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'How the heck did we get to this position?': Quotes of the week

Afghanistan
A U.S military aircraft takes off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon) Wali Sabawoon/AP

‘How the heck did we get to this position?’: Quotes of the week

September 04, 06:05 AM September 04, 06:06 AM

The past week was yet again dominated by Afghanistan, but as the dust began to settle following the withdrawal and mass evacuation, domestic politics again began to creep into the discourse. In particular, the passing of a Texas abortion law appears to have galvanized both the Left and the Right into action, and the Supreme Court refusing to strike it down could lead to a protracted fight as the midterm elections start to come into focus. Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin once again appears to be a thorn in the side of his own party. Here are the quotes of the week.

“The Taliban seeks international legitimacy and support. Our message is: Any legitimacy and any support will have to be earned. The Taliban can do that by meeting commitments and obligations on freedom of travel, respecting the basic rights of the Afghan people, including women and minorities, upholding its commitments on counterterrorism, not carrying out reprisal violence against those who choose to stay in Afghanistan, and forming an inclusive government that can meet the needs and reflect the aspirations of the Afghan people.”

— Secretary of State Antony Blinken after the military evacuation of Afghanistan was completed on Monday

“I thought that the secretary of state’s statement, which was videotaped, and he was looking slightly off-camera, I mean, it looked like a hostage video. It was not the kind of production values that you would expect for such a moment in time.”

— Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin on Blinken’s speech and how it was delivered

“To correct erroneous reports, the U.S. military did not leave any dogs in cages at Hamid Karzai International Airport, including the reported military working dogs. Photos circulating online were animals under the care of the Kabul Small Animal Rescue, not dogs under our care.”

— Pentagon spokesman John Kirby

“Never in my lifetime would I ever believe America would have an administration knowingly make a decision to leave Americans behind. … We now have Americans stuck in Afghanistan, the Taliban in charge, with more weapons than they’ve ever had in the past.”

— House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy condemns the Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan

“Remember i am the one who stood 5 inches from your face and was letting you know i would never get to hug my son again, hear his laugh and then you tried to interrupt me and give me your own sob story and i had to tell you ‘that this isn’t about you so don’t make it about you!!!’”

Shana Chappell, the mother of Lance Cpl. Kareem Nikoui, who was among the 13 U.S. service members killed, reveals what she told President Joe Biden as their bodies were being transferred back to the United States

“I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban. … And there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

— A transcript obtained by Reuters between Biden and Ashraf Ghani in their last phone call before the Taliban seized Afghanistan and Ghani fled.

“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit.”

— Biden offering a vigorous defense of the Afghanistan withdrawal, the day after the final evacuation flights

“You can’t talk yourself out of something you behaved yourself into. And the administration behaved itself into this.”

— Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican, on Biden’s address after the end of the Afghanistan War

“The Supreme Court’s cowardly, dark-of-night decision to uphold a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health is staggering. That this radically partisan Court chose to do so without a full briefing, oral arguments, or providing a full, signed opinion is shameful.”

— Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s response to a restrictive Texas abortion law that the Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to block from going into effect

“The Supreme Court’s ruling overnight is an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for almost 50 years. By allowing a law to go into effect that empowers private citizens in Texas to sue healthcare providers, family members supporting a woman exercising her right to choose after six weeks, or even a friend who drives her to a hospital or clinic, it unleashes unconstitutional chaos and empowers self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts.”

— Biden on the same law

“This nomination is deeply shameful. As mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald — a mere teenager when he was shot 16 times in the back by a Chicago Police Officer. This alone should be flatly disqualifying for any position of public trust, let alone representing the United States as an ambassador.”

— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, on Biden’s nomination of Rahm Emanuel to be ambassador to Japan

“How the heck did we get to this position? How do you create an army that folded in that matter of time? The Taliban did not have any artillery support. The Taliban did not have air or logistic support. How did we lose the country after 20 years of us being there? Somebody needs to be asking some questions about how did we get to where we’re at and on the strategic failures that were made.”

— Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, a former national security adviser to President Donald Trump

“I think it’s been clear for many months that the situation could go very fast, and that’s been part of the intelligence briefing. There have also been suggestions that the Afghan national defense force might hold on for longer. But logically, you can see what happened.”

— Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking to British troops who just returned from Kabul

“Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding, Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget-reconciliation legislation.”

— Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, throws a spanner in the works over Biden’s proposed $3.5 trillion budget package

“Manchin has weekly huddles w/ Exxon & is one of many senators who gives lobbyists their pen to write so-called ‘bipartisan’ fossil fuel bills. It’s killing people. Our people. At least 12 last night. Sick of this ‘bipartisan’ corruption that masquerades as clear-eyed moderation.”

— Ocasio-Cortez tweets her response to Manchin’s op-ed

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