It’s as if the ghost of John McCain has risen from the grave to point an accusing finger at current Secretary of State Tony Blinking for the Afghanistan debacle.
Blinken is facing fire from critics circulating what they say was a prophetic warning from the late Sen. John McCain that Bliken was “dangerous,” including for wanting to remove US troops from Afghanistan.
McCain said in 2014 that Blinken, who has largely been missing from public view since the Taliban retook Afghanistan, was wrong to advocate a US withdrawal.
The top foreign policy hawk, who died in 2018, argued that the US should leave “a few thousand” troops to prevent a Taliban takeover.
The Taliban’s rapid reconquest of Afghanistan triggered a chaotic rescue operation at Kabul’s airport, drawing bipartisan alarm at the perceived lack of US preparation. An unknown number of US citizens and former US military employees are stranded in the Afghan capital, unable to reach the airport.
“This individual has actually been dangerous to America and to the young men and women who are fighting [for] and serving it.” McCain said of Blinken at the time, slamming his policies as “at worst anti-strategic.”
Referring to the Islamic State terror group overrunning much of Iraq after US troops withdrew in 2011, McCain said, “Mr. Blinken said, ‘We’ve been very clear. We’ve been consistent. The war will be concluded by the end of 2014. We have a timetable, and that timetable will not change.’ This is why I’m so worried about him being in the position that he’s in. Because if they stick to that timetable, I’m telling my colleagues that we will see the replay of Iraq all over again. We must leave a stabilizing force behind of a few thousand troops.”
At the time, McCain was prophetically arguing that the Taliban would see similar success in Afghanistan.
Blinken was confirmed in 2015 over McCain’s objections as deputy secretary of state. Then-President Barack Obama didn’t stick to the 2014 timeframe, and US troops remained in Afghanistan for nearly seven more years.
Republicans Bring Up McCains Remarks Amidst Afghan Chaos
Larry Elder, the radio host and Republican gubernatorial candidate in California was among the high-profile conservatives who circulated McCain’s condemnation of Blinken.
“McCain warned in 2014 that Biden’s guy Blinken shouldn’t be anywhere near Afghanistan or in a decision-making role. McCain saw it coming,” wrote Hudson Institute senior fellow Michael Pregent,
The decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan had broad bipartisan support and also bipartisan opposition. This year’s pullout was set in motion by former President Donald Trump, who has criticized Biden’s execution of the plan.
Former Trump White House aide Stephen Miller tweeted Thursday that Blinken and Biden “blithely surrendered all US leverage in your butchered, bungled, blundering withdrawal. Our airbase, our military equipment, and many thousands of Americans trapped behind Taliban lines. You have disgraced yourself and embarrassed your country.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said of Blinkin, “The secretary of the state owes the American people a lot of explanations for this. Now, of course, the buck stops with Biden. Biden made all these decisions, and it’s absolutely reprehensible. But the State Department really botched this.”