The Washington Post got the Army report on the debacle in Afghanistan and it tries to spin things discreetly. The report itself carefully leaves out key names and basic information. This would not have been tolerated from a GOP administration, but we all know how that goes.
Even in this carefully filtered form, the story is damning.
During an Aug. 6 meeting, a National Security Council official, who is not identified in the report, appeared to lack a sense of urgency and told others involved that if the United States had to execute an evacuation, it would signal “we have failed,” Brig Gen. Sullivan recalled. “In my opinion, the NSC was not seriously planning for an evacuation,” he said…
On Aug. 9, three days after the first provincial capital fell to the Taliban, Biden’s advisers convened meetings to discuss whether to begin closing the embassy, but senior officials unanimously decided it was still premature, the person said.
Unanimously. That’s a week before the Taliban took Kabul.
The Army takes plenty of shots at the State Department. And while military brass have plenty to answer for, I suspect this is all true.
At the embassy, U.S. troops went room to room on Aug. 15, pressing people to meet deadlines and get ready to go, an Army officer from the 10th Mountain Division told investigators. Some State Department personnel were “intoxicated and cowering in rooms,” and others were “operating like it was day-to-day operations with absolutely no sense of urgency or recognition of the situation,” the officer said.
So business as usual?
Military personnel would have been “much better prepared to conduct a more orderly” evacuation, Navy Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, the top U.S. commander on the ground during the operation, told Army investigators, “if policymakers had paid attention to the indicators of what was happening on the ground.” He did not identify any administration officials by name, but said inattention to the Taliban’s determination to complete a swift and total military takeover undermined commanders’ ability to ready their forces.
Inattention is polite military jargon. The State Department policy from Blinken on down was to deny that the Taliban intended to conquer Afghanistan.
But there have been and will be no consequences.