Reps. Kim, Meijer Introduce Invoice to Create An Impartial, 9/11-Fashion Afghanistan Warfare Fee

Reps. Kim and Meijer introduce bill to create an independent September 11, 2001-style Afghanistan War Commission

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Congressman Peter Meijer (MI-03) introduced the Afghanistan War Commission Act of 2021 to create a non-partisan, independent commission to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the war in Afghanistan. The commission would need to produce a public and unclassified report with actionable recommendations so that the United States can learn from our experience in Afghanistan and be prepared for future conflicts.

“The war in Afghanistan was a state effort that – now complete – requires an independent, state-wide assessment to see what happened. This commission is vital to the future security of our country. ” said Congressman Kim. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan law that will create an independent commission because the national security of our country should not be partisan. I am grateful for Congressman Meijer’s guidance on this matter and hope that this will be turned into law so that our country can have a full, in-depth look at the war in Afghanistan. “

The Afghanistan War Commission Act would require the commission to investigate all aspects of the war, including combat operations, intelligence operations, diplomatic activities and inter-agency coordination. The commission’s investigation would include all relevant US government agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of State and the intelligence community, as well as the efforts of our NATO allies.

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) presented the accompanying draft in the Senate, which has received bipartisan support. Senator Duckworth and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) also introduced the bill as a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022, which is currently under Senate scrutiny.

“The war in Afghanistan was shaped by four different governments and 11 different congresses – no party should try to get cheap, party-political points from a decades-long failure of nation-building that arose across parties.” said Senator Duckworth. “Congress owes a serious, honest, long-term effort to accountability and transparency to the thousands of American soldiers who have made sacrifices in Afghanistan. I am delighted that MPs Kim and Meijer are taking the lead on my proposal in the House of Representatives so that we can set up an independent, non-partisan commission to ensure that we get out of the mistakes we have made in Afghanistan for more than 20 years , learn and reform to ensure these mistakes never happen repeatedly. “

“During my years of work on site in Afghanistan, I have seen successes and failures in the fight against terrorism. To learn from both our mistakes and our successes in this conflict, it is critical that we take a full view of all combat operations and strategic decisions from the 9/11 attacks to the disastrous withdrawal of the Biden administration. Our bill to set up a bipartisan, independent commission will ensure that the lessons of this 20-year war are absorbed and implemented in the future. ” said Congressman Meijer.

“The American people deserve an honest examination of the decision-making that led to 20 years of failed foreign policy in Afghanistan. It is of the utmost importance that we not ignore the teachings that led to our nation’s longest war – one that spanned four governments, both parties and numerous conventions. We commend Rep. Kim and Rep. Meijer, both of whom have seen firsthand the failure of US policy in Afghanistan, for their leadership and call on their colleagues in the House to support these common sense efforts. ” said Russ Duerstine, associate director of Concerned Veterans for America.

The bill is approved by Affected Veterans For America, VoteVets, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

You can find the full text of the law here, and a one-page summary can be found here.

Prior to his service in the House of Representatives, Congressman Kim served in Afghanistan as civil adviser to the four-star US Strategic Commander at the height of the war in Afghanistan. He also served with USAID, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the White House National Security Council.

Congressman Kim serves on the House Armed Services Committee, House Foreign Affairs Committee, and House Committee on Small Business. For more information on Congressman Kim, visit his website at click here.

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Dallas Morning Information: A 9/11-style fee is required to look at the Afghanistan withdrawal

The lesson of the president’s power is not drawn from how it is wielded in the best of times, but from how it manifests itself in crisis. Mistakes arise in a crisis and hopefully mistakes become knowledge to improve future decisions.

A long list of the president’s foreign policy misjudgments has defined the government’s legacy, reshaping leadership for an incumbent president and sometimes for future inmates of the Oval Office.

In 1961, John F. Kennedy launched the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba, a covert operation to overthrow Fidel Castro. From the start, an unsound strategy, pathetic tactics, and an abundance of intelligence errors failed. Out of this crisis, JFK accepted the guilt and reorganized its advisors and decision-making processes. When faced with the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later, Kennedy asked the right questions and led the nation on the other side of a nuclear threat that could have killed 80 million Americans in a matter of moments.

President Joe Biden has already announced that he will not call for resignation for the deaths of 13 soldiers and countless Afghans by a suicide bomber in the last days of the Airlift. This week, Biden described the evacuation as an “extraordinary success”, although Americans and Afghans who wanted to leave the country stayed when the last plane departed without them.

