Blinken firing blanks

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday. He gave a 15-minute opening statement and responded in his fashion to questions posed by members. The State Department transcript and video of Blinken’s opening statement are posted here. The State Department video of the entire hearing is posted below. The hearing commences at about 45:00 of the video. The New York Times account of the hearing is here.

Blinken appeared at the hearing remotely. It’s not a proud moment for him or for the department. He prefers to phone it in, and he wasn’t the only one.

The hearing was devoted to our historic departure from Afghanistan and surrender to the Taliban. Although he claims they were a great success, — he blamed Trump, as always. Trump allegedly tied the administration’s hands. This is getting old: “We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan.” However, Blinken also bragged that Biden made a decision “that none of his predecessors made” to end the Afghan war.

It’s a deeply shameful and incredibly destructive episode. Shamelessness comes in handy. It also helps that he’s an idiot, mouthing shibboleths about the Taliban’s failed “inclusivity.” Blinken finds that the Taliban have fallen “very short of the mark” in recruiting women to government positions. The Taliban — they’re sticking with the Taliban. (Andrew McCarthy comments here.) Someone should get them a copy of the Supreme Court’s Bakke decision.

This comes from the Times story:

“I know there have been night letters that have been posted on doors marking people for interrogation or assassination,” said Representative Abigail Spanberger, Democrat of Virginia. She added that “murders and beatings have been documented against those who have helped the United States.”

Mr. Blinken agreed that such episodes “are deeply, deeply disturbing” and suggested that the Biden administration was preparing consequences for the Taliban should their leaders renege on their assurances. They are expected to include economic sanctions against the government, and an end to Taliban hopes for international funding and legitimacy.

Blinken also acknowledged that the the Afghanistan government’s acting Cabinet includes members with “very challenging track records,” such as FBI-wanted interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani.

About our drone strike that appears to have taken out a friend of the United States as we departed, our claims to the contrary notwithstanding: “That is being looked at very, very, very carefully by others in the administration. No country on earth takes more precautions to ensure that no one other than the terrorist target is struck by a drone.” Someone will get back to us on that some time.

The biggest news out of the hearing must be that thousands of lawful permanent residents were left behind in addition to 100 citizens: “I think the best estimates are that there’s several thousand green card holders in Afghanistan[.]” The Examiner picks up this thread of Blinken’s testimony.

Hunter Biden cropped up as a sidebar via the questions posed by Rep. Scott Perry. Blinken had no scripted answer to Perry’s queries about a recent FBI interview. The New York Post quotes Blinken: “I-I-I-I-I’m not sure what you’re referring to, and I’m happy to take that up with you offline.” I infer that Blinken had a pretty good idea what Perry was referring to.

Blinken testifies again this morning at 10:00 a.m. (Eastern) before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The song will remain the same, but perhaps someone can follow up on the questions raised by Blinken’s testimony yesterday.

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