Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that last month’s US withdrawal from Afghanistan was “developed by a child’s mind” as two of America’s top military officers and the secretary of defense confirmed that President Biden was advised to keep at least 2,500 forces in the country to prevent the Taliban from overrunning the Western-backed government.
“The botched and embarrassingly incompetent withdrawal from Afghanistan had nothing to do with past Administrations or things that happened ‘from 20 years ago,’ (other than we should not have been in the Middle East in the first place!)” the 45th president began the first of three emailed statements from his Save America PAC. “The horrible ‘withdrawal’ was caused, in particular, because the Military was taken out before American citizens and $85 Billion worth of the highest-grade Military equipment anywhere in the world.
“This withdrawal was developed by a child’s mind, and only the Biden Administration is responsible for it,” Trump added.
In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended the withdrawal and argued that keeping troops in Afghanistan past the end of August would have “greatly imperiled our people in our mission.”
“Staying longer than we did would have made it even more dangerous for our people, and would not have significantly changed the number of evacuees we could get out,” Austin said.
Biden has claimed that his hands were tied by a cease-fire agreement forged in February 2020 by the Trump administration. The former president and other members of his administration, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have argued that the cease-fire preserved a stalemate in Afghanistan and kept the Taliban bottled up in its territory.
“When I left office, the Taliban was held at bay, we had as long as we wanted, there was no reason to rush, no soldiers were killed or even shot at for over 18 months, and if they didn’t meet certain conditions, we would have hit them very hard,” Trump insisted Tuesday. “But then Biden and [Gen. Mark] Milley removed the Military in one of the dumbest Military moves in history, and it all began. So sad for our Nation!”
In a second statement, Trump turned his wrath on Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after America’s top military commander admitted that he had been interviewed for three different books covering the final weeks of the Trump administration.
Under questioning from Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Milley disclosed that he had spoken with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward for his book “Peril,” co-authored with reporter Robert Costa. Milley also confirmed he had talked to Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig and the paper’s White House bureau chief Philip Rucker for their book “I Alone Can Fix It”, as well as Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender for his tome “Frankly, We Did Win This Election.”
“No wonder the Afghanistan withdrawal was such a disaster,” Trump groused. ‘General’ Milley spent all of his time talking to these Fake Book writers. That’s not a Soldier or General, that’s a Public Relations agent. America will continue losing with Milley and woke television Generals who are only looking to be stars!”
In a third statement, the former president contrasted Tuesday’s hearing with the ongoing investigation by a House select panel into the events surrounding the deadly riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6.
“Rather than the political January 6th Unselect Committee of Radical Left Democrats and Democrat wannabes (Warmonger Liz Cheney and Cryin’ Adam Kinzinger), Congress should set up a ‘Commission On the Disastrous Withdrawal From Afghanistan,’ to figure out what went wrong, why so many of our Warriors were killed, and why so much money (85 BILLION DOLLARS), in the form of Weapons and Military equipment, was left behind for the Taliban to use—and to sell to other countries,” Trump pronounced.
“This is without question something that needs to be investigated further. Thirteen dead AMERICAN HEROES, billions of dollars of equipment, and hundreds of Americans still left behind in Afghanistan with the Taliban!” he added.
Tuesday’s hearing was highlighted by the revelation that both Milley and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, had recommended that Biden keep forces in Afghanistan past the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline set by the White House.
However, that suggestion was ignored by the commander-in-chief.
“I am required, and the military commanders are required, to give our best military advice,” Milley said at one point during the hearing. “But the decision-makers are not required to follow that advice.”