Congressman and veteran Adam Kinzinger calls out GOP for trying to ‘memory hole’ Trump’s Afghanistan policy

One of his party’s highest-profile Trump critics, Mr Kinzinger joined the US Air Force in 2003 and flew missions in both Afghanistan and Iraq

Andrew Naughtie
Monday 16 August 2021 16:46
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Desperate crowds at Kabul airport trying to flee the city

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger has hit out at members of his party for trying to present the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan as solely Joe Biden’s fault, warning that “real Americans won’t forget” the Trump administration’s role in the US drawdown in the Middle East.

Mr Kinzinger, who himself served in both Afghanistan and Iraq as a US air force pilot, has been actively tweeting his feelings about the US’ departure as it unfolds.

And along with expressing his horror at the scenes playing out in Kabul – including the sight of people apparently falling from an American military plane after holding on to the wheels during takeoff – he has been taking aim at those on the right who are trying to shift the blame.

Among them is Mike Pompeo, the former secretary of state during the Trump administration who participated in peace talks with the Taliban and boasted that “the deterrence we achieved held during our time”.

“Sorry man,” Mr Kinzinger responded. “We told you this wouldn’t work… you didn’t listen”.

And as the Republican Party deleted a web page trumpeting the former president’s plan to pull out of Afghanistan, the congressman wrote: “Trump can’t memory hole this. Real Americans won’t forget.”

Other targets have included GOP Senator Rand Paul, former Trump staffer Dan Scavino, and  far-right congresswoman Lauren Boebert, whom he said “owns this too” because of her calls for a military withdrawal, as well as his party at large after the direction taken by the Trump administration in its last phase.

However, Mr Kinzinger also directed plenty of ire at the Biden administration, insisting that it is just as much a part of the current disaster as its precursor – agreeing with his anti-Trump colleague Liz Cheney, who called the fall of Afghanistan and Kabul “the Trump/Biden calamity” that “began with the Trump administration negotiating with terrorists and pretending they were partners for peace”.

In a longer statement issued as Kabul fell to the Taliban, Mr Kinzinger made his feelings plain in more detail.

“The Taliban has always said that America has the watches, but they have the time. Under both President Trump and President Biden, the US announced that our time in Afghanistan is over, effectively letting the Taliban know they were right, they could simply out-wait us. And today, we watched as the Afghan government collapsed and the Taliban regained full control.

“This is the result of a shortsighted, weak, and utter failure of both the previous White House and the current administration. The naïve Trump administration legitimised the Taliban by having ‘talks’ with them about peace and openly negotiating with terrorists, while the Biden administration tried to fulfill a campaign promise without any semblance of a plan or forethought into how this would play out. And where are they now? What are they doing to save the countless lives being brutally murdered by the Taliban today?

“This is a disaster, and a stain on the entire nation.”

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