Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said Sunday the United States excels at fighting on foreign soil, but not at “building back” — a weakness that stretches through the last three administrations.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” laments the United States is left to “licking our wounds at the airport” in Kabul.
“Even the people that are totally against Afghanistan say we're really good at fighting, we're just not good at building back,” Kinzinger said.
“Assuming that, why are we sitting in the Kabul airport right now with such a lack of confidence that we're begging the Taliban to allow us to save our own citizens, that we're very scared to death to talk about if anybody has gone outside of the wire, because the United States military is truly capable of anything…. And we're sitting around, licking our wounds in the airport.”
Kinzinger also took aim at former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as at President Joe Biden.
“Mike Pompeo met with the Taliban as [former President] Donald Trump was publicly saying we have to get out of Afghanistan at all costs. It's not worth it,” he recounted.
“Mike Pompeo meets with the Taliban and tries to negotiate something. … they end up getting rolled harder… because they knew what the outcome was.
“They set this up to fail. But… Joe Biden could have easily turned this around and instead used it as the excuse to get out. Both parties have failed the American people.”
Kinzinger called out the Special Immigrant Visa program for Afghanistan as being particularly slow, and accused former Trump adviser Stephen Miller for the slowdown.
“You have to go back not just early in this administration, but especially the last administration and, frankly, even President [Barack] Obama's and say, ‘why was this Afghan [Special Immigrant Visa] issue, special visas processed so slowly?”
“We could have been working on that, people who had been waiting on just one piece of that,” he added. “Why did Stephen Miller in the last administration slow it down? We would be able to slip in, raising the cap on special immigrant visas to get rid of some of this backlog. The State Department under multi-administrations — why was it so slow at processing these?”
Kinzinger also blasted Republicans who voted against the Afghan SIV program in Congress.
“We had a vote on that recently and only 16 Republicans voted against it,” he said. “Those 16 Republicans’ faces should be everywhere and should be asked why they did what they did. In the media echo chamber — this fear mongering ‘they're coming to your neighborhood, these hoards of people that haven't been vetted.’ That is not America.”
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