|Washington, DC – Wyoming Congresswoman and House Armed Services Committee member Liz Cheney (R-WY) joined Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio this morning to discuss the continued fallout from the catastrophic decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and the disastrous ramifications currently unfolding.|
Listen to the full interview here and see relevant portions of the transcript below:
|BRIAN KILMEADE: To put in perspective, Congresswoman Liz Cheney. Congresswoman, welcome back. |
REP. LIZ CHENEY: Hey Brian, thanks so much for having me back.
KILMEADE: I mean listen, you’re one of the few people not surprised by this, right?
REP. CHENEY: No, it’s devastating, certainly heartbreaking to watch the scenes from the airport. And you and I’ve talked about this for years. You know, my view has been that having 2,500 to 3,500 U.S. forces on the ground to conduct counterterrorism, counterintelligence, to help us make sure that the Taliban wasn’t able to take over, that they weren’t able to continue to provide safe havens for al Qaeda, that that was an important deployment for our security, and we’ve watched just the absolute devastation in the last three or four days because of the determination that we needed to withdraw completely and because of the way that the Biden Administration is conducting the withdrawal. It’s really devastating.
KILMEADE: I want you to hear what Jake Sullivan just said. Now, I was doing “Fox and Friends,” so I missed it. He was on NBC. Here’s what he said when he was asked about this being a Saigon moment. Michael Waltz told me this is not true. He says that you can get back and forth in a vehicle, but listen to him try to explain that this isn’t like Saigon 1975. Cut two:
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR JAKE SULLIVAN: To be fair, the helicopter has been the mode of transport from our embassy to the airport for the last 20 years.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Do you know– it’s not the helicopter, it’s not the mechanism.
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SULLIVAN: That’s how we move people.
GUTHRIE: No, no, it’s the last-minute scramble, you know that. It’s the last-minute scramble when the assurances from the president himself were, “This is not what we were going to see.”
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR SULLIVAN: It is certainly the case that the speed with which cities fell was much greater than anyone anticipated, including the Afghans, including many of the analysts who looked hard at this problem.
KILMEADE: Analysts are the problem? What about your Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? I don’t know, Congresswoman, you have better sources than I do. Did they give him bad advice, or did he ignore it?
REP. CHENEY: I think that he ignored the advice of his military leaders. And look, you know, Jake Sullivan is right, this isn’t Saigon — it’s far worse.When you have a situation where the very terrorist organizations that housed al Qaeda, that housed ISIS, that housed al Qaeda as they planned and launched the attacks against us, are now back in control of the entire country. They’re going to establish a caliphate. The damage to our national security is significant. The prisoners that have been released, the extent to which this is going to change what we have to do in order to keep ourselves safe. Just a massive, massive failure. Now, and look, you know, Brian, we talked about this too, I think the agreement that the Trump Administration negotiated with the Taliban in 2020 was a surrender agreement, and that created a situation where we were legitimizing the Taliban and shutting out the Afghan government and set us on the path we’re on now. So, this is the consequence of a policy of American retreat and withdrawal, and it’s very dangerous.
KILMEADE: Absolutely. So, we’re talking to Congressman Liz Cheney, who knows enough about national security as anybody in Congress and the White House to be totally candid. Congresswoman, when you look at this, we basically set them up, and talking to people this weekend, almost like an American force to a degree. They’re used to having commanding officers, but guess what their commanding officers were? Americans. So, you could want to fight, but if you didn’t have a captain, a lieutenant, or colonel to turn around and say, “Where do I go?” that you believe in, it’s over. And that’s what happened. We totally left. So, listen to Richard Haass, who agrees with you about the agreement the Trump team cut. Cut 25. He’s the president of the Council of Foreign Relations.
RICHARD HAASS: I would actually think the agreement we signed with the Taliban in February of 2020 was a disaster that undermined the Afghan government, it asked virtually nothing of the Taliban in exchange for withdrawal, and Mr. Biden who hasn’t been shy about changing all sorts of other policies he inherited from Iran to climate change, why was he unwilling to change this policy?
KILMEADE: Do you have an answer to that, and do you agree with his assessment?
REP. CHENEY: I agree with him and the idea that the Biden Administration is somehow saying, “We didn’t have the ability to change the bad path we were on.” It’s ridiculous. We’ve watched him change policy after policy. Look, he bears responsibility for this, he made the decision. Just one example, you know, when they set the date certain of everybody’s got to be out by — I think they said August 31st, ultimately — you know, that meant that we had to start basically evacuating, turning back over our bases in the country, including Bagram, and the devastation and the tragic scenes that you’re seeing today out of the Kabul airport, we wouldn’t be seeing that, if we had held on to Bagram. So, there were a lot of decisions that were made, and the military determinations about how to conduct this withdrawal, clearly that people need to understand what went wrong here. We should not have been withdrawing in the first place, in my view, but the idea that we’ve got the scenes of death and chaos is really — is just going to be hugely damaging for the United States, globally. You know, people will look at that. How do you think people in Taiwan feel? How do you think people in Ukraine feel — watching the scenes thinking, “Well, can we count on America?” And you know, America’s security depends upon our allies being able to count on us. So, we’ve got to, we’ve got to fix this, it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to require new leadership for the country, and a new commitment to reasserting America’s role in the world and recognizing that weakness is provocative.
KILMEADE: Now, are you stunned that the President — and I’m up against a break — but are you stunned the President remains at Camp David, quiet silence, no even guarantee he’s going to speak today?
REP. CHENEY: Yeah, he has to speak to the nation. I mean, it’s outrageous to have this kind of catastrophe unfolding directly because of a decision he made, and to have him be silent, that is not leadership. He needs to speak to the country, he needs to explain why he did what he did, and he needs to tell us what he’s going to do to protect us from the growing jihadist threat that we’re going to face as a result of this really misguided and, you know, just fundamentally dangerous decision that he made to pull all our forces out of Afghanistan.
KILMEADE: All right, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, thanks so much.
REP. CHENEY: Thanks, Brian. Appreciate it.