A former deputy defense secretary warned that al-Qaida “will show its viper face again” and said President Biden was “dishonest” during his speech on Monday.
Biden explained his decision to withdraw his troops from Afghanistan during his speech, despite the Taliban sweeping the country. The Taliban quickly seize the territory, invade the capital and take control of the presidential palace.
“We have lost the war,” Francis “Bing” West told Fox News in an exclusive interview after Biden’s speech. “I don’t care how President Biden tries to present it.”
“We are the losers who look like losers of the way things are done at the airport,” continued West, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan.
The airport outside Kabul fell into chaos after the Taliban invaded the city, with Afghan and foreign nationals – including US citizens – trying to escape the country. At least seven people died in the chaos.
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“I was struck by the way the defense [Biden] was, almost angry that this could happen because he’s so right, ”West told Fox News. “He’s not right and he hasn’t told the truth.
“He was dishonest,” he continued.
Biden said during his speech that there would be “endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery”.
West, a Marine combat veteran, told Fox News, “That’s just not true. We haven’t fought in the field for a few years now.”
The last time US deaths exceeded 100 was in 2013. The second highest death toll since then was 54, and 2015 and 2019 were tied for third with 22 deaths.
“We could go on and on and prevent terrorists from taking power in Afghanistan,” West told Fox News, noting that Afghan forces were leading the fighting before the US withdrawal.
“Al-Qaida will show its viper face again, and I have no doubt that within six months we will be hitting targets inside Afghanistan,” West said. “No matter what the president says today, it’s going to happen.”
“I fear that President Biden has made a terrible mistake that will come back and bite us,” he continued.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley recently told lawmakers that the Taliban insurgency could allow al-Qaida to grow at a rapid pace.
West said American adversaries would have taken control of his allies if America had withdrawn. He said, for example, that the Soviet Union would have taken Western Europe if the United States had left West Germany.
West also criticized senior Pentagon officials for not having an evacuation plan and called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for failing to address troops and veterans who served in Afghanistan. There have been numerous media reports noting the frustration and mental health issues veterans struggled with watching the Taliban sweep away a nation they fought to protect.
“The military operational chain of command has eggs in its face,” West told Fox News. “It is inexcusable for the military not to have a contingency plan for a panic like this, because that is exactly what we saw in Saigon in 1975. Same.”
“For them, not having anticipated and prepared a plan for this is a failure of our army,” he continued.
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