Commentary

 By Abby Liebing  December 6, 2021 at 4:27pm

In September, top military leaders testified before Congress regarding the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the evacuation mission in August was a “logistical success, but a strategic failure.”

Now, former President Donald Trump is publicly criticizing Milley, calling the general a “f***ing idiot” in a speech at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday.

Trump on General Milley telling him to leave the military equipment in Afghanistan:

“That’s when I realized he was a fucking idiot.” pic.twitter.com/fPW0x379g3

— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 5, 2021

Speaking at an event hosted by Turning Point Action, Trump harshly criticized Milley for leaving so much military equipment in Afghanistan for the Taliban to then have, Insider reported.

Trump said that many of the aircraft and equipment there was brand new.

“You think it’s cheaper to leave it there so they can have it than it is to fill it up with a half a tank of gas and fly it into Pakistan or fly it back to our country?” Trump said he asked Milley.

“‘Yes, sir, we think it’s cheaper, sir,’” Trump said Milley told him. “That’s when I realized he was a f***ing idiot.”

The U.S. did leave a significant amount of equipment in Afghanistan. The BBC reported that the U.S. left 73 aircraft, nearly 100 vehicles and other equipment in the country.

Should the U.S. have taken all military equipment out of Afghanistan?

However, the U.S. Central Command head Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said all the equipment could no longer be used.

“Those aircraft will never fly again,” he said.

But remember 1979. When militants took over Iran and the American embassy, they spent years piecing back together secret documents that the American embassy had shredded. They succeeded and suddenly had top-secret CIA documents. It was one of the greatest intelligence losses in U.S. history, as The New York Times reported in 1986.

If Iranians could piece back together millions of shredded papers, the Taliban might be able to figure out how to fix the equipment that the U.S. left behind. That is frightening.

Nabih Bulos, a staff correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, even videoed as Taliban fighters walked into the former U.S. hangers to check out the new helicopters left behind.

#Taliban fighters enter a hangar in #Kabul Airport and examine #chinook helicopters after #US leaves #Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/flJx0cLf0p

— Nabih (@nabihbulos) August 30, 2021

The Biden administration has been harshly criticized for how badly the withdrawal from Afghanistan went.

When McKenzie testified before Congress in September, he actually said he recommended keeping troops in Afghanistan so that what happened, wouldn’t have happened.

“I will give you my honest opinion, and my honest opinion and view shaped my recommendation [to the president]. I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and I also recommended earlier in the fall of 2020 that we maintain 4,500 at that time,” McKenzie said, as NPR reported. “I also have a view that the withdrawal of those forces would lead inevitably to the collapse of the Afghan military forces and eventually the Afghan government.”

But Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seemed to be surprised at how Afghanistan fell.

“We certainly did not plan against a collapse of the government in 11 days,” Austin said, as CNN reported.

But now that the withdrawal is done, there is little that can be done except watch as the Taliban exerts dominance over the country and strengthens itself with the equipment the U.S. left.

As Trump said, “I said, the moment we get out, I want every nut, every bolt, every screw … We’re taking everything, we’re taking down the tents … They left all the tents. They left everything.”

Abby Liebing is a Hillsdale College graduate with a degree in history. She has written for various outlets and enjoys covering foreign policy issues and culture.

Abby Liebing is a Hillsdale College graduate with a degree in history. She has written for various outlets and enjoys covering foreign policy issues and culture.

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