Pentagon officials wasted time fretting over climate change in the weeks preceding the botched U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to government emails obtained by the Center to Advance Security in America and shared with The Daily Wire.
The emails show that in the weeks after the catastrophic fall of Kabul, Pentagon officials Joe Bryan and Richard Kidd discussed ways to convince Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to sign off on something called the Climate Adaption Plan.
Bryan is the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Climate, and Kidd is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment & Energy Resilience.
“I think it’s a tough lift to get [Secretary of Defense] to sign the CAP this week. He’s not looking at much that isn’t Afghanistan-related,” Bryan wrote on Aug. 17th, a day after President Joe Biden delivered a speech about the crisis in Kabul.
Bryan added that perhaps the duo should escalate the issue to Biden’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Andrew Mayock, according to The Daily Wire. The following morning, Kidd responded with an affirmative, arguing that Mayock “gets it.”
In the days that followed, the duo reportedly grew “frustrated,” but not over the declining situation in Afghanistan, which “had devolved into a full-fledged crisis with people falling off planes as they departed the airport, nearly 200 murdered by terrorists as they flooded the airport in hopes of evacuation, and a botched military drone strike that killed civilians rather than terrorist targets.”
(Not mentioned here is the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers on August26, 2021, killed by a suicide bomber at a gate leading to the Kabul airport.)
They grew frustrated that Austin hadn’t signed the CAP.
“On August 30, the final day of the frantic withdrawal, Kidd expressed frustration after Bryan informs him that the plan ‘hasn’t been signed yet,'” The Daily Wire notes.
“Uhm, ok will keep standing by,” Kidd replied.
They reportedly didn’t have to wait long. Two days later on Sept. 1st, Kidd obtained confirmation that the CAP had been signed and was ready for Mayock.
Seen here, in the CAP Austin stated that recognizing the “national security risk posed by climate change” is an “essential step … to defend the nation.”
The Pentagon has since confirmed to The Daily Wire that Austin had indeed spent time during the Afghanistan withdrawal reviewing the CAP, although they claim his priority was Afghanistan.
“On any given day, the DoD and service members worldwide are focused concurrently on multiple lines of effort in support of national security, which is a testament to America’s Armed Forces and civilian workforce,” Pentagon press secretary Pat Ryder said in a statement.
“When it comes to the Afghanistan withdrawal in 2021, Secretary Austin and DoD leaders absolutely prioritized providing leadership and support to U.S. forces and operations in Afghanistan, while also ensuring the other business of the Department of Defense remained on track,” he added.
According to The Daily Wire, “It is unclear how much time Austin spent on the document, but emails indicate that there was a long review process before getting his approval.”
Indeed, in an email sent on May 7th of that year, Kidd warned that it might be a long wait.
“If it is not a real crisis with people dying, it takes at least 30 days to get anything signed by Sec Def,” he wrote.
Responding to these bombshell findings, Center to Advance Security in America director James Fitzpatrick was livid.
“While the Biden Administration was in the middle of a disastrous and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal, our top military leaders were being hounded by DoD climate activists to fast track a plan to transform the Department by forcing politically charged climate change discussions into every decision the DoD makes,” he said.
He added that it’s “appalling” to see that “politically charged climate change discussions” were distracting military officials during the Afghanistan withdrawal.
“To think that American military and political leadership turned their attention to finalize a so-called ‘Climate Action Plan’ in the midst of a Taliban terrorist attack and while Americans and our allies were facing such clear and present danger. God bless the Gold Star families who have to live with this reality,” he said.
James Hasson and Jerry Dunleavy, the authors of a book on the Afghanistan withdrawal, likewise told The Daily Wire that it wasn’t uncommon for the administration’s political priorities to interfere with its military activities.
“Our book details several episodes where the administration’s political priorities interfered with military necessities during the withdrawal, and this incident is consistent with that theme,” they said.
“When thousands of American citizens are stranded in a war zone and the lives of American troops are hanging in the balance, that has to be the Pentagon’s sole focus. It’s unlikely that political appointees focused on climate change could have helped much, but they should have at least stayed out of the way,” they added.
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