There's been some controversy! Or probably more like NON-troversy.
Regardless, this morning's hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee with Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is probably going to be LIT.
Watch live with us!
9:33: Oh hello good morning! We are live in the Senate, just kidding we are live at our house. But there is a live hearing in Congress, and we are going to liveblog it!
Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island starts out by saying a lot of this is going to be about the withdrawal from Afghanistan, you know, at least theoretically. We imagine people are going to ask General Milley a lot of questions about Other Things.
9:38: Now GOP ranking member on the committee, James Inhofe, takes over to say whatever he would like to say, we bet it will be productive.
9:42: INHOFE: Blah blah, Joe Biden didn't listen to any of his commanders, blah blah, Joe Biden gave a gift to the terrorists, blah blah, Joe Biden took the shit sandwich deal Donald Trump made for an Afghanistan withdrawal and was the first president who actually had the backbone to pull us out of Afghanistan. (Inhofe didn't say that last part about Trump's shit deal and Biden's backbone, we just got bored listening to him.)
9:45: Listening to Inhofe, we just wonder who old balls Republicans think is the audience for this, outside defense contractors and their supper clubs.
Anyway, now SecDef Austin is giving his opening statement.
9:54: Austin's opening statement is full of details and explanations, but the main idea is that the pullout from Afghanistan was not perfect, but actually, it went fairly well, considering, and that the point was that we were leaving.
9:57: He says it did legit shock them how quickly the Afghan military fell apart, though.
10:01: Milley is giving his opening statement now, and notes that this pull-out hasn't been some sudden thing that's happened over the last 19 months or that happened over 19 days in August, but rather a drawdown that started 10 years ago. We can tell you that is true, and you know why? Because we are rewatching "Homeland" right now, and that makes these things fresher on our mind than they might usually be.
"Homeland" is a good show, even when it is batshit.
10:04: Milley has not said anything about whether he secretly called China to tell them not to worry about Donald Trump getting constipated and nuking them, we will let you know if he says that.
10:12: Oh now he is is addressing all the controversy from the Bob Woodward book, though you can tell he is not pleased about it. He says he always communicated with his Chinese counterpart, through correct protocols and with the correct oversight and permissions. Says these kinds of comms are absolutely essential to protecting the world. Says the calls in question were in response to intelligence that told them that the Chinese had gotten bad intel that America wanted to attack them. Says Dumb Dumb Trump didn't want to nuke 'GIIIIIIIIIIINA. So Milley, with eight people present, called China and relayed the message. Likewise when he talked to China in January, he did it with normal protocols and briefing the right people.
He also is describing his call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi just after the Capitol attack Trump incited, and that he "repeatedly assured her" that there was "no chance" of an "illegal" or "accidental" or "unauthorized" launch of the nukes. But he did say the president is the sole authority on that.
Anyway, Milley's story is that he did all this by the damn book.
10:21: And now the questioning is starting. Inhofe is really upset the military guys didn't turn in the homework they were supposed to turn into the Senate until 10:35 last night. He keeps coming back to it. He didn't get to look at their homework before he made up his questions!
Meanwhile Milley and one of the other witnesses, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, who runs Centcom, they really thought we should stay in Afghanistan some more.
10:25: If you are worried this hearing is too adult so far, flip your TV to MSNBC and note that the camera is pretty much consistently showing Josh Hawley, just waiting to disgust and embarrass us all.
10:30: SENA-TUH WICK-UH HAS AN OBJECTION! He does not like it when people from Defense say you have to ask questions to the State Department and people from State say you have to ask the Defense Department! He thought he had admonished the administration about this last time!
That was Roger Wicker's objection. The rest of his questioning was wanking motion dot gif.
10:33: Kirsten Gillibrand starts by giving President Biden credit for "ending an endless war."
10:42: GOP Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska is VERY MAD that the Biden administration did not obey exactly what military commanders wanted to do in Afghanistan and did not even listen to the military. Milley clarifies that they did listen to military voices, but, you know, civilian control, and the military is actually not the boss of civilian control.
