Congressmen secretly visit Kabul, say war is a ‘failure’

Congressmen secretly visit Kabul, say war is a 'failure'

Reps. Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer — who recently made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan — blasted the war on Afghanistan on Sunday as a “failure upon failure.”

Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if the protracted battle that’s spanned two decades was “worth the cost” of lives and trillions of dollars, the duo unequivocally stated that it wasn’t.

“I think it’s impossible to sit here today and say yes,” said Meijer (R-Mich.) on “State of the Union.”

“Over the past two decades, at any one year, you could say what is our mission there and you’d get a different answer from the other 19.”

“There needs to be unsparing accountability,” he added. “We should have never put our American men and women in this position, and we need to realign our strategic and operational priorities to ensure that it never happens again. This is a failure upon failure.”

Moulton chimed in saying, “I think Peter’s right. It’s failure upon failure. The point is that this has been the failure of multiple administrations.”

Rep. Seth Moulton.
Rep. Seth Moulton says the crisis in Afghanistan “has been the failure of multiple administrations.”
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Meijer, a Republican, flew to Kabul Tuesday on a chartered aircraft to spend 15 hours observing the chaotic situation in the capital.

“As Members of Congress, we have a duty to provide oversight on the executive branch,’” the two said in a statement. “We conducted this visit in secret, speaking about it only after our departure, to minimize the risk and disruption to the people on the ground, and because we were there to gather information, not to grandstand.”

But some critics blasted the pair of lawmakers, claiming they were posing for pictures and took away resources from those in need of being evacuated from the Taliban-controlled country.

Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The ISIS-K suicide bomb attack that killed 13 US service members happened two days after Reps. Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer visited Kabul.
Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/US Marine Corps via AP

“It’s as moronic as it is selfish,” one official told the Washington Post. “They’re taking seats away from Americans and at-risk Afghans — while putting our diplomats and service members at greater risk — so they can have a moment in front of the cameras.”

On Sunday, the pair again defended the “secret” reconnaissance mission.

“Those accusations are just not true, but at the end of the day, I don’t care what the pundits in Washington are saying. They’ve been wrong about this war for 20 years,” Moulton, a former Marine Corp officer, said.

Rep. Peter Meijer.
Republican Peter Meijer (shown here) and Democrat Seth Moulton visited Kabul traveled to Kabul in secret “to minimize the risk and disruption.”
Carlos Osorio/AP

“When I was on the ground in Iraq, I felt forgotten by the United States Congress, by people in Washington making decisions that cost lives on the ground, because they had no idea what was actually going on,” he explained. “And so why should Marines and soldiers in another war be betrayed by Congress in the same way?”

When asked by Tapper whether he believes any member of Congress should be able to travel to Afghanistan, Meijer — who served in Iraq as an Army Reserve member and a conflict analyst — insisted he and Moulton were “uniquely” qualified stealthily visit Kabul.

“The fact is that Seth and I are uniquely positioned to better understand and also to have as light of a footprint as possible, and not only both served with the military in Iraq, we’d also spent time in Afghanistan as civilians, I was a conflict analyst there helping NGOs coordinate evacuations, from 2013 to 2015,” he said.

Rep. Seth Moulton.
Reps. Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer both served with the military in Iraq and spent time in Afghanistan as civilians.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

“So we were uniquely situated to be able to get in, get out, be as quiet as possible, but also take away as much information as possible.” 

Two days after their visit, an ISIS-K suicide bomber killed 13 US service members and at least 169 Afghans outside the Kabul airport gate.

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