Nonetheless, questions must be answered, both internally and externally, about the decisions and tactics that lead to and through the United States’ last moment in Afghanistan. Historians and experts will debate whether the die of inevitability was cast years ago, but leaving Kabul is undeniable, while historical and massive, heroic and tragic also represented a failure of the imagination.

We have heard this criticism before in the history of the President. Yale psychologist Irving Janis called the Bay of Pigs’ decision-making mistakes “groupthink,” which describes the pursuit of consensus in a way that prevents alternatives from being properly considered. According to a Harvard Business Review case study, historian Arthur Schlesinger later wrote that “our meetings were held in a strange atmosphere of supposed consensus. [and] nobody spoke against it. “

The nation has to go down the path of difficult issues regarding Afghanistan. The follow-up investigation by the 9/11 Commission, an independent, bipartisan body, identified missed signs, unresolved conflicting intelligence and information silos that were gathering vital information but unable or unwilling to link to threat advisories in other parts of government. The Commission’s overall conclusion was that coordination and information sharing could have provided a clearer and potentially workable warning of the impending terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

Right now, we urge Congress to empower an independent, bipartisan commission to review the final stages of the end of the American presence in Afghanistan – from the Trump administration’s ill-considered unilateral peace deal with the Taliban to the chaotic evacuation of the Biden. Administration.

This commission must have credible leadership, similar to what Republican Tom Kean, a former governor, and Democrat Lee Hamilton, a former US Congressman, gave the nation after the 9/11 attacks.

The commission, established by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush, had the authority to summon witnesses and the credibility to maneuver the minefields of executive privilege and segregation of power. Above all, however, it was not an effort to assign blame, but to find out why, in retrospect, such obvious indications that could have prevented the deadly attacks on US soil escaped analysis.

There are many Americans who can jointly conduct a fair investigation, such as former US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican from Texas, and former US Senator Bob Kerrey, a Democrat from Nebraska, also on the 9/11 commission.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former CIA director and retired Army General David Petraeus, former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, former US MP Jane Harman and Leon Panetta who served as White House Chief of Staff, The CIA director and secretary of defense would also be good choices. These individuals and other men and women of goodwill would bring insights from their administration during the Bush and Obama years, but they were either outside the administration or not part of the inner circles of the Trump and Biden administrations when politics was on clearest was shifted towards retreat.

We cannot stress enough that this commission must look beyond partisanship and be an honest broker. The commission cannot be a replica of the GOP partisan attack on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi that killed four brave Americans – Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Nor should the Democrats oppose an investigation into any administration of their party, as the Republicans did when they overwhelmingly voted against an independent commission and a select congressional committee to review the January 6 insurrection.

There are many lessons to be learned from 20 years of war in Afghanistan, including missed opportunities, a shifting mission, the lack of a stable central government, and interference from regional neighbors like Pakistan. But the past two years, including the first eight months of the Biden administration when the withdrawal became a reality, deserve additional scrutiny and insight that only a substantial commission and fair approach can provide.

The war in Afghanistan and how that war ended will reverberate in American political circles for at least a generation. The light footprint that marked the beginning of the war was likely the result of a reluctance to deploy American troops, a reluctance that had persisted since the Vietnam era. It is therefore vital that a commission document all the facts and the context in which decisions were made. This will give us valuable insights and material lessons from this chapter of our history.

How Instagram star helped rescue dozens from Afghanistan | Your Cash

Dozens of desperate Afghans who wanted to flee the Taliban before the deadline for US withdrawal from Kabul expired on Tuesday came to safety with the help of an unexpected place: Instagram influencer Quentin Quarantino.

Quarantino is the alter ego of 25-year-old New York City-born Tommy Marcus, previously best known for his liberal memes and jokes about opponents of COVID-19 vaccinations. Along with his supporters, Quarantino raised $ 7 million through GoFundMe in a matter of days to launch rescue missions to Afghanistan to evacuate as many people as possible, many of whom said they were threatened by the Taliban.

On Wednesday, their Operation Flyaway mission helped transfer 51 people from Afghanistan to Uganda on a privately chartered plane funded by the GoFundMe campaign.

More than 121,000 people had donated to the campaign after Marcus appealed to his 832,000 supporters, making it one of the largest humanitarian fundraisers in GoFundMe history.

“It is more than humiliating that they have this confidence in me, that they are willing to put significant sums of money into the hands that I trust,” Marcus told The Associated Press.

Saraya International, a global development company, and the Rockefeller Foundation, both of which provided organizational support for the flight to Uganda, as well as another company involved in the evacuation, confirmed to the AP that the flight was different from that of Marcus. funded emergency collaboration was chartered ‘Go FundMe Campaign.

