evacuating Americans in the hands of the Taliban, or put these young men and women — 11 Marines, one Navy member and one Army soldier — in such danger.
It’s hard to think of a worse way to handle this pullout. Biden likes to blame former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban for the situation, but even setting aside that Biden could have negotiated to extend the deadline, he’s been president since January. Milley has been chairman of the Joint Chiefs since 2019. What have they been doing all these months? The US could have organized an evacuation from Bagram and held the base until Aug. 31 or longer, if necessary.
Instead, Milley spent his time defending critical race theory to Congress, while Biden ate ice cream.
And the response of the administration since? Let’s talk about COVID, climate change, putting our kids in debt for generations. Biden on Sunday angrily turned away from reporters when he was asked about Afghanistan, saying he’d only talk about Hurricane Ida. Anything but the mistakes that were made.
Biden and the generals cannot bear to hear the truth. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Stuart Scheller posted, “People are upset because their senior leaders let them down and none of them are raising their hands and accepting accountability or saying, ‘We messed this up.’ ” For this, he was stripped of command. Scheller knew he was risking his career, but honesty was more important.
Will Milley show such courage?
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