James Mattis Looks At Camera & Embarrasses Trump In Front Of America

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The now former Defense Secretary James Mattis is one of many top officials to have left the Trump administration — and he’s also one of a number of such individuals who’ve spoken out against the administration’s policies and behavior in the time since his departure. This Sunday morning during an appearance on CBS’s Face The Nation, he expressed surprise and dismay at the Trump administration’s latest moves surrounding the ongoing, long-running war in Afghanistan. Just in recent days, it came out that the Trump team had apparently invited Taliban leaders to Camp David — which is of course, in the United States — for peace talks that would have gotten underway on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, which they helped facilitate through support of al Qaeda.

Although he noted that despite his “surprise” at the Taliban invitation, he does “salute” efforts to bring wars to an end, he told host Margaret Brennan:

‘You remember when we reduced nuclear weapons with Russia, we talked about trust but verify. In this case, with this group, I think we want to verify, then trust. We’ve asked them, demanded that they break with al Qaeda since the Bush administration — they’ve refused to do so. They murdered 3,000 innocent people, citizens of 91 countries on 9/11. We should never forget that the Taliban hid those people among them, refused to break with them, and have refused to this day to break.’

Watch:

Yet, “progress” in negotiations between the Trump team and the Taliban reached the point that the latter were going to be invited into the United States anyway. The process — if any — that the Trump team used to really comprehensively verify the competency and readiness for negotiation on the Taliban’s part remains in question. Easily, this could have been simply another situation where in the face of pressing global security challenges, Trump decided to just rely on the “instinct” he’d developed over his decades as a sleazy businessman. That’s what underlined his palling around with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

In this case, a deal that had been being considered with the Taliban included the imminent withdrawal of about half of the U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan, but Mattis is among those figures like Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) who think that withdrawal is a bad idea.

He told Brennan:

‘The fact is, we need to maintain an influence there until the government of Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan are strong enough to deny Afghanistan as a safe haven.’

As Brennan herself noted and has circulated elsewhere plenty at this point, Trump himself campaigned on a promise to bring troops home from Afghanistan, and while in office, he’s been pushing for that aim — but in the face of these repeated spectacular clashes and meltdowns, it’s not happening.

The issue has become yet another one in which the president promised huge gains and developments but has fallen majorly short in the actual practice of what he’s doing.

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