US Congress Debates ‘Final Outcome’ of Afghanistan War

Anger over the end of two decades of fighting by US troops in Afghanistan turned into an argument during a hearing between members of the US Congressional Armed Services Committee and senior military officials on the second day of the meeting on Wednesday (29/9).

Some members of the US Congress demanded that top officials step down while others praised the military officials for doing their best in a difficult situation.

The most vocal criticism has come from Republican congressmen, many of whom have repeatedly criticized US President Joe Biden for ending the US combat operation. They also defied advice from senior military officials about the latest US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Regardless of how you feel about the decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, I think we can all agree that the withdrawal was an unanticipated disaster,” said Mike Rogers of the Alabama state representative, the leading Republican member of the House Armed Services Commission.

“It was an extraordinary disaster … (and) one of the greatest failures of American leadership,” he added. He also expressed his concern about President Joe Biden who he considered unrealistic in making decisions on Afghanistan.

Another Republican from the state of Florida, Matt Gaetz, commented further, demanding Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chiefs of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, and General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, who was commander of US Central Command, immediately step down from his position.

“I’m sure you guys probably won’t resign,” said Gaetz.

“But if we didn’t have a president who was so screwed up, you would all be fired because that’s what you deserve.”

The partisan attacks grew so heated that the Democratic Party commission chairman, Adam Smith, repeatedly interrupted, countering what he described as “fundamentally incorrect” arguments. (my/jm)

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