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Psaki Dismisses Dem Congresswoman’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Criticism: ‘Easy to Throw Stones’

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addresses the attack in Afghanistan during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., August 26, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday dismissed concerns voiced by Representative Susan Wild that the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan had been “egregiously mishandled,” arguing that it is “easy to throw stones” from the outside.

“Although it is clear to me that we could not continue to put American servicemembers in danger for an unwinnable war, I also believe that the evacuation process appears to have been egregiously mishandled,” Wild wrote in a tweet on Thursday after a bombing at the Kabul airport killed 13 American soldiers and dozens of Afghan civilians. 

Asked about Wild’s comments during a press briefing on Friday, Psaki said while she does not have a “direct response to any member of Congress” that “it is easy to throw stones or be a critic from the outside.”

“It is harder to be in the arena and make difficult decisions and the decision that a commander-in-chief has to make include among difficult options,” she said.

She went on to create a false dichotomy, saying President Biden was faced with two choices: sending tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan “to potentially lose their lives” or to pull out and not put anyone at risk by not working to evacuate Americans and Afghans.

“He has chosen in coordination and based on the recommendation of military commanders and advisors on the ground to implement an evacuation that has saved the lives potentially of more than 105,000 people certainly at risk of the men and women who are serving in the military, as we saw by the events of yesterday,” she said. 

Psaki then had a tense exchange with a reporter who pushed back, noting that she has repeatedly painted a false picture of the situation in listing only two choices. The reporter asked “what evidence” Psaki has that there were no other choices that could have been made.

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