Indiana Sen. Todd Young talked with farmers in southern Allen County on Sept. 2 about infrastructure and federal broadband investment. But the Republican also had plenty of harsh words for the Biden administration’s hurried withdrawal from Afghanistan that saw Americans and allies left behind.
“It’s really this simple: first you get out the civilians, ... then you get out the people with guns,” Young told the crowd, which had gathered for an agriculture roundtable at Wyss Farms Enterprises on Yoder Road. “You know the Marines, the soldiers, the Special Forces, they wanted to stay behind. They wanted to extract Americans. They understand part of our military doctrine has always been, and part of our cultural ethic should always remain: Never ever leave any Americans behind.”
Young, who was in the Marine Corps, said “this commander in chief is guilty of a dereliction of duty.”
He called the action worse than Saigon, a reference to the U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam’s capital and its evacuation of thousands as the government fell to the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong, ending the Vietnam War. It also is worse than the Iran hostage crisis, in which Americans in the U.S. Embassy were held by a group of militarized Iranian college students for over a year before being released.
In a letter Sept. 1 in USA Today, Young placed the responsibility for the “failure” of the Afghanistan withdrawal squarely on the president’s shoulders.
Young accused President Joe Biden of assigning a date for the U.S. withdraw of troops from Afghanistan that would allow the president to make a speech on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. The terrorism attacks served as catalyst for U.S. fighting agains the Taliban that ended with Biden saying that about 200 American civilians had not gotten out from Kabul’s airport, the scene of 13 American troop deaths during the evacuation as the Taliban triumphantly took over the government.
The date was totally arbitrary, “unless one wants to give a victory speech and say they were the president that got us out after 20 years. Sort of a ‘mission accomplished.’”
Mission accomplished is often used to refer to the 2003 speech that Republican President George W. Bush gave to announce that major conflict operations in Iraq had ended. However, casualties followed in the ensuing years, and the U.S. didn’t withdraw until Dec. 18, 2011.
As the top Republican in the Senate’s Subcommittee On Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, And Counterterrorism, Young said he has jurisdiction to hold subcommittee hearings on the Afghanistan withdraw, “about lessons learned and mistakes made” over the entire time in Afghanistan.
“Then we need to hold people accountable once we get more answers about why certain decisions were made, and why certain information was not duly factored into this decision to evacuate in such a rapid-fire and rushed way.”
High-level military, diplomatic and intelligence leaders must be fired, he said.
He said his office has received hundreds of requests for help from interpreters and family members of Hoosiers who want to leave Afghanistan.
Asked how the New Orleans port will get repaired to allow for export of farm goods, Young said he expects federal emergency aid to be available as it has in other natural disasters.
A farmer asked for Young to keep an eye on ethanol production. Half of all corn in Indiana is used by ethanol plants, but farmers expect to see up to a 2 billon-gallon reduction in volume. That amounts of twice what Indiana produces.
Young explained that he opposed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in August because Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi insisted on tying passage of the bill to the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend budget proposal, which he previously called “reckless.” Young said he will, however, continue to work to see that Indiana benefits from increased broadband and improvements to roads and bridges in the legislation as changes are made in the House. The legislation passed in the Senate.