Washington Post Ridiculed Over “Fact Check” on U.S. Weapons Seized by Taliban
The Washington Post is not sending their best.
Their alleged fact checker Glenn Kessler decided to tackle Donald Trump’s claim that the Taliban seized $83 billion in U.S. weapons following the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. Presumably, Kessler’s goal is to nitpick the dollar value of the weapons seized so he can accuse Trump of being a liar in an attempt to divert attention away from the fact that Biden allowed weapons to fall into the hands of the Taliban.
While we don’t know exactly how many Americans are left stranded in Afghanistan (though it’s estimated in the hundreds), we can apparently know the dollar value of all the weaponry we left behind.
Kessler headlined his article “No, the Taliban did not seize $83 billion of U.S. weapons,” and seems to have been given that headline in hopes that the average reader has hit their monthly free article limit and can’t read the rest of the article. Because if they did, they’d find that the truth isn’t much better. Kessler writes of the “myth” he’s attempting to debunk:
The $83 billion figure — technically, $82.9 billion — comes from an estimate in the July 30 quarterly report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) for all spending on the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund since the U.S. invasion in 2001.
A 2017 Government Accountability Office report estimated that about 29 percent of the funds spent on the Afghan security forces between 2005 and 2016 went to equipment and transportation. (The transportation costs related to transporting equipment and for contracted pilots and airplanes for transporting officials to meetings. There appears to be no way to segregate transportation spending.)
The value of the equipment is not more than $80 billion. That’s the figure for all of the money spent on training and sustaining the Afghan military over 20 years. The equipment portion of that total is about $24 billion — certainly not small change — but the actual value of the equipment in the Taliban’s hands is probably much less than even that amount.
Perhaps $24 billion appears small relative to $83 billion, but that’s the only context in which it’s small. For reference, $24 billion is larger than the annual military budgets of all but twelve countries.
Sickening, massive, consequential errors made by President Biden in Afghanistan. Absolutely infuriating to allow tens of billions of dollars worth of US weapons and equipment to fall into the hands of the Taliban like this. pic.twitter.com/EOWhAoP8vx
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) August 30, 2021
Naturally, Kessler’s “fact check” was widely mocked.
The Taliban could hang those dogs from helicopters and Glenn Kessler will be fact checking a Trump speech from 2017
— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) August 31, 2021
Myth: Three Americans die from rabies every year.
Fact: FOUR Americans die from rabies every year. pic.twitter.com/YfCTL4xPSj
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) August 31, 2021
It’s like an Onion or Babylon Bee fact check.
— Scott Koehler (@23_sck_23) August 31, 2021
Next time you liars want to claim the value of a fleet of Black Hawk helicopters and C-130s, use the Kelly Blue Book WHOLESALE price, not retail
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) August 31, 2021
Meanwhile, Joe Biden has lied about the Taliban’s ability to takeover Afghanistan, whether we’d have to airlift people out like in Saigon, the presence of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and leaving no Americans behind.
I won’t hold my breath for a fact check on those claims anytime soon.
Matt Palumbo is the author of The Man Behind the Curtain: Inside the Secret Network of George Soros, Dumb and Dumber: How Cuomo and de Blasio Ruined New York, Debunk This: Shattering Liberal Lies, and Spygate
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