Now she's trying to insinuate something about Russia, sounds like the secretary of Defense thinks she's full of shit.
10:50: Uh oh here comes Tom Cotton.
10:51: COTTON: YEW WANTED TO KEEP 2,500 TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN!
COTTON: SO DID YEW!
COTTON: BIDEN TOLD GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS THAT NOBODY TOLD HIM TO LEAVE SOME TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN! BIDEN LIE!
AUSTIN: Literally nobody is going to tell you what they recommended in confidence to the president.
Haha, y'all, this is literally Tom Cotton today:
Interesting that the Republicans don't really seem to be going after Milley for the Woodward book stuff.
10:56: Now Cotton is asking Milley why he hasn't resigned because Biden has maybe not taken every single piece of advice he has given? LOLOLOL, Tom Cotton is such a fucking child.
11:05: In case you have not noticed, the most important-est thing in the world to these Republicans is that the military guys thought we should keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, which would have FIXED EVERYTHING, but Joe Biden wanted to actually leave, and that has RUINED EVERYTHING. That is what they think.
11:07: GOP SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (paraphrase): General Milley, did it make you VERY MAD that the president of the United States did not treat you as the boss of him?
11:15: Hahahaha, Joni Ernst is such an asshole. Basically starts her soliloquy by saying she regrets they are having to have this hearing, on account of how Joe Biden and his entire administration is such a failure. Suggests he only wanted to pull out of Afghanistan for the anniversary of 9/11. After about three minutes of asshole words, she finally gets around to a question.
11:20: Senator Angus King thinks it's pretty funny how Republicans are over here having a hearing about whether we should leave Afghanistan when that's a decision Donald Trump made back in 2020.
11:26: King had some fun establishing that it was Donald Trump's administration that made the Doha agreement with the Taliban, and that it was under Donald Trump that the Taliban decided to piss on that agreement early and often.
GOP Sen. Thom Tillis thinks it is very not fair to note that Trump was the one who made the shitty agreement the Taliban ignored anyway.
11:37: Elizabeth Warren had a nice round of questioning, establishing that another year in Afghanistan would have just been some more useless crap.
GOP Senator Dan Sullivan follows, to bark quotes from Joe Biden at the military guys and demand they say that Biden was lying. None of them are taking the bait, of course, so Sullivan is barking over them and yelling like WE ALL KNOW BIDEN SAID A LIE! When they try to answer in more detail he's like WE ALL KNOW I ONLY HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO BARK MY YAPPY WORDS!
Josh Hawley hasn't even gone yet, y'all.
11:41: Haha Mazie Hirono had to tell Dan Sullivan to shut his face hole.
11:52: Kevin Cramer, GOP senator from one of the Dakotas, said a bunch of crap, it wasn't worth your time. Joe Manchin is now talking but he's not announcing his support getting rid of the filibuster so we are probably not that interested in that either.
12:03: Well I never, Rick Batboy Scott from Florida just wishes General Milley would address whether he is currently sitting in a tree with China and K-I-S-S-I-N-G, even though Milley already addressed that, Rick Scott just wishes he would address it! Milley says he'll address it.
Now Tammy Duckworth is questioning about grownup subjects, like the rapid dissolution of the Afghan military and stuff like that. After that, it'll be another Republican's turn to play with their poo.
12:11: Well, we did say "play with their poo."
Marsha Blackburn just gave a speech about how "Tennesseans" are mad about this and "Tennesseans" are mad about that and "Tennesseans" hate Joe Biden so much, so since we live in Memphis, we thought y'all might be interested in what happens when Marsha Blackburn tries to act like she is the senator for Memphis or something. It doesn't go well for her.
12:20: And now here is shitmouthed seditionist Josh Hawley, who has so far said the military guys have testified that Joe Biden lied to the American people, when none of them have testified to that. He is also whining that Biden has left all the Americans behind in Afghanistan and SecDef Austin literally just interrupted him even though he hasn't asked a question.
