Fox News contributor and veteran Pete Hegseth and his co-hosts on “The Five” served up serious criticism of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s testimony before Congress on Monday as dry, unapologetic, and failing to take responsibility for the chaos now unraveling in Afghanistan.
“It’s time to end America’s longest war. There’s no evidence that staying longer would have made the Afghan security forces or the Afghan government any more resilient or self-sustaining. If 20 years and hundreds of billions of dollars of support, equipment and training did not suffice, why would another year? Another five? Another 10?” the secretary argued in his opening statement.
“You can’t deny the fact that we are in a more dangerous and precarious situation [20 years after 9/11], and you can’t deny the fact that Tony Blinken spent the time testifying, he was effectively trying to defend the indefensible,” Hegseth fired.
Blinken, who testified via video, affirmed the Biden administration’s expectations and their reliance on the Taliban, the terrorist organization that forcefully overtook the Afghan government following the botched withdrawal.
(Source: Fox News)
“We expect the Taliban to ensure freedom of travel, make good on its commitments on counter-terrorism, to uphold the basic rights of the Afghan people,” the Secretary of State told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“The Five” featured a clip of a heated exchange between Congressman Scott Perry (R-PA) and Blinken over the abysmal withdrawal and the status of hundreds of Americans left behind in the Taliban-controlled country.
“Did State [Department] at any point in the process block American citizens from leaving Afghanistan?” Perry asked.
“To the contrary, my officers ran into the buildings from around the world to help Americans get out,” Blinken answered.
“None. Your testimony before Congress is that State didn’t block any American citizens leaving Afghanistan,” the Pennsylvania congressman clarified.
“They were there to help Americans get out,” Blinken responded.
Perry was able to confirm from Blinken that there are “thousands” of American green card holders and an unknown number of special immigrant visa holders stranded in the country.
“There’s no way to defend what he said, what the administration said they would do, and square it with the actions that occurred in Kabul, from what he can oversee [like] abandoning the embassy, which he said he would never ever do. To claiming … that they were not blocking Americans from leaving in Afghanistan, which those of us who were involved in that effort [know] was categorically false,” Hegseth said.
Hegseth recalled that in March, Blinken said the administration would bring a responsible end to the conflict, that they would remove troops from harm’s way, and ensure that Afghanistan would never become a haven for terrorists.
“Many of the Taliban who were in charge at 9/11 are now in charge now,” Hegseth pointed out.
Host Jesse Watters called Blinken an empty suit and noted how difficult it was to watch his testimony as he dodged and avoided directly answering questions from the committee.
“That’s the strategy, bore you to death while everyone else dies,” Watters observed.
The Fox News panel discussed the many Democrat committee members who tried to rewrite history and blame the present crisis on former President Donald Trump’s 2020 deal with Taliban leader Abdul Baradar.
In fact, Blinken went so far as to claim he inherited a deadline with no plan from the Trump administration. It is worth noting that the Trump administration planned to have entirely withdrawn from Afghanistan by May 2021.
Watters said Republicans should have focused their line of questioning on what the administration knew prior to the withdrawal to hone in on just how botched the process was.
One Republican, however, did just that.
Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) opened his inquiry by referencing a leaked phone call between President Joe Biden and the former Afghan president in July, in which Biden suggested both knew the Taliban was likely to take over Afghanistan as American troops were pulled out.
The secretary dodged the assertion, saying that Biden was simply voicing concerns about the “will and the plan” of the Afghan forces to withstand the enemy advance.
“So the transcript is incorrect, that’s your testimony?” Mast responded.
The congressman got emotional and held up photos of the 13 fallen U.S. service members, naming each of them and calling on Blinken to provide their families with the truth.
“They deserve to know if you manipulated intelligence — if President Biden manipulated intelligence — and that’s what led to everything going so wrong,” Mast stated.
“I do not believe whatsoever what you’re saying about the administration not working to manipulate that intelligence. To me, that is the most logical — the most logical — of how so many in the intelligence community got this so wrong about what was going to happen in Afghanistan,” Mast told Blinken.
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