Milley insisting Bagram ‘not necessary tactically’ makes for convenient Biden scapegoat

Amid the devastating loss of life Thursday from a pair of bombings outside Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, including 13 U.S. service members, more than one military analyst has highlighted the compromising footprint U.S. forces have been left to operate from.

A point of failure that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley bears ultimate responsibility for.

With President Biden sticking to his own arbitrary August 31 deadline, U.S. Marines are dealing with a bottleneck at the airport to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies, which is where one of the bombs exploded — 11 Marines and a Navy corpsman were among the dead.

There have been multiple suggestions that the U.S. military retake Bagram Airbase, insisting that Biden should not have surrendered the base before all Americans have been evacuated. Bagram could then be used as a secure base of operations and allow the military to stay as long as necessary to get all Americans out.

The president was asked about this Thursday by a reporter after his address to the nation.

“Did you personally reject a recommendation to hold, or to recapture Bagram Air Force Base?” he was asked.

In effect, Biden responded by throwing his military commanders under the bus.

“On the tactical questions of how to conduct an evacuation or a war, I gather up all the major military personnel that are in Afghanistan — the commanders, as well as the Pentagon. And I ask for their best military judgment: what would be the most efficient way to accomplish the mission,” the president said. “They concluded — the military — that Bagram was not much value added, that it was much wiser to focus on Kabul.  And so, I followed that recommendation.”

While it cannot be known what the generals told Biden, it is known that on June 23, Milley, along with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, testified before the House Armed Services Committee about their budget requests and the general commented on the airbase being unnecessary for their mission.

“On Bagram, Bagram is not necessary tactically operationally for what we’re gonna try to do here with Afghanistan – consolidate on Kabul, in support of their government,” he said.

In a play on words, Biden again threw the generals under the bus, insisting there was consensus among the military leaders, the key terminology here being the “mission as designed,” which includes an Aug. 31 deadline four days away.

“I’ve instructed the military, whatever they need — if they need additional force — I will grant it,” Biden said. “But the military — from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Joint Chiefs, the commanders in the field — have all contacted me one way or another, usually by letter, saying they subscribe to the mission as designed to get as many people out as we can within the timeframe that is allotted.  That is the best way, they believe, to get as many Americans out as possible, and others.”

Syndicated radio host Jesse Kelly, a Marine Corps veteran, tore into Milley and Lloyd during an appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“None of them are looking in the mirror… and looking at themselves and saying ‘I think are really screwed up.’ They are all worried about their own rear ends and their pensions and their career and there’s no patriotism anymore and it makes me want to vomit,” he said.

Kelly called attention to Milley testifying before Congress about “white rage,” to rip the general.

“We’re finding out what all that’s getting us: There are only so many hours in the day, either you’re digging into white rage or are digging into actually finding a way to [extract] your people from Afghanistan without getting American citizens slaughtered, brave Marines slaughtered, our allies slaughtered,” he said.

At the end of the day, the likelihood of there being accountability for the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers under Joe Biden seems slim, at best.

Tom Tillison

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