Testifying Before Congress, Blinken Faces Bipartisan Criticism For Afghanistan Withdrawal

Headline Roundup September 14th, 2021

Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced a second day of tough congressional questioning from lawmakers Tuesday about the Biden administration’s divisive withdrawal from Afghanistan. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, New Jersey Democrat and committee chair Bob Menendez called the administration's withdrawal strategy "clearly and fatally flawed." He warned that he will "use of committee subpoena power to compel" Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Biden officials who dismiss the opportunity to appear before the committee. Menendez also told Blinken that the multiple administrations who "lied" about the stability of the Afghan government must face "accountability," requesting a full explanation that outlines their decision-making process. Idaho Republican Senator James Risch blamed the Biden administration of “ineptitude” that has tainted the country's international credibility, while Sen. Rand Paul called leaving the Bagram Airfield without notifying the base’s new Afghan commander "one of the worst military decisions in our history." Blinken has continually defended the Biden administration's withdrawal strategy, shifting the blame onto the Trump administration. He argued that the world still holds a "significant leverage" against the Taliban thanks to an international "collective strategy" with NATO, the E.U. and the U.N.

Coverage was consistent across the spectrum, with some outlets noting that Blinken is facing "bipartisan criticism." Some right-rated outlets accentuated how Blinken was unsure if the man targeted by a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan was an aid worker or an ISIS-K operative. Left-rated outlets dismissed the "Democratic conspiracy" that suggests Biden is being "censored" after he was cut off mid-sentence during a press conference Monday.

From the Right
287

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is addressing lawmakers Tuesday in a second day of questioning about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as he faces the Senate Foreign Relations Committee one day after appearing before members of the House.

Like he did before the House committee on Monday, Blinken's prepared opening remarks blamed the failures and troubles in Afghanistan on others, while touting the efforts of the Biden administration to do what it could.

Blinken blamed the Trump administration for making a deal with the Taliban that allowed them to gain strength and be...

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From the Center
287

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, facing a second day of interrogation from Republican lawmakers highly critical of the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Driving the news: The committee's chair, the hawkish New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, pulled no punches in his opening statement, threatening to subpoena Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Biden officials who decline to voluntarily appear before the committee.

"Mr. Secretary, the execution of the U.S. withdrawal was clearly and fatally flawed," Menendez told Blinken.

Menendez promised accountability for the...

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From the Left
287

Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced a second day of tough congressional questions Tuesday about the Biden administration’s much-criticized withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Blinken sought to parry a new wave of bipartisan lawmaker anger over the operation that resulted in the complete takeover by the Taliban, and has left many American citizens, green card holders and at-risk Afghans stranded in the country.

The top two members of the committee, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and Idaho Republican James Risch, both assailed the withdrawal as...

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