Knowing their days are numbered, Gens. Milley and Austin are have come up with a joint strategy to ensure their military and political futures.
Anonymous officials in both the State and Defense Departments have revealed Miley and Austin have passed blame for a recent failed Afghanistan evacuation mission, including the Americans left stranded, on Biden’s State Department. Their congressional testimony seems to bolster those anonymous claims.
The State Department ”waited too long” to order the civilian airlift operation out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers on Tuesday in a classified briefing.
He spoke more frankly in private than in his testimony on the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in hearings before Congress, where he said the timing of the State Department’s order was an ”open question that needs further exploration,” according to the report.
His comments highlight the rift currently forming in Biden’s administration between Anthony Blinken’s State Department and Lloyd Austin’s Pentagon. The past two days of hearings with Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Gen. Frank McKenzie have exposed the difference in approaches to the Afghanistan evacuation.
👀 Brilliant questioning by @JimInhofe. He gets Milley and Austin to "defer to the State Department" on how many Americans are still trapped in #Afghanistan, but then when he reads back State's number to them, they disagree with it.
Can't have it both ways. WATCH: pic.twitter.com/Pyo5BF2C6F
— John Cooper (@thejcoop) September 28, 2021
In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Austin said that the Kabul airlift could have begun in April, but the State Department did not approve the mission until Aug. 14. By then, the Taliban had all but seized control of the Afghan capital.
”I certainly think it could have,” Austin replied when asked by Democratic Rep. Kaialiʻi (Kai) Kahele of Hawaii whether U.S. citizens should have been flown out sooner.
”That’s a State Department call and we provide our input, and it’s based upon a lot of things,” Austin said, throwing the State Department under the bus.
And if that isn’t telling enough, Austin quickly followed up his statement by saying:
“This is not throwing my State Department colleagues under the bus.”
You can’t make this stuff up!
"On the issue of why we didn't bring out civilians and SIV's sooner… the call on how to do that and when to do it is really a State Department call." Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pic.twitter.com/MUZxuwRTw9
— Armed Services GOP (@HASCRepublicans) September 29, 2021
In a statement, the State Department defended itself from Miley and Austin’s condemnation:
“In Afghanistan, the Departments of State, Defense, and other interagency partners undertook an expansive military, diplomatic, security, and humanitarian operation, which included one of the largest airlifts in military history. Our ability to quickly build and launch such an operation is a testament to U.S. leadership and know-how.”
The “unity” gap Biden promised continues to widen in his administration and his party in general. Sleepy Joe can’t seem to find consensus amongst the people he’s relying on most to advances his far-left agenda. His chances for reelection are essentially down the tubes assuming he could even stand upright in three years.
Author: Elizabeth Tierney