Good Lord. We already know that Joe Biden’s retreat from Kabul left thousands of Americans behind Taliban lines, when his pell-mell rush to the exits didn’t bother to consider them. Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), chair of the House Armed Services subcommittee on readiness, tells CNN that their safety isn’t the responsibility of the military or the administration, at least not until they figure out how to get into the airport:
Pressure has mounted on Biden to commit to getting every American out, and many options are being presented to do that. But according to California Democrat John Garamendi, “it makes no sense whatsoever” to send U.S. troops into Kabul to extract American citizens.
“The people in Kabul and in other parts of [Afghanistan] are going to have to do the best they can to get [to the airport],” Garamendi, the Chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, told CNN. “There is no way the American military should use military force to go to someone’s house or some building somewhere to extract people. That will create a very significant problem and a very significant loss of life on both sides.”
He continued: “To provide safe passage from parts of a huge city? No way—not sensible.”
He may be correct, at least for the moment. There have been reports that other countries have used special forces to extract their citizens from Kabul and transported them to the airport, but nothing so far appears to be confirmed on that point. Those may have involved much smaller numbers gathered at a single collection point, or perhaps just a few locations. It’s going to be tough to insert patrols to pick up 15,000 Americans a half-dozen at a time now, thanks to our pell-mell rush to the exits.
Nevertheless, this is one hell of a message to send about one’s own citizens trapped behind Taliban lines, thanks to the country’s decision to abandon them there. The White House has been smart enough to avoid saying this on camera, although the State Department’s advisories to Americans in Afghanistan have strongly implied the same thing.
It’s one thing to imply that, however, and another to declare it. And not just declare it, but do so as Garamendi does here, almost rebuking people for thinking that their government has any responsibility for their safety. You’re on your own, kids. The Secretary will disavow, etc etc etc.
It all points up the incompetence and idiocy behind Joe Biden’s plan for withdrawal. The US knew we had somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand Americans in the city, and the Biden administration had two weeks to watch the Taliban sweep through provinces before they got to Kabul. We could have easily secured exfiltration routes to the airport in that period and established a much larger security perimeter in anticipation of the collapse. Instead, the White House and Pentagon prioritized a military bug-out, only to later throw many more troops back into the airport in a belated effort to keep flights available.
Perhaps Garamendi might want to look into those decisions. Y’know … about readiness, and all that. Isn’t that his gig? Instead, he’s trying to provide cover for the abandonment of Americans to our enemies by Biden and his hand-picked leaders at the Pentagon. It’s a disgrace.