(TheIndependentStar.com) – The reaction to the Biden administration’s handling of the Afghanistan crisis has not been positive on either side of the aisle. Democrats and Republicans are speaking out about the mistakes they think President Joe Biden made.
As the deadline to get out of the country looms, there are ongoing concerns. Two members of the House of Representatives decided to take matters into their own hands with a visit to ground zero, but they struck a nerve with the Speaker of the House.
A Trip to the Middle East
Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) went to Afghanistan to check on the work of the executive branch there. Nobody was aware of the visit until they released a joint statement on August 24.
NEW: Reps. Seth Moulton (D) & Peter Meijer (R) are both on a plane leaving Kabul after the pair made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to assess the situation there. First reported by the AP.
Joint statement from the two: pic.twitter.com/mi1j3dqGPG
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) August 25, 2021
Both men are veterans with service experience in the Middle East, and in their statement, they said they “care deeply” about what is happening at Kabul’s airport. The representatives noted the trip was part of their job to ensure the US is honoring its “obligation” to citizens.
The veterans planned the visit in secret to avoid drawing attention to themselves. They revealed they both paid for their own travel, and traveled in crew seats so as not to take seats from evacuees.
They described the situation as “bleak” and admitted they see no way for the US to get everyone out by the August 31 deadline. The men went so far as to say they didn’t think it would even be possible with an extension to September 11. This disheartening revelation was upsetting to them as their original goal was to gather evidence to convince Joe Biden to extend the withdrawal deadline.
The representatives remarked that we now have to maintain the “bizarre relationship with the Taliban” if we have any hope of getting everyone out safely, and declared that “Washington should be ashamed” when talking about the strain on troops the situation is causing.
The men had nothing but praise for the military on the ground, stating “their empathy and dedication to duty are truly inspiring.”
The Pelosi Response
On the same day, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a scathing letter to members of the House warning them against following in the footsteps of Moulton and Meijer.
The speaker called the visit unnecessary and said it is diverting resources needed to help evacuees. She pointed to advice from the State Department and Pentagon discouraging travel in the area.
According to The Washington Post, officials in the White House, State Department, and Defense Department were also upset over the trip since there was no coordination with military leaders. The Post report also stated military officers on the ground in Afghanistan saw the visit as useless and distracting.
With the need for a speedy exit and the overwhelming nature of the task at hand, many argued the trip was a bad idea. However, the US government has checks and balances for a reason. Both representatives have been outspoken about their disdain for the handling of this situation and wanted to exercise their right, as part of the legislative branch, to check on the work of the executive.
What they learned is that evacuation is highly unlikely to be complete by August 31.
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