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After Biden addressed the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan following the planned U.S. troop withdrawal from the country in a speech from the White House on Monday, media pundits lauded the president's remarks, with Williams praising the speech. Zeller disputed Williams's interpretation, particularly his assertion that Biden "owned the fact that, as he put it, the buck stops with him."
"I hope he gets to own their deaths, too," Zeller told Williams and Nicolle Wallace on Deadline: White House Monday night.
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"I feel like I watched a different speech than the rest of you guys. I was appalled. There was such a profound bold-faced lie in that speech. The idea we planned for every contingency? I have been personally trying to tell this administration since it took office, [and] I have been trying to tell our government for years this was coming. We sent them plan after plan on how to evacuate these people. Nobody listened to us," Zeller added.
Zeller, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve who previously served as an embedded combat adviser with the Afghan security forces in Ghazni, Afghanistan, said that the United States made the Afghan people a "promise" of defense, adding, "The Taliban are now actively killing them, and if we don't take them, they're going to die."
"I can't forgive myself, and I'll never forgive my country for doing this," Zeller added.
Wallace joined Williams in applauding Biden's speech, arguing that "95% of the American people" would agree with everything the president said on Monday.
Chaos in the capital of Afghanistan ensued over the weekend and into Tuesday as the Taliban took over Kabul on Sunday. Deposed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country amid the Taliban's takeover of the nation's government. In his remarks Monday, Biden admitted the fall of the government came "more quickly than we anticipated" but stood by his decision to end "America's war-fighting in Afghanistan."
During the years of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, Williams, then the chief anchor of NBC Nightly News, was part of a scandal that emerged in 2015 after it was made apparent that a story he told about coming under RPG fire in 2003 while flying in a helicopter in Iraq was falsified.
Williams admitted in February 2015 that the helicopter was not hit by enemy fire and took a brief absence from the network before returning to the network as a breaking news editor for MSNBC.
Some on the Right recalled the episode in criticizing Williams's analysis, with former Fox News contributor Stephen Miller tweeting he was "not sure why [Zeller was] lecturing Brian Williams about his service when Williams was right there on those choppers with him."
"Wow! I'll bet Brian Williams thought he was under fire in that helicopter again! (Except this time he really DID get set down.)," former Gov. Mike Huckabee wrote of the segment.
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Original Author: Kaelan Deese