Rep. Peter Meijer Draws Ire For Unauthorized Trip To Afghanistan
The Congressman, who represents Michigan's 3rd District went on a fact finding mission, only to get chastised.
Meijer, a Republican, made the unauthorized trip with Democrat Seth Moulton, a Congressman from Massachusetts. Both served in the military during conflicts in Iran and Afghanistan. Meijer and Moulton said they wanted to see for themselves what was going on at the Karzai Airport in Kabul, where US and Afghani citizens are attempting to flee the Taliban, who have seized control of the nation.
Meijer and Moulton have faced heavy criticism for taking the fact finding mission and to "conduct oversight" on operations there, with most criticism pointed at them for taking up seats on aircraft that could have gone to US citizens trying to get out.
In a joint statement, Meijer and Moulton said they "...left on a plane with empty seats, seated in crew-only seats to ensure that nobody who needed a seat would lose one because of our presence."
Meijer defended his trip in an interview in the Detroit News telling them he became upset when a Afghani translator with ties to West Michigan had to be evacuated by the Canadian government, and not the US government.
The translator, known only as Rahim, was set to go live with Gerald Keen from West Michigan, who worked with him while he was stationed there as a soldier.
"The fact that the U.S. is unable to provide for folks who worked alongside our effort, but our NATO partners like Canada are able to move heaven and earth while we sit around — should be to our unending shame," Meijer said last week before his fact finding mission.
Meijer and Moulton both said their goal in the bi-partisan trip was to get President Joe Biden and his staff to extend the US deadline to get personnel out of Afghanistan beyond the current August 31 (nest Tuesday) deadline. Both were roundly criticized by the State Department for their actions.
But making an effort to see things first hand, to get a grip on what the situation is on the ground in real time seemed prudent to the pair.
"This is what happens when you have intelligence analysis that is shaped to support what politicians want to have happen. And we’ve seen the consequences of that again and again," Meijer told The Detroit News. "We saw that with Iraq and with ISIS. And it has to stop. It is infuriating to me."
If you do anything as a Congressman, you will be accused of grandstanding in an effort to get reelected. But both Meijer and Moulton have taken stands against their respective party's talking points in the past, so maybe they were really trying to learn something.
We'll never know because the standard conversation these days is to just shout each other down, damn the nuance.
Commence to yelling, I guess.
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