Senate Republicans exposed three blatant lies about the Afghanistan withdrawal by President Joe Biden during a contentious hearing with the Pentagon’s top military leaders.
Lie #1: No One Told Biden to Keep Troops in Afghanistan.
The first lie the senators exposed was Biden telling ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos in an August 19, 2021, interview that “no one” advised him to keep 2,500 American troops in Afghanistan.
However, during the hearing, senators got Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley, and U.S. Central Command commander Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie to admit that they had agreed with a recommendation to keep that many troops in Afghanistan, and that their views were heard by Biden.U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services
Under questioning by Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK), McKenzie admitted, “I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan,” and that he was “confident” Biden heard all recommendations.
Under questioning from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Milley also admitted that it was also his assessment that there should be a “steady state of 2,500” forces in Afghanistan. Austin said, “Their input was received by the president and considered by the president for sure.”
Lie #2: Biden Claims al-Qaeda Is Not in Afghanistan.
The second lie exposed was Biden saying on August 21 during a White House press conference that al-Qaeda was “gone” from Afghanistan, and thus the U.S. had no vital national security there.
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) asked Milley, “Was al-Qaeda gone from Afghanistan in mid-August? True or not true?”
Milley responded, “Al-Qaeda is still in Afghanistan. They were there in mid-August.”
Also asked to respond, McKenzie said, “Al-Qaeda was present in Afghanistan.”
Under questioning from Inhofe, Austin said, “Senator, I think there are remnants of al-Qaeda still in Afghanistan.”
Lie #3: Biden Promises to Leave Troops Until all Americans Are Evacuated.
Senate Republicans also forced the defense leaders to admit that Biden’s vow to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan until all Americans were out was also a lie.
Inhofe noted that Biden had also told Stephanopoulos, “If there’s American citizens left, we’re going to stay to get them all out,” but U.S. troops left with Americans still there.
“This didn’t happen. President Biden’s decision resulted in all the troops leaving, but the American citizens are still trying to get out. How many American citizens, in your opinion, are still there?” Inhofe asked Austin.
Austin deferred an answer to the State Department for “definitive numbers.” Milley also deferred to the State Department.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) later asked Austin point-blank, “Isn’t it true that you’ve left Americans behind on August the 31st?”
Austin responded, “There are Americans — there were Americans that were still in Afghanistan, and still are.”