The Biden administration never expected congressional surveillance to be comfortable, but lawmakers were busy questioning top military officials about withdrawing the chaos from Afghanistan on Tuesday, Jane Sackie said, adding that the hearing was necessary and good.
“We think it’s part of democracy,” the press secretary explained from the White House podium. After all, he continued, President Biden “welcomes honesty” and “welcomes debate.” This frankness is a reflection of his leadership, “and he will continue to be such a president.”
After all, this hearing was particularly problematic for the President. Just hours before Psaki took over, Gen. Mark Millie, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that they had recommended keeping at least 2,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan for resistance. Since the country broke up. The obvious problem: Biden went on record in August that he never received that advice.
The president told ABC News‘ George Stefanopoulos insisted that his military advisers did not recommend leaving a residual force, insisting that “no one told me this, as far as I can remember.” Now, the White House says a closer look at the transcript reveals that Biden referred to a “split” between the generals who argued that a residual force was needed and those who said it was not. “So, what should everyone take from this?” Psaki asked reporters, setting up answers to his own questions. “There was a range of perspectives.”
Millie and Mackenzie, as they testified on Tuesday, had the losing side of that argument. Who were the military commanders who won the debate? For now, it remains a mystery.
When an ABC reporter pressed for the information, Sasaki declined to be named. “The president has made it clear that the proposal is divided. He did not outline what everyone told him personally, “he added.” Pentagon officials are testifying before Congress today. They are answering the question correctly. They are providing more detailed information about their advice, as they should. ”
He added that “these conversations are not in black and white or you are in the middle of a movie.” Biden is presented with “a number of options for what each decision is a risk assessment.”
No response was received from some corners of Capitol Hill. “Accountability is not possible when the White House does not provide basic information,” Millie and McKenzie, a senior aide to Congress, complained after concluding their testimony. “If we’re going to go under what went wrong here, the White House needs to be clear about who was in Biden’s ear.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren apparently did not see a conflict. After questioning military leaders at the hearing, the Massachusetts Democrat tweeted two of his takeaways: “1) Leaving a few thousand U.S. troops will not change the outcome – but it will kill more Americans. 2) President Biden followed military advice on withdrawal and removal.
Although Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told the committee that leaving the remaining forces would fight the Taliban – White House colleagues rushed to the campaign on social media Tuesday evening – he and other Pentagon officials declined to discuss specific conversations with those who testified. President.
Biden came into office promising to be a direct shooter with the American public. He was president for just two weeks when he issued a memorandum declaring that “the work of our national security agencies is as transparent as possible, consistent with the source and methodology and the legitimate need to protect sensitive foreign relations.”
During the full withdrawal, even after the country fell into the hands of the Taliban, Biden repeatedly articulated his thoughts in speeches and press conferences. He refused to continue the war by sending troops to “jump into the third decade of conflict.” And as the fourth president to preside over the conflict, he promised that “this responsibility will not be given to the fifth.”
Now that the last U.S. troops have left Afghanistan, will the White House not reveal which generals were on either side of being “divided” about the needs of the remaining troops? Don’t people know who was advising Biden during that final chapter of history?
“What the American public knows and understands is that the president will welcome and accept and ask and press for opinions on every national security decision,” Saki said in response to a question from RealClearPolitics. He reiterated, however, that “we are not going to elaborate on those private discussions, the personal decisions that have taken place in the situation room for the public.”