Posted: Sep 15, 2021 12:01 AM
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Credit Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, with posing the critical question during Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s Sept. 14 testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
After declaring he was not speaking on a partisan basis and that “there is not enough lipstick in the world to put on this pig (the Afghanistan withdrawal),” Risch asked a nervous Blinken: “Who is responsible? Who made the decisions on this? Was it the president of the United States?”
“Ultimately, the president makes the decisions,” Blinken replied. He quickly added a string of qualifications. “Hundreds and thousands of decisions … ,” Blinken opined, “… go into a situation as complex as this one.” The president makes “big strategic decisions,” but “tactical and operational decisions are made by different agencies, agency heads and agency officials.”
Risch is the committee’s ranking minority member. He didn’t need to hear a truism-packed sermon on trickle-down bureaucratic decision-making calculated to appear to take responsibility without really doing so. But that’s what he got.