,

Defense Secretary Austin’s bizarre behavior demands answers from Biden & Co.

Why did Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin not tell President Biden that he was going into the hospital? For a career military man, this was an unimaginable breach of protocol. 

Was he worried that the president and his national security team – the people reportedly responsible for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan – would take over military operations in his absence? Given former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ assertion that Biden has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades” – it’s one plausible explanation. 

Over the weekend it emerged that the defense secretary had been hospitalized – in the intensive care unit – on New Years Day and no one bothered to tell the president, his national security team or even other defense department leaders for several days. 

DEFENSE SECRETARY AUSTIN HAS NO PLANS TO RESIGN, PENTAGON SAYS

Supposedly, Austin had put his number two, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks, in charge during his absence, but she was also unaware that he was in the hospital. 

Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, told CNN that Austin transferred “certain operational responsibilities that require constant secure communications capabilities” to Hicks on Jan. 2, the day after he was admitted to Walter Reed.

Imagine: on Jan. 3, there was a meeting at the White House, described by NBC as a “principals deputies committee meeting” chaired by deputy national security adviser Jon Finer, to present military options on how to punish the Houthis for their attacks in the Red Sea. It seems there were no top military officials involved, though the Pentagon had earlier sent the White House some suggestions. This would seem to confirm earlier reports that White House staffers are playing an unusually dominant role in U.S. military affairs. 

As national security apparatchiks met that day, President Biden was in St. Croix, Hicks was on vacation in Puerto Rico and Austin was in intensive care. 

This is alarming – the Pentagon Press Association calls it an “outrage,” especially when the U.S. is deeply immersed in two wars, fending off ongoing attacks on our troops in the Middle East and directing strikes against terrorists on foreign soil.

On New Year’s Eve, the day before the defense chief entered the hospital, the U.S. engaged directly with the Yemen-based terrorists for the first time, with Navy helicopters sinking Houthi boats conducting yet another attack on a neutral commercial vessel. 

WHITE HOUSE RESPONDS TO GOP CALLS FOR SEC AUSTIN’S RESIGNATION AFTER MYSTERY AILMENT, HOSPITALIZATION

In the past few months, the U.S. has deflected and destroyed any number of drones and other weapons trained on ships in the region, including some belonging to the U.S. Navy. What if a Houthi missile on Jan. 2 had struck a Navy ship and U.S. servicemembers had been killed? Would Austin or Hicks have been available for an emergency National Security Council meeting? Would they have been able to communicate and carry out the chain of command?

This is not the first time that the Pentagon has seemingly chosen to keep Biden in the dark. Last year, a giant Chinese spy balloon drifted over our country for three days before the military brass decided to inform the president of its presence. 

When Biden was alerted to the alarming spy machine brazenly hovering above U.S. military installations, he reportedly told his generals to shoot it down, but was deterred by advisers pointing out that the debris from the falling machine could injure civilians on the ground. 

BIDEN ADMIN’S TOP OFFICIALS ATTEMPTED TO ‘CONCEAL’ CHINESE SPY BALLOON FROM PUBLIC, CONGRESS EXPOSED: REPORT

The president was persuaded, and it was not until several days later, when the craft had sailed over the ocean, that it was finally knocked out of the sky.

Does this seem odd? 

Perhaps not so odd considering the horrendous 2021 pullout from Afghanistan, which resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members, killed hundreds of Afghan citizens and abandoned that war-torn country to the Taliban. The abrupt and ill-conceived action was reportedly directed by Biden and his team, who stubbornly ignored the advice of his military generals. 

Before the withdrawal, Politico reported that “behind the scenes, it is Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan who are truly “running the Pentagon,” according to two former officials familiar with the discussions.” One source claimed, “The Pentagon is not making these decisions.”

The White House immediately denied the story, but given what came next, the reporting fits. In the aftermath, military leaders, including Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, disputed Biden’s version of events. 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FOX NEWS OPINION

Politico reported that Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, McKenzie and other generals told Congress under oath that “they advised President Joe Biden… to keep several thousand troops in Afghanistan – directly contradicting the president’s comments in August that no one warned him not to withdraw troops from the country.” 

The pullout from Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021, was the beginning of the end of Joe Biden’s popularity; within a week his approval polls turned negative and began the downward drift that now threatens his re-election campaign. 

Most likely, the military was none too pleased that the president pinned the catastrophe on their poor planning (and also on his predecessor Donald Trump) rather than shouldering the responsibility himself.

Some officers voiced their criticism of the commander in chief, and lived to regret it. 

Former Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster, a retired Army lieutenant general, criticized Biden’s hasty Afghanistan exit and was fired from the board of West Point days before being awarded the academy’s distinguished graduate award. 

In fact, Biden fired all the military academy board members appointed by former President Trump, irrespective of their careers or qualifications. 

The firing of six presidential appointees – 18 people in all – from the boards of the academies was unprecedented and, most likely, not popular among Pentagon top brass. 

Incredibly, Biden is standing by his still-hospitalized defense secretary. But Americans may wonder: who’s running the show? 

If national security advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken – neither of whom served in the military – are directing our military effort, we need to know.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM LIZ PEEK

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