OSHKOSH — On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) appeared on WISN-TV’s ‘Upfront’ to discuss the Biden administration’s failure to safely withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and his recent visit to Fort McCoy, where Afghan refugees are being housed.
The full interview can be found here, and excerpts are below.
On Safe Evacuations for Americans and Afghan allies:
“I am not overly confident. This is a tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the bombing, their families, their friends. We are relying on the Taliban for the outer perimeter security. Obviously, they are not particularly effective at doing it. Hard to say how much security they want to provide here. The real problem here is this didn’t have to happen. This type of withdrawal was so incredibly incompetent. This was so incredibly botched. And now we are in a terrible situation, where we’re relying on the Taliban to successfully conclude this withdrawal.”
On the Failed Evacuation Strategy:
“When I was Ft. McCoy, I know President Biden has famously said they planned on every contingency, so I asked the commanding general, ‘When was the first time you were going to be charged with this mission of bringing in Afghan refugees?’ He said, ‘Literally 10 days ago.’ That’s not a whole lot of preplanning. I never agreed with President Trump or President Biden that we should completely withdraw from Afghanistan. By the way, nor did our NATO allies, nor did, probably, the majority of people on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I think there would have been a lot of support to leave a small contingent of special operation personnel provide support for the Afghan security forces. They are the people that have been fighting and dying for their country, for their freedom. And with U.S. support, they were keeping the Taliban at bay. But, again, the decision was made to bug out. … We should have really planned. We should not have given up Bagram Air Base. We should have identified the … the people that did fight side-by-side (with us), that are in great peril of being slaughtered by the Taliban. We should have rounded up any U.S. citizen that wanted to get out of there. And we should have done that months ago, not days before the planned withdrawal.”
On Afghan Refugees’ Arrival at Ft. McCoy:
“The vast majority of people that will be coming over here are coming here for the right reason. I also believe the goal is to fully integrate, successfully integrate the Afghanis that fought side-by-side (with us), that risked their lives, kept Americans safe and alive, that should be our overall goal. What I’m cautioning is that we will destroy that mission of successful integration of those people from Afghanistan with one failure — if somebody slips through and commits an act of terror, then that will paint everybody with broad brush and I don’t want to see that happen.”