“I don’t know what word to use other than miracle because it restored faith in humanity,” said Marcus. “We have overcome the political divisions in this situation and have really come together from all walks of life to unite and save these people because … they do not deserve what their future holds if they stay in Afghanistan now.”

According to Marcus, women, children, humanists and others “who have long been fighting for the common good in Afghanistan” and their families were evacuated. The organizers had stated that they wanted to save 300 people who, along with their families, were “in imminent danger of being executed by the Taliban”.

The team had met skepticism from experts who questioned whether they could undertake such a mission at a time when governments, corporations and charities were taking their citizens and employees out of Afghanistan in all sorts of aircraft.

Marcus’ group said more than 350 people were rescued, with nearly 300 leaving Kabul on other charter flights reimbursed by Operation Flyaway for safe passage out of the country. A State Department spokesperson wrote in a statement emailed that the department values ​​”community-led efforts in support of the Afghan resettlement and relocation process that reflects the generosity of the American people and the international community.”

“However, we are unable to verify the authenticity or effectiveness of these efforts,” the statement said.

Officials from several non-profit groups describe a chaotic and dangerous scene at Kabul airport as they rushed to fill private charter flights with people who, in limited time, have the necessary papers to keep their planes on the tarmac.

“I am so proud of our exceptional team and what we have achieved in such a short amount of time,” said Scott Shadian, CEO of Sayara. “I just wish we could have done more. It breaks my heart how much more we could have achieved. We are grateful that despite the greatest adversity we have ever faced, we have managed as many people as we have.

At the request of the US government, Uganda received the evacuees, who will be staying in hotels in a city outside the state capital, Kampala. Uganda officials said the nation will host up to 2,000 people who are expected to be relocated after being temporarily in the country.

The charter flight, which left Kabul early Wednesday morning, is one of several private rescue operations organized individually and in cooperation by various groups to help Afghans escape. The flight from Kabul to Entebbe, Uganda, was organized by Sayara, who told a company working with Marcus that she knew of an airplane for Operation Flyaway.

Representatives from North Carolina-based Raven Advisory said they could pay for the mission with funds raised through Marcus’ GoFundMe campaign. The company, which claims to be subcontracted to the US military, said “an all-volunteer team made up of former Special Forces soldiers and other veterans with experience in Afghanistan” are working with the military to coordinate their rescue efforts.

Sayaras Shadian said he only met members of Operation Flyaway on Zoom earlier this week and, amid the chaos of the evacuations from Kabul, was thrilled that they agreed to finance the flight.

“You were one of the many miracles we have witnessed during this time,” said Shadian. “Your last minute funding, along with the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and other donors, was vital. Without the quick funding for Operation Flyaway, this flight would not have started. “

Raven Advisory CEO Sheffield Ford told the AP that in order to get people to the airport, the US government “has to be content with our organization saying that these people are fine and that they are actually doing things have done to help their country, to help ”. our country.”

Though Thursday’s fatal airport suicide attack hampered their efforts, Ford says those they help must have a passport, a relative his group can communicate with, and someone to vouch for them who has passed a background check . The goal, according to Ford, is to get Afghan citizens targeted by the Taliban out of the country.

“Our focus was on the people who wanted to make something great out of their country,” he said. “They thought they would stay there for the long term, with our support. There will be women in journalism and teachers. It could be the young and the elderly who have spoken out very openly against the various atrocities committed by the Taliban in the past. “

While crowdfunding is a welcome tool for raising funds in times of crisis, Patricia McIlreavy, president of the Washington-based Center for Disaster Philanthropy, emphasizes that donors should be careful when donating through these websites for private purposes.

“There will not necessarily be a public record of where this money went and how it was used, as a nonprofit – or a 501 (c) (3) – is required by law,” she said.

Although the rescue flights are now suspended with the outstanding deadline for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the GoFundMe campaign said it will donate the remaining money to the Washington-based International Women’s Media Foundation. According to the organizers, the foundation, which supports women journalists, wants to use the money to “work with experienced organizations and experts to support people as soon as they are on safe ground”.

Ford was impressed with how quickly GoFundMe raised millions for these missions.

“It’s about people coming together to help others,” he said. “And it was great to see that.”

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The Associated Press is supported by the Lilly Foundation for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Wolves in Idaho, Montana could get federal oversight

U.S. weighs ordering industrial airways to supply flights for Afghanistan evacuation efforts

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Army soldiers assigned to patrol the 82nd Airborne Division at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 17, 2021. Image taken on August 17, 2021.

