On Friday, the New York Times published a story that suggested Russia offered a bounty to the Taliban for killing U.S. soldiers, President Trump was briefed on it, and didn’t do a thing about it…which, presumably, cost U.S. lives.
Not at all suprisingly, it received massive coverage by the networks, and by Democrats everywhere, very much including Joe Biden who, with a quick caveat (“if it’s true”) went on to severely attack the President and assure us he’d have done something significant about it if he were President.
But there is a problem.
The problem is that it is now Tuesday, and no one has substantiated this story.
The Times did not name one specific source, and not one person anyone can check has come forth to say “yep, that’s what happened”.
However, there is this little matter of President Trump stating that he was never briefed about this.
And now we have a statement from the Pentagon, as noted by Kristina Wong in her article for breitbart.com:
The Pentagon said in a statement late Tuesday evening that it had no corroborating evidence that Russian operatives offered bounties to the Taliban for American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.
“The Department of Defense continues to evaluate intelligence that Russian GRU operatives were engaged in malign activity against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. To date, DOD has no corroborating evidence to validate the recent allegations found in open-source reports,” said Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.
Look, if you asked me, either months ago or today, whether I thought Russia was capable of doing this, I would have said yes. But believing they would do it and claiming, without a single specific source, that they did do it, are two very different things.
Plus, I assume our military has a mechanism in place for dealing with the prospect of an enemy nation paying off terror groups to attack us…one which, I assume, predates the Trump administration.
But President Trump’s denial and the Pentagon’s disclaimer, it seems to me the New York Times, and the countless media venues which picked up its claim, owe us a little more than anonymous sources. Maybe even a “y’know, we’re not 100% sure about this one” backtrack.
Don’t expect it.
Let me end by repeating what I said in my blog two days ago, about Joe Biden attacking Trump on Afghanistan policy…because it is just as germane now as it was then:
Oh, one other question, Joe: who put those troops there in the first place?
Unless I’ve got this wrong (and I don’t), when you and Barack Obama took office, we had already won that war and there were about 31,000 – 33,000 troops in Afghanistan.
YOU were the ones who tripled the number of troops there to over 100,000. YOU were the ones under whom the vast majority of our military deaths occurred.
Here are the actual numbers:
-During the Bush administration – during which we won the war in Afghanistan – we lost 564 troops there.
-During the Trump administration, we have lost 63 troops there.
-But during the Obama administration, with its useless troop surge which accomplished virtually nothing? We lost 1,729 troops in Afghanistan.
You want Donald Trump to answer for some percentage of 63 deaths based on no specific information? How about you and Barack Obama answering for 1,729 of them that we actually know about?
Joe? You want to comment on that, please?
I didn’t think so.