Army vet hits Biden admin on MSNBC for making 'too many excuses' on Afghanistan
Media top headlines July 9
The New York Times getting criticized for defending ‘pornography literacy’ for first graders, ex-CNN regular Michael Avenatti getting prison time for Nike extortion, and The Lincoln Project’s co-founder saying the Capitol riot was worse than 9/11 round out today’s top media headlines
Iraq War veteran Paul Rieckhoff ripped President Biden’s recent decision to speed the withdrawal of combat troops in Afghanistan because of what it could mean for the heroes on the ground.
Biden aims to have troops home by the end of August, but Rieckhoff is among those concerned for the thousands of Afghans who helped the U.S. military as translators, drivers and in other capacities who now fear they will be targeted by the Taliban, which has appeared to make advances in northern districts controlled by the Afghan government. Rieckhoff said it was a “moral imperative” that the U.S. take care of those now reportedly vulnerable individuals.
“This is about the soul of who we are,” said Rieckhoff, who is also founder and executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, on MSNBC’s “Stephanie Ruhle Reports” on Friday. “And it’s not just about Afghanistan. It’s about sending a message to the world that if you stand with America for 20 years, you risk your life, you put your family on the line, that when the end comes, we won’t leave you hung out to dry, we won’t leave you to be slaughtered.”
“There is precedent to move people to American territories like Guam,” he continued. “And let’s break this down on a more simple level. This is the United States. We just put a robot on Mars. And the White House is telling us that they can’t get our friends out of Afghanistan? It’s too many excuses, it’s not enough details. and the reality is it’s an evolving situation where heroes, people who stood alongside me and countless others in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and around the Middle East, who are dying.”
Rieckhoff said he was personally concerned about one of his former interpreters because he doesn’t know his fate.
“One of my interpreters is still in Iraq or might be dead. I don’t know what happened to him,” he said. “That’s happening now across Afghanistan and to families throughout the military and the active duty that are very concerned about these heroic people that have stood with America and are being left to die.”
MSNBC correspondent Courtney Kube admitted in the same segment that it was only “kind of true” for Biden to say that Afghan security forces will be able to hold off the Taliban. In some cases, Kube noted, forces are laying down weapons. So the idea that they can actually defend more than the capitals is “really disputed with some defense officials I’m speaking with,” she noted.
Biden has previously told Fox News that interpreters would be welcome in the U.S., but because of congressional law, Afghan translators can’t be evacuated to the U.S. to await their visa processing.
Biden defended his foreign policy decision, saying it was “the responsibility of the Afghan people alone” of how they want to run their country.
As troops continue to withdraw, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby admitted that the Taliban’s advance was “concerning.”
“What we have seen is a deteriorating security situation on the ground — no question about that — that the Taliban continues to take district centers,” Kirby said on CNN Friday. “We are seeing them continue to advance on district centers around the country, and it is concerning.”
When pressed by CNN, Kirby could not “validate” the Taliban’s claim that it now controls 85% of Afghan territory, only noting that “claiming territory or claiming ground doesn’t mean you can sustain that or keep it over time.”
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