Florida’s Scott leads group demanding Senate Afghanistan committee

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott on Tuesday announced he and a group of conservatives in the upper chamber were restarting their effort to create a bipartisan committee to investigate the United States’ calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.

Scott — with the backing of Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Mike Braun of Indiana, Josh Hawley of Missouri, and John Hoeven of North Dakota — proposed a bill that would create “a Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan to conduct a full investigation and compile a joint report on the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

“For over a year, I have called for a bipartisan and bicameral investigation into the Biden administration’s failed withdrawal of American forces and my calls have been met with silence,” Scott said in a statement. “It’s time to put partisan politics aside and demand accountability.”

In the summer of 2021, President Joe Biden took intense criticism for his handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, which resulted in more than $7 billion worth of equipment falling into the possession of the Taliban, scenes of chaos and brutality at the Kabul airport, and the death of 13 U.S. service members.

“When the Biden administration disastrously withdrew from Afghanistan, they left thousands of our Afghan allies behind and severely damaged U.S. credibility on the world stage,” Tillis said. “Nearly a year and a half later, the American people, especially our brave veterans of the War in Afghanistan, are still owed answers.”

The chances of this committee being created are slim. Democrats control the Senate and have shown no interest in conducting such an investigation, which would necessarily allow Republicans to score easy points on Biden in the runup to the 2024 presidential election.

However, even as Democrats seek to keep memories of the Afghanistan withdrawal from creeping back into the public conscience, Republicans clearly intend to bring the topic to the forefront in the Senate or at least the court of public opinion.

“The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan cost 13 service members their lives and stranded hundreds of Americans with no way out and left vulnerable to the Taliban,” Cramer said. “A bipartisan, comprehensive investigation into this event strengthens our national security strategy and further ensures the safety of all Americans. The American people deserve to know what happened in Afghanistan so we can prevent similar failures in the future.”

Conservatives were unusually mum on Afghanistan during the midterm cycle. Likely, Republicans reasoned that focusing on a slagging economy and hot-button domestic issues would be the more expedient way to win votes.

In late 2021, FISM Founder Dan Celia predicted that the withdrawal would be the mistake that would prove confounding to Biden’s reelection effort.