(USA Features) Two top U.S. military officers testified under oath before a Senate committee Tuesday that they, in fact, advised President Joe Biden not to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan ahead of the disastrous, deadly evacuation last month, but the commander-in-chief didn’t listen.
What’s more, the sworn testimony of Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, which oversaw the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, differs from what Biden has said publicly ahead of and following the withdrawal.
The revelations have led some Republican senators grilling the two U.S. military officers to brand Biden as a fabricator, claiming he has “lied to America.”
“Republicans accused President Biden of lying to the American people after senators heard on Tuesday that the commander-in-chief was told his senior generals believed 2500 U.S. troops should stay in Afghanistan to prevent a Taliban takeover,” said a report by the Daily Mail on Tuesday.
“Testimony provided by the country’s defense secretary and two senior generals contradicted Biden’s claims he was never warned by military advisers that bringing home American soldiers risked the collapse of a fragile government in Kabul,” the outlet continued.
Republicans seized on the contradictions.
“Here’s what I’ve learned so far: Number one, the president of the United States lied to the American people about the advice that you gave to him, about the military judgement that you provided for him,” Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri said. “I think you’ve all testified to that effect now repeatedly.”
The Daily Mail continued:
Biden and his officials have insisted the speed of their advance and the collapse of Afghan security forces took them by surprise.
In an August 18 interview with George Stephanopoulos, the president even denied that he withdrew troops against the recommendation of his senior military advisers.
But McKenzie, head of US Central Command and who oversaw the final days of the war in Afghanistan, said he repeatedly argued that a small presence of U.S. troops was essential to stability.
“I stated consistently that my position was, if you go below 2500 you’re going to look at a collapse of the Afghan military,” McKenzie, a four-star Marine general, said.
However, he added, “I didn’t I did not foresee it to be days … I thought it would take months.”
McKenzie made his statements seated next to Milley and their immediate boss, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Milley, who has come under fire recently from Republicans for appearing to support so-called “woke” left-wing cultural curriculum at U.S. military academies, also testified that the collapse of the Afghan military and government was foreseen barring the presence of American troops.
“In the fall of 2020, my analysis was that an accelerated withdrawal without meeting specific and necessary conditions risks losing the substantial gains made in Afghanistan, damaging US worldwide credibility, and could precipitate a general collapse of the Afghan government, resulting in a complete Taliban takeover or general civil war,” Milley testified.
“That was a year ago, my assessment remained consistent throughout.”
Biden’s predecessor, President Donald Trump, campaigned on pulling all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan. In the last year of his term, he and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo struck a conditions-based pullout deal with the Taliban by May of this year, but both Trump and Pompeo have said Biden ditched that agreement.
During his ABC interview, Biden “denied that his military advisers warned him against bringing home all troops or that at least 2500 were needed to prevent a Taliban takeover,” the Daily Mail reported.
“No one said that to me that I can recall,” Biden said.
Republicans took to social media to call out the president.
Someone is lying.
Either President Biden ignored the advice of his top military advisors and lied to shift blame for his disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal—or those advisors lied to Congress under oath. pic.twitter.com/F6rBSG5Mp8
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) September 28, 2021
If it wasn’t already obvious, today’s Senate hearing confirmed: Joe Biden lied to the American people about his Afghanistan withdrawal plan.
— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) September 28, 2021
Joe Biden lied when he said he wasn't warned.
He lied when he said we'd stay to evacuate all Americans.
And he lied when he said the Afghanistan withdrawal was an "extraordinary success."
He's as dishonest as he is incompetent.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) September 28, 2021
Biden lied. https://t.co/XEs0Gdggis
— Ronna McDaniel (@GOPChairwoman) September 28, 2021
From what we are hearing, President Biden rejected military advice to keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and then lied about it to the American people.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) September 28, 2021