United States Army Veteran Matt Zeller confronted MSNBC's Brian Williams on Monday after the network's "appalling" coverage of Joe Biden's speech during which he explained Afghanistan's fall to the Taliban to America. MSNBC praised Biden for "owning it."
MSNBC anchor Williams said that the President "didn't run from it. He owned it. He owned his decision. He owned the fact that as he put it, 'the buck stops with him.'"
"I hope he gets to own their deaths too," Zeller said firing back at the MSNBC host.
"I feel like I watched a different speech than the rest of you guys," Zeller stated. "I was appalled that there was such a profound bold face lie in that speech."
"The idea that we planned for every contingency?" Zeller said in shock. "I have been personally trying to tell this administration, since it took office, I've been trying to tell our government for years that this was coming. Nobody listened to us."
Biden said in his speech "I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces. That's why we're still there. We were clear-eyed about the risks, we planned for every contingency."
"But," Biden said, "I always promised the American people that I would be straight with you. The truth is: This did unfold more quickly that we had anticipated."
Zeller, a US combat veteran, said "They didn't plan for the evacuation of our Afghan war time allies. They're trying to conduct it now at the 11th hour."
"We had all the people and equipment in place to be able to save these people months ago and we did nothing. I'm appalled that he thinks that we only need to take 2,000 people. There's 86,000 people who are currently left behind in Afghanistan alone," Zeller said.
"Do you know how many casualties the Afghan military took in an average year? More than the United States did in 20. When you're not getting paid on a regular basis, when you're not getting fuel, when no one is supplying you with ammunition, and yet you're still showing up to the fight," Zeller said, slamming President Biden for blaming the Taliban takeover on the Afghan military.
Biden told the nation that it was the US-trained Afghan military who bore the brung of the fault for the Taliban takeover, saying "We gave them every tool they could need, we paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force, something the Taliban doesn't have, the Taliban doesn't have an air force. We provide close-air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future."
"If Afghanistan is unable to mount any real resistance to the Taliban now, there is no chance that" more time spent by the US military "would have made any difference," Biden said.
Zeller wasn't having it. "How dare us for having to blame these people for not having the audacity to be able to survive a Taliban," he told MSNBC. "What we need to be doing right now, and what I am appalled that the president didn't say, was we need to be talking about how we're going to get every single one of these people out."
Matt Zeller is the author of Watches Without Time: An American Soldier in Afghanistan. The book provides a detailed description on his eight month experience serving as an embedded combat adviser with the Afghan security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan in 2008.
Zeller is also the CEO and co-founder of No One Left Behind, a non-profit dedicated to resettling the Afghan & Iraqi translators who served with the US military at war. In addition, Zeller is a Captain in the US Army Reserve and a former intelligence analyst.
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