US Air Force | Reuters

The Biden administration has told US commercial airlines that it could order them to help evacuate Afghanistan, according to someone familiar with the matter.

The Department of Defense informed several of the country’s major commercial airlines late Friday that it could activate the civil reserve air fleet to bolster the airlift, the person said, adding that the flights will be from other locations rather than from Afghanistan itself would. This could include airmen stranded on U.S. bases in Germany, Qatar and Bahrain, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first covered the news.

The almost 70-year-old Civil Reserve Air Fleet program was launched after the Berlin Airlift to support a “major national defense emergency”. Reasons are humanitarian or natural disasters and war.

The White House and the Department of Defense did not respond immediately.

The US withdrawal from Afghanistan announced by Biden earlier this year has been ravaged by chaos. Thousands of people poured into Kabul airport after the Taliban took over the city and secured control of the country last week.

US Defense officials say the military is looking for alternative ways to get Americans, Afghans and third-country nationals safely to the airport in Kabul following threats from the Islamic State. NBC News reports Saturday.

The US embassy in Afghanistan on Saturday warned US citizens should not travel to the airport “because of possible security threats at the gates of Kabul airport”.

A White House official told the press pool on Saturday that six U.S. military C-17s and 32 charter planes had left Kabul in the past 24 hours. The total number of passengers for these 38 flights is approximately 3,800. The White House official says the US has evacuated approximately 17,000 people since Aug. 14.

Several U.S. airlines volunteered earlier this week to help airlift evacuees, the person told CNBC.

The tender for the so-called CRAF flights was opened on Saturday and would be closed on Monday United Airlines Flight attendants, their union, the Association of Flight Attendants, wrote in a memo.

“In order for United to be prepared in the event that the US Department of Defense announces that United Airlines CRAF has been activated, offers for CRAF operations must be made immediately and over a very short period of time,” the statement said.

No want for Chilcot-style inquiry into Afghanistan marketing campaign, says Armed Forces chief

The UK does not need to conduct a full Chilcot-style public inquiry his Afghanistan mission because the campaign was a just war, said the chief of the Bundeswehr.

General Sir Nick Carter said the two-decade intervention did not face the same controversy as the Iraq war and did not require the same type of lengthy and costly public investigation.

The chief of defense also said that while the Taliban won the propaganda war after the US and NATO withdrew, the insurgents did overwhelmed by their recent gains. He predicted that if the Afghan government remained united, it could hold the country’s major cities against the militants.

Sir Nick’s comments came after calls for a public inquiry into the campaign, which cost billions of pounds and killed 457 British soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Sir John Chilcots seven year investigation heard from 150 witnesses and looked at thousands of documents to investigate Tony Blair’s decision to wage war in Iraq, whether troops were prepared and how the aftermath was dealt with.

His twelve-volume report tore into the planning, preparation and budgeting of the military campaign, which killed 179 soldiers, and stated that it ended “very far from success”.

Earlier this month, Lord Dannatt, a former chief of staff, said that British troops are now troops Left Afghanistan “The real test must begin and a public inquiry along the lines of Chilcot’s Iraq must be launched.”

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons Defense Committee, also called for a “Chilcot-style investigation so that we can learn the lessons of what went wrong”.

But Sir Nick told The Telegraph, “You have to remember why we had a Chilcot investigation. As far as I remember, it was because some big questions were raised about the justice of the war in Iraq. I don’t think so. that anyone is questioning the true justice of the war in Afghanistan. “

He said the military campaign was backed by a UN Security Council resolution and that NATO members invoked the alliance’s mutual defense pact after the 9/11 attacks.

“It was very clear why the international community went to Afghanistan to do what it did and no one questioned that,” he said. “I think we need to put the reason we could conduct a public inquiry into perspective, and I don’t think anyone would criticize the decision to engage people in Afghanistan.”

Sir Nick added that while there are “many good lessons that can be learned from the way the campaign is carried out … I am not sure if this is necessarily to be done as a public and likely very costly investigation. Rather, I think it should be “a reasonable, transparent exercise within the government”.

The Taliban have swept the Afghan government out of dozen of rural districts in the two months since Joe Biden announced the final of his troop withdrawal. Sir Nick, who had served in the country for nearly three years in total, said the militants had overwhelmed themselves and the Afghan armed forces had consolidated.

He added: “If Kabul stand united and they manage to supply and support the Afghan army so that it can keep the main provincial capitals, then I don’t think the rally that is Taliban uprising will be likely can develop its effect. “