CLAY: We talked on Friday about how we weren’t going to let it pass that the United States government had mistakenly killed a completely innocent man and seven of his family members, even though most people in media are not even gonna mention this by Monday, which is why they dropped the news on Friday.
We want to give you a flashback. Milley has done an awful job as a general, period. But here he is lying to the American people on September 1st about the August 29th U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan. All these, it turns out now, were lies. Listen.
MILLEY: All of the engagement criteria will being met. We went through the same level of rigor that we’ve done for years, and we took a strike. Secondly, is we know that there were secondary explosions. Because there were secondary explosions, there’s a reasonable conclusion to be made that there was explosives in that vehicle. The third thing is we know from a variety of other means that at least one of those people that was killed was a ISIS facilitator.
So, were there others killed? Yes. There are others killed. Who they are? We don’t know. We’ll try to sort through all that. But we believe that the procedures at this point — I don’t want to influence the outcome of an investigation, but at this point — we think that the procedures were correctly followed and it was a righteous strike.
CLAY: It was not “a righteous strike,” Buck.
BUCK: A horrifying thing to hear in retrospect. And, Clay, as one who was in the CIA and understand when he’s talking about criteria for these kinds of things and the intelligence involved to make sure you are sure, it is appalling that at this level, they would have been so wrong. Note that he said secondary explosions.
That did not happen. There were jugs of water which do not explode, as far as I know, jugs of water, and then the obviously the overconfidence about the ISISK facilitator. But anyone who knew the situation on the ground from having had experience in Afghanistan and with the intel apparatus before would have said: In the midst of all the chaos — the airport, the frenzy, the Taliban checkpoint — we were somehow going to be able to pick out the one ISIS facilitator who was the one guy who’s packing his car full of explosives?”
The truth is we were reliant, Clay — almost entirely, really — on Taliban checkpoints preventing a second round of strikes like this. We did not have the intel network, obviously, to know the difference here. And why this is so significant, I think — beyond the loss of 10 lives, including seven children, which is horrifying — is that I think this is a circumstance where Joe Biden felt like the White House looked weak, and they felt like they had been disrespected. And they wanted to take a shot at someone to show how tough they were. And they blew up a car with seven kids in it. That’s what this looks like.
CLAY: I think that’s what it was, and then Milley lied to this about this. And I think what it calls into which as well is this idea, Buck, that we’re gonna have any ability to stop terrorists in Afghanistan from reclaiming that territory and planning and plotting for the next attacks, because we can’t even manage this attack when we still have a lot of people there and still had some eyes, theoretically, on the ground. Seven innocent kids we killed.
And to me it emboldens our adversaries over how much of a failure Biden and his administration is. But it’s just… They tried to bury this story, Buck, on Friday. They knew that most people by Monday would have turned the page; there’d be new stories to follow. But I want to make sure that we don’t forget what they did, because I think you hit it. This was Joe Biden feeling like he needed to send a message about how big and strong and tough he still was after the incompetence and the ineptitude of our withdrawal from Afghanistan. And as a result, 10 innocent people are dead.
BUCK: Clay, this kind of decision — the trigger pull on this — went up to a very high level, folks.
CLAY: No doubt.
BUCK: This is not just, “Oh, we’re in the midst of a war and all these things.” No, no, no. They said they had drone on it for hours, and you have to look at the political consideration that would have come from the top here to not look weak for the Biden, to not look feckless and did that…? Do I think that they fired this off knowing that it was 10 innocent people?
No. Do I think they did this and put the preponderance, so to speak, of the evidence too much on the side of, “We’ve gotta take action here because we have to look decisive and strong”? Yes, and I think that just goes to show the kind of political shading that comes into play for a Biden administration that looks wildly incompetent not just on the Afghan withdrawal but on so many issues right now.
And I mean, all you have to do is think about if Donald Trump had just had a bad week of foreign policy blunders, Clay, and then his administration — because the buck does stop with the president, his administration — blew up a car with 10 people, seven kids inside. Not only would this be wall-to-wall news coverage, they would impeach him over this. They would say this is a war crime. That’s what the Democrats would do.