U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding Afghanistan:
“…to a deadly degree, a parade of mistakes in Afghanistan tells us President Biden and his team have failed this most basic test of competence.
“…The collapse we’ve witnessed wasn’t inevitable. It didn’t happen on its own. It happened because President Biden pulled the plug on our Afghan partners and pulled the rug out from under our allies who were with us in this shared fight.
“Everyone seems to realize this is a historic disaster for the United States except the President and his loyal retainers.
“Secretary Blinken points to the frantic evacuation of a hundred thousand desperate people as a huge success.
“Seriously? They initially didn’t envision having to evacuate anyone. The number of people evacuated is not a metric of success for this Administration; it is a measure of their failure.
“Back in April, my colleague the Democratic Leader heaped praise on what he called President Biden’s, quote, “careful and thought-out plan with a real timetable and a firm end date.” End quote.
“Does he stand by his lavish praise for a careful and though-out plan? Crickets.
“Was it wise to conduct our retreat during the height of the fighting season?
“Was it sound strategy to preemptively abandon the strategic Bagram air base in the middle of the night without telling our partners?
“Was it careful and prudent to tie our departure to the 20th anniversary of September 11?
“Our botched retreat from a so-called endless war cost more American lives than nearly the prior two years combined.”
“…The President said everyone who wanted to get out would be able to do so, that we would leave no one behind. Instead, we left Americans and vulnerable Afghans behind.
“Secretary Blinken said the Taliban committed to allow Americans and vulnerable Afghans safe passage to the airport. Instead, we know Americans and Afghans were prevented from getting to the airport. Many still cannot leave.
“The Administration said we’d have tremendous leverage over the Taliban; that they would need international recognition and funding. Yet the Taliban doesn’t seem terribly concerned with global PR.
“The Administration said they would hold the Taliban accountable. They haven’t.
“The Administration seemed to believe the Taliban would establish an inclusive and representational government.
“We’re talking about a government of medieval theocrats. The same killers, kidnappers, and hostage-takers who aided and abetted the terrorist architects of 9/11.
“Well, their government is inclusive in one way: It includes 4 of the Guantanamo Bay terrorists released by President Obama in exchange for Bowe Bergdahl.
“It also includes a senior Haqqani terrorist with a $5 million bounty on his head and American blood on his hands.
“This is not a government that cares about staying in the good graces of the so-called international community.
“Enough fluff. Enough spin. It’s time for hard truths and accountability.
“The Biden Administration’s conduct over the past several months demands thorough investigation by the Senate.
“That will begin with Secretary Blinken’s hearing at the Foreign Relations Committee today.
“I hope the Secretary, and the Administration he represents, are prepared to answer some tough questions – about past decisions and future plans.
“The American people, and the vulnerable partners we’ve left behind, deserve nothing less.”