Fox News host Brian Kilmeade made it clear that he wasn’t buying the spin when John Kirby claimed that Russia and China were likely in awe of the United States after watching how quickly the exit from Afghanistan took place.
Kirby, who previously served as the Pentagon’s press secretary and is currently the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, argued that the Afghanistan withdrawal was so successful and well-executed that it probably caused China and Russia to “marvel” over the efficiency with which it was carried out.
Fox News: “the Defense Department’s annual report…is saying that Biden’s fumbled withdrawal from Afghanistan was a propaganda gift to China.”
Biden Spokesman John Kirby: “If anything, nations like China and Russia take a look at what we did in Afghanistan…and had to marvel.” pic.twitter.com/9AZSMouVdq
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 30, 2022
“Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt opened the segment with a question about Afghanistan and whether or not foreign actors like Russia and China might have seen the botched withdrawal and taken notes for possible later action.
“Let’s talk about the Defense Department’s annual report, because it is saying that Biden’s fumbled withdrawal from Afghanistan was a propaganda gift to China,” she said, asking, “Do you agree with that?”
“No, I do not,” Kirby responded. “And I don’t know that that’s the Pentagon’s assessment that it was a propaganda gift to China.”
Kirby went on to assert that the American efforts to evacuate Afghanistan — amid the collapse of its government and the resurgence of the Taliban — should be held up as an example of success.
“If anything, nations like China and Russia took a look at what we did in Afghanistan, and we’ve talked about this many many times over the last year, and had to marvel at the speed, the efficiency, and effectiveness that a very small number —” Kirby continued, but Kilmeade interrupted.
“Oh, please,” the Fox News host responded, clearly exasperated.
“— A very small number of troops, Brian, you listen to me now, hear me out,” Kirby pressed on, adding, “A small number of troops were able to move that many Afghans safely out of that country. No other nation in the world can do that.”
But as Army veteran Alex Plitsas explained to The Daily Wire, the question was not whether or not a small number of American troops were capable of executing impossible missions — and quickly. The issue, rather, was whether a hasty withdrawal would have been necessary if different strategic choices — such as keeping Bagram Air Base open or attempting to evacuate allies prior to abandoning all military strongholds — had been made earlier by the Biden administration.
Plitsas has worked for months on an operation known as “Digital Dunkirk,” using military and civilian connections to help evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the country as more and more of them are threatened by the Taliban.
“The evacuation operation in Kabul was a tactical success and a strategic failure,” he said. “Yes, the military was able to rapidly deploy and move people. The problem was that it largely wasn’t the people that we intended to evacuate and we left nearly 200,000 people who we made promises to as a nation. That was a strategic failure and yes, our adversaries see that.”