President Joe Biden waived a requirement for the Pentagon to provide a report to Congress before reducing Afghanistan troop levels below 2,000. In a June letter to some Congressional Committees, he explained, “I have determined that a waiver of the limitation under subsection 1215(a) is important to the national security interests of the United States.”
That raised eyebrows among some Republicans, The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday, the same day Biden announced the end of “20 years of war in Afghanistan — the longest war in American history.”
That move was foreseen by Bradley Bowman and Maseh Zarif, who are both linked to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. In April they wrote an opinion piece for The Hill about Section 1215 in the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, arguing that it would provide a chance for the public to get better answers about the dangers of withdrawal. They did note the possibility that Biden might try to use a clause in the statute authorizing him to waive the requirement.
“To exercise that waiver, the president would need to certify in writing that not providing the information is in the ‘national security interests of the United States’ — and would need to provide a detailed explanation justifying that assertion. That would be a difficult argument for the Biden administration to make. After all, if a withdrawal by September that ignores conditions on the ground and the advice of commanders is in the national security interest, the Biden administration should be able to answer tough questions and defend the decision in the light of day,” they wrote.
In his June letter, Biden explained his reason for the waiver. He said, “As I announced on April 14, 2021, after almost 20 years, it is time to end America’s longest war and bring our troops home. I reached this conclusion after conducting a rigorous policy review process and consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the Vice President, and with the President of Afghanistan and many other leaders around the world.”
But Bowman told The Free Beacon that had the report been issued, that might have prevented “the horrible debacle we’re in now.”
“I think the fact that they used the national security waiver to refuse to answer these questions in the light of day tells me their answers could not have stood up to scrutiny,” Bowman said according to The Free Beacon.
“President Joe Biden was trying to avoid accountability for his withdrawal from Afghanistan before the withdrawal even began,” The Washington Examiner Commentary Writer Kaylee White wrote. “There’s a reason Biden didn’t want anyone asking these questions: He knew that his plan — get out every U.S. service member as quickly as possible and figure out the rest later — would not have withstood scrutiny. He would have had to admit that the intelligence community predicted a swift Taliban takeover and that at least some of his own military advisers objected to the rushed timing of his withdrawal.”
The Virginia Star asked press teams for Virginia’s congressional delegation for comment on the seriousness of the use of the waiver and if it justified impeachment. Spokespeople for Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09) and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA-08) were the only ones to respond. Both congressmen were unavailable for comment, although Beyer’s team highlighted the clause in Section 1215 allowing the waiver.
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