Sen. Ben Sasse has excoriated the Biden administration’s mishandling of Afghanistan policy, accusing Secretary of State Antony Blinken of repeatedly misleading the public in his statements about the botched withdrawal and predicting a cascade of dire consequences for U.S. national security for years to come. In an interview with the Dispatch Podcast, Sasse described the events of the past several weeks as nothing more than “bumper sticker BS, nonsense” that has shaken the confidence of U.S. allies in the region and beyond, and said the damage has caused a “massive crisis of confidence” across the globe both “militarily and politically.”
Sasse, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said White House decisionmaking was driven more by domestic politics than strategic thinking. “It’s really difficult to imagine any bigger, stupid move to shoot yourself in the foot as a global leader, and demonstrate to everybody you don’t want to be a superpower, than what Team Biden has done,” said Sasse. The implications for U.S intelligence-gathering in the country that gave birth to the 9/11 plot are profound, he added. The abrupt and total withdrawal “just cut off our own eyes and ears on the ground, where our intelligence agents were doing great, great work.”
Sasse singled out Blinken for a particularly harsh assessment of his role in the controversy, pointing to the secretary of state’s changing estimates of the Americans stranded in Afghanistan.
“Secretary [Antony] Blinken has just lied again and again and again,” Sasse said. “I don’t understand why there isn’t some sense of accountability for how often Blinken just makes crap up from one press hit, to the next press hit, to the next press hit, to the next press hit. He went from saying there were 300 Americans left to 250 to 200 to 150, none of it was true. The number was never as low as 300 when they started it, there was no basis for him changing it every five minutes over the course of half an hour.”