With damning criticism of the Biden administration’s decision making on Afghanistan coming in from all corners, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asserted this weekend that what many believe was a critical misstep – the abandonment earlier this summer of Bagram Air Base – is something that the U.S. could, and should, reverse immediately, according to the Washington Examiner.
During a Saturday night interview with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, Graham opined that retaking Bagram Airfield could help ease the chaos surrounding the remaining evacuation efforts being made out of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, the site of last week’s deadly terrorist attack that killed scores of people, including 13 American service members.
Asserting that President Joe Biden could set such an event into motion “tonight” if he would simply show sufficient courage to give the order, Graham also expressed skepticism that top officials in the administration would in fact urge him to do so.
“Bagram was a great evacuation platform. It has multiple runways. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, and you can take that airbase tonight if you wanted to. If you had any will in the White House, militarily, we can take Bagram Air Base.”
Stressing his belief that Bagram represents a key location, particularly given its proximity to anti-Taliban resistance fighters, Graham added that the military needs “to have a footprint to continue to get people out, and you can make the Taliban’s life difficult. But we are choosing to do none of that. This is a dark, despicable, and depressing chapter in American history,” as the Examiner noted.
Bagram, which is situated roughly an hour away from Kabul, was abandoned by the U.S. military in early July in a decision that has been met with fierce opposition from a number of leaders, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The senator last week referenced a statement made by Gen. Mark Milley, Biden’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said, “Our task given to us at that time, our task was to protect the embassy in order for the embassy personnel to continue to function with their consular service and all that.”
Milley continued, “If we were to keep both Bagram and the embassy going, that would be a significant number of military forces that would have exceeded what we had or stayed the same or exceeded what we had. So we had to collapse one or the other, and a decision was made.”
This, according to Cruz, was therefore nothing more than a “political” decision made for public relations purposes related to achieving troop reduction goals, and it was one that ultimately proved “catastrophic,” but whether the president will take Graham’s advice and remedy this grievous misstep, “restore our honor as a nation and save lives,” only time will tell.