Wicker warns of lasting consequences of botched withdrawal from Afghanistan – Press releases
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., A senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today spoke in the Senate to discuss the failed Biden administration strategy in Afghanistan
“The president, I think, estimates that the cost of this debacle was only a few weeks of bad press. But I think he is really wrong. Maybe the president is counting on the American people forgetting that the disaster took place under his watch, ”Wicker said.
In his remarks, Wicker cited the American and Afghan allies left behind by the Biden administration and the new doubts major allies felt about America’s credibility.
“Perhaps the worst breach of trust in this dark chapter has been between our government and our own people during the withdrawal,” said Senator Wicker. “The president dismissed the Americans who stayed by saying that many of them wanted to stay in Afghanistan… This repeated pattern of broken promises and failures is ours.
General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Wicker at a recent Armed Services Committee hearing that the withdrawal from Afghanistan had caused “damage” to US alliances.
“Put simply, when we let go of our friends, our partners around the world start to wonder if they can trust us, if we will support them,” Wicker said. “It undermines our ability to cooperate with our allies, deter threats and keep the American people safe. And that encourages our opponents to act more aggressively. “
Wicker also pointed to a campaign by China to cast doubts on the United States’ willingness to defend Taiwan in the event of a crisis.
“[The Chinese] have pointed out to our friends in Taiwan that America is not a reliable partner. Even before our troops left Kabul completely, the Chinese media wasted no time predicting that we would also abandon friends in Taiwan if and when China invaded that country.
See the full excerpt from Senator Wicker’s remarks below:
It does not give me any pleasure to stand in the Senate today and talk about President Biden’s reckless and chaotic withdrawal, to talk about the consequences for the Afghan people who trusted us and took our side for 20 years and to speak of the enormous damage he has done to America’s reputation.
The President, I think, estimates that the cost of this debacle was only a few weeks of bad press. But I think he is really wrong. Perhaps the president is banking on the American people, forgetting that the disaster took place under his watch.
But it turns out, Madam President, that this is a disaster of historic proportions. We will be reeling from this debacle for years and decades to come. The President may try to change the subject, but the cold truth is that our nation will pay the price when we are dead and gone and these pages take a leadership position in this country.
Last week my colleagues and I, members of the Armed Services Committee, heard first hand from our country’s top military leaders who had advised the President on Afghanistan.
Their testimony made it clear what we knew from the start, that President Biden not only ignored their advice, which he has the power to do as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, but then twisted. this advice to the American people in a televised interview.
When asked if top military advisers recommended leaving a small troop presence behind to keep a lid on the situation, which would have kept all hell from breaking loose, the president insisted that no one, to his knowledge, had made this recommendation.
Madam President, we know that Joe Biden’s statement was not true. The president received good advice and then, incredibly, pleaded ignorance. He also received good advice from Democrats. And I would like to point out, my colleague from Rhode Island, Senator Whitehouse, when this was first brought up in a public meeting and the administration was explaining what was going to happen. Senator Whitehouse said: “It looks a lot like the fall of Saigon in April 1974.” Senator Whitehouse, as the son of a Foreign Service officer, remembered too closely the disaster in Saigon in the 1970s. And he warned administration officials that it could happen again.
And yet the President said that no one, to his knowledge, had made this recommendation or given these warnings. This is a president who promised to shoot straight at the American people, who said in February, and I quote: “You can handle anything as long as you are told the truth.”
I wish the president would truly believe this, endorse it, and live by it. The American people can handle the truth and they need to be told the truth. Here is a harsh truth from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Milley.
Our exit from Afghanistan was a, I quote, a “strategic failure”, without citing, on the part of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. This has caused, in quotes, “damage” to America’s credibility. That on behalf of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I appreciate that he aligns with the committee, aligns with the American people.
This damage was fully exposed last weekend when former Afghan Ambassador Adella Raz was asked by Axios: Do you still trust the United States? Our response was simple, dark and understandable. “No, sorry.” It was our response. “No, sorry.” She no longer trusts the United States. This loss of confidence extends far beyond Afghanistan.
General Milley noted, and I quote again: “Our credibility with allies and partners around the world and with adversaries is intensely scrutinized by them. And they said, yes, “damaged” is the correct word. Simply put: When we let go of our friends, our partners around the world start to wonder if they can trust us, if we will support them.
It undermines our ability to cooperate with our allies, deter threats, and keep the American people safe. And that encourages our opponents to act more aggressively. We already saw it in China last week. China has signaled to Taiwan by stepping up its air missions near Taiwan.
They signaled to our friends in Taiwan that America was not a reliable partner, even before our troops had completely left Kabul. The Chinese media wasted no time predicting that we would also abandon friends in Taiwan if and when China invaded that country. A matter of concern: will it embolden Iran? Terrorist groups in Pakistan that support the Taliban and remain a major concern?
But perhaps the worst breach of trust in this dark chapter has been between our government and our own people during the withdrawal.
President Biden assured us on national television, and I am quoting the President’s grammar. “If there are any US citizens left in Afghanistan, we’re going to stay, we’re going to stay to get them all out.” If there are still US citizens [in Afghanistan,] we’re going to stay to get them all out.
A few days later, that promise went out the window. The president dismissed the Americans who were staying, saying many of them wanted to stay in Afghanistan. Madam President, this repeated pattern of broken promises and failures is ours. These decisions will only further weaken our country, our alliances and our national security.
Unfortunately, we have to deal with restoring our reputation with our allies and the way our enemies and adversaries view us. Today I stand alongside my colleagues who have pledged to hold this administration to account.
Thank you, Madam President.