CNN’s Barbara Starr Calls Out Acting Defense Secretary for Refusing to Take Questions About Troop Drawdown: Americans Deserve Answers
On Tuesday afternoon Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller officially announced the troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan that a number of reports confirmed was happening yesterday.
The drawdown is being implemented days before Joe Biden is set to be sworn in as the next president.
Acting DefSec Chris Miller formally announces decision by Pres Trump to reduce the number of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 each by Jan 15, 2021. Says it’s not a change in policy and is consistent with US “strategic objectives.” pic.twitter.com/vEOwiJzxJx
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) November 17, 2020
After the brief announcement to reporters, Miller ended the press conference without taking any questions. CNN’s Barbara Starr called him out for that on air shortly after.
Starr told Brianna Keilar that Miller is clearly “a political appointee of President Trump and carrying out the president’s political agenda.”
“What struck me the most and several other reporters in the room at the time — and I think you saw it — Chris Miller refused to take any questions about this decision. He came out, he delivered and read a prepared statement, and then he turned heel and walked away. And there you have it. That is how America’s longest war just ended. At least for the moment. It ended with somebody coming out, reading the statement, and leaving the room.”
On the announcement itself, Starr said, “There is simply no indication that the Taliban have agreed to the terms they signed up to, which is to reduce violence. That was supposed to be the condition that it would allow the U.S. to turn it over to the Afghan government and eventually leave. We are being told that top U.S. military commanders recommended this. There is no evidence at the moment that they recommended this of their own volition just as a bolt out of the blue.”
She said Miller’s refusal to take questions was a “stunning moment”:
“If this administration does not believe that the American public, Brianna — you know this better than anybody — deserves full, complete, candid answers… Who recommended what? Why they recommended it? If people cannot stand up before the public and explain their decision-making in detail, I think it’s something that many members of the military, military families like yours, someone like me that was inside the Pentagon on September 11th, when all of this started. I’d like to know the answers. The press would like to know the answers to explain it to the American people. That is not what we got today. We got a prepared statement, carefully worded by someone who was in special operations, served in the war. No question about his service in that war. I want to be very clear about it. No question that he served very honorably. There’s indication of anything other than that. But now he is a political appointee, he is not a soldier. He called himself the leader of the American military. If he is leading, perhaps what he needs to do is explain.”
You can watch above, via CNN.
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