12:36: We are sorry there is not more fireworks here so far. The Republicans have like one talking point. Maybe in the after lunch session they will defend Donald Trump's honor and call Joe Biden the devil more than they already are. As we are, Tommy Tuberville is wrapping up his soliloquy, and now they are starting their second rounds of questioning before they take their lunch break.
12:53: Lunch break about to happen, but we will note first that when Marsha Blackburn was talking, she made General Milley answer whether he had or had not talked to all these authors like Bob Woodward for their books and then say whether he thought he was represented fairly in them. Unfortunately, Milley hasn't read the books! And that was when Marsha Blackburn literally assigned General Milley to read all the books and then report back. In other words, book reports.
We're sure he'll get right on that, Senator.
1:58: They took a fast break! Feel free to keep watching the hearing in here. We monitoring it for CRAZY but we think this hearing is more "informative" than CRAZY, and we are just not used to such things. But we are here!
2:31: We are popping back in to make fun of Dan Sullivan of Alaska again, who says he wants to continue his line of questioning from this morning. You know, because it was so successful, when he demanded the military guys accuse Joe Biden of lying.
Does this poor soul think there is room for him in a clown car where Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton are already riding in the front seat?
2:34: This dumb twit just asked all the generals if they had submitted their letters of resignation. These Republicans seem to think that if the president disagrees with the military people, the military people MUST RESIGN. It's just ridiculous.
Oh and now he's going to stick his head all the way up his ass trying to get the military leaders to tell him it would be somehow WEIRD for one country's military to give another country a heads up if there is an attack coming. Poor Mister Sullivan doesn't know much about a lot of things, apparently, and this is one of them.
2:38: Milley is now explaining what actually happened in the story Bob Woodward told in his book.
"I think if you're giving a heads up to the Chinese Communist Party!" Sullivan bitches and moans as his time to STFU comes. Dude does not know much about how this world works.
2:45: We got up to make more coffee but we think North Dakota idiot Kevin Cramer was just saying something ignorant about immigration? Is that the correct assumption?
2:52: Rick Dumbfuck Batboy Scott is very confused why General Milley would talk to the media. Milley gently explains that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff talks to the media frequently, and it is a thing.
Rick Dumbfuck Batboy Scott wants to know why General Milley would give the "Communist Chinese Military" a heads up if we were going to attack. Milley is slowly trying to explain again the context of the events in question.
They just let anybody in the Senate these days, Jesus Christ.
2:56: SCOTT: How did you feel when Joe Biden said this thing that made Republicans very performatively mad?
3:03: LOL, Blackburn is back to give Milley more goddamn book reports. Blackburn wants to know if Milley said anything that portrayed Trump in a NEGATIVE way to any of the authors of the books. She just said again, "Well I'm looking forward to your book report."
"What is your standard for determining when to LEAK private conversations with the president?"
Jesus Christ. Again, they just let anybody in the Senate these days.
3:06: Also, people who act like Marjorie Taylor-Greene is some new phenomenon need to brush up on Marsha Blackburn's greatest hits.
3:07: BLACKBURN: "Maybe we're going to remember you three as the three who broke the military!" How are they not busting out laughing?
3:13: HAWLEY: Seems like a lot of time it took you to do all these interviews!
MILLEY: Not ... that much?
HAWLEY: Oh, so you can just do interviews really fast I guess!
MILLEY: They ... were interviews?
HAWLEY: Huh! Well! HUH!
They really put anybody in the Senate these days.
3:15: HAWLEY: All these interviews, bet you didn't even know what was happening in Afghanistan because you were too distracted!
3:18: Haha, Josh Hawley just told everybody to resign, that's cute.
3:24: Tommy Tuberville would like to know if the secretary of Defense is against dishonorable discharges for refusing vaccines. Sec. Austin says taking a vaccine is a requirement and he will leave it at that.
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