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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) told Breitbart News on Tuesday that President Joe Biden prioritized “symbolism” security by choosing to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September 11.
“The September 11th date was politically symbolic to [Joe Biden],” Cotton said on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow. “It was tactically dangerous, and now the political symbolism is going to be the Taliban flag flying over what used to be the U.S. embassy in Kabul on the 20th anniversary of those attacks.”
Cotton remarked, “It’s one thing to say, ‘we should withdraw our troops.’ That’s what both Donald Trump and Barack Obama wanted to do as well. One reason they didn’t is they were worried about the Taliban taking over the country and it becoming a safe haven for terrorists, which is exactly what’s going to happen now.”
“But Joe Biden made the decision to withdraw our troops, and he did so while overriding the judgment of his military commanders about how to do so,” he continued. “He chose the politically symbolic date of September 11th that is tactically very dangerous because it’s right in the middle of the fighting season.”
He went on, “Now you see what’s happening. The Taliban has totally overrun the Afghan army because Joe Biden pulled the rug out from underneath them right in the middle of the fighting season and pulled out all support they had — not American troops, not American aircraft — just contractors who were there helping do basic refueling and maintenance operations for those helicopters.”
The Taliban’s seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will be used as a propaganda tool for Islamic terrorist recruitment, Cotton held. He noted that America’s adversaries are using the events to undermine the country’s reputation and capacity for deterrence.
“We’ve already seen the Chinese Communist Party use its propaganda outlets to say that you cannot trust America,” he stated. “America is not going to stand by Hong Kong. It’s not going to support the oppressed populations of Eastern China, and it’s certainly not going to come to the aid of Taiwan if Xi Jinping decides to go for the jugular against Taiwan. This is why it’s such a strategic catastrophe that goes far beyond our failures in Afghanistan.”
Cotton recalled how Biden and his supporters regularly framed him as a savant of foreign policy and international relations due to his previous roles as a senator and vice president.
He remarked, “[Biden] is dangerously detached from reality. I think he is shell-shocked, that after 50 years of imagining himself as some grandmaster strategist who was smarter than everyone else, who understood the world better than everyone else — as he always said on the campaign, ‘As the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as the former vice president who handled all the world’s hot spots — in his first major decision [as president], it has collapsed into an utter debacle that will threaten Americans for years to come.”
Thousands of American citizens remain endangered in Afghanistan, Cotton noted.
He said, “We have thousands of American citizens who are behind Taliban lines, who couldn’t even reach our State Department on Sunday afternoon. It’s astonishing. Most Arkansans I’ve spoken to are astonished that American civilians are still in Afghanistan almost a month after most of our combat troops were pulled out.”
Americans in Afghanistan are at risk of becoming hostages of the Taliban, Cotton warned.
He remarked, “The immediate and urgent requirement is that we help identify and ensure safe passage for all those American citizens for their own good, and for our national security, so they can’t all be turned into hostages.”
Biden’s leadership is “pathetic,” “impotent,” and “incompetent,” Cotton determined.
He concluded, “What we’ve seen in Kabul over the last few days is sad. It’s tragic. It was totally avoidable, and it’s a humiliating strategic disaster for the United States and our position around the world relative to adversaries like China, and Russia, and Iran, who will use this for years to come to undermine American credibility and America’s word — at least as long as Joe Biden remains our president.”