The Senate Armed Services is conducting a hearing today into Joe Biden’s Afghanistan fiasco. I’ve been tied up with other business and therefore unable to watch the proceedings.
Trying to catch up on what has transpired, I came across this piece in Politico. It demonstrates that Biden is either (1) lying about what generals recommended to him about withdrawing from Afghanistan or (2) lacks a good enough memory to serve as president.
According to Politico:
Top generals told lawmakers under oath on Tuesday that they advised President Joe Biden early this year to keep several thousand troops in Afghanistan — directly contradicting the president’s comments in August that no one warned him not to withdraw troops from the country.
In August, Biden denied that anyone associated with the military advised him to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan. George Stephanopoulos asked him:
So no one told — your military advisers did not tell you, “No, we should just keep 2,500 troops. It’s been a stable situation for the last several years. We can do that. We can continue to do that”?
No. No one said that to me that I can recall.
By adding “that I can recall,” Biden is hedging. Either (1) he realizes that someone did give him, essentially, that advice and wants an out in case he’s contradicted or (2) he doesn’t trust that his memory is of a level sufficient competently to perform his job.
If Biden feared he would be contradicted about the advice he received, his fear was justified. According to Politico, Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, made it clear to the Senate Armed Services that earlier this year, he advised Biden to maintain a small force in Afghanistan to maintain stability:
In answering questions from Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) about his advice, McKenzie said he would not share his “personal recommendation” to the president.
But he went on to say that his “personal view,” which he said shaped his recommendations, was that withdrawing those forces “would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and, eventually, the Afghan government.”
Furthermore, again according to Politico, McKenzie testified that he was present when Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, the commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan until July, advised Biden to leave a few thousand troops on the ground in Afghanistan. Miller reportedly testified to that effect at a closed-door session last week.
McKenzie says, “I was present when that discussion occurred and I am confident that the president heard all the recommendations and listened to them very thoughtfully.”
To make matters even worse for Biden, Gen. Mark Milley testified that he agreed with the assessment that the U.S. should maintain at least 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. Like McKenzie, Milley declined to disclose the particulars of his discussions with Biden. However, it seems certain that, as with McKenzie, Milley’s advice to the president was consistent with his actual views.
Is it plausible that Biden heard three top generals tell him to keep a few thousand troops in Afghanistan to avoid disaster but, after the passage of only a few months, can’t recall receiving this advice? I don’t think so. Biden was almost certainly lying to Stephanopoulos.
But if Biden really did forget the advice he received on this crucial matter from the three most relevant members of the military, then he lacks even half a mind to be president.