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CNN host scolds Biden

CNN’s host Jake Tapper has chided US President Joe Biden for rejecting out of hand an exhaustive report suggesting that his administration was largely to blame for the deadly chaos surrounding last year’s US withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“It’s difficult to overstate how insulting Biden’s sweeping rejection is to so many service members and veterans,” Tapper said on his State of the Union show. He added that the 2,000-page US Army report was based largely on the sworn statements of troops who were on the ground in Kabul and had little political motivation to lie — as well as moral and legal obligations to tell the truth.

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The military investigation found that the evacuation would have been more orderly had policy makers paid closer attention to indicators on the ground as Taliban forces captured large swaths of the country.  

Asked in an NBC News interview about failures by the administration to appreciate the urgency of the situation as the Taliban was taking control of Afghanistan, Biden said, “No, that’s not what I was told.” Tapper blasted that excuse, saying, “If this was not what you were told, then what was? And don’t you have an obligation, sir, to be told? Don’t you have an obligation to Ryan Knauss’ family, to his grieving mother?

Knauss, an Army staff sergeant, was among the 13 US troops who were killed in a terrorist bombing last August outside the Kabul airport. Tapper said he doesn’t doubt that Biden cares for American service members, but he added, “I don’t understand why he would not manifest that care into taking this investigation more seriously, absorbing the tragic details, contemplating the obvious failures of his administration – failures that cost lives.”

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has argued that it was not the president’s fault that the evacuation effort went awry. “From the president on down, it was the White House and the NSC [National Security Council] pushing military leaders and diplomats day by day through those early days of August to say, should we begin the evacuation now? As soon as – the minute — our military leaders and diplomats recommended to the president that he do so, literally that minute, he ordered the evacuation,” Sullivan said in a CBS News interview on Sunday.

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