It must be nice to work for the Biden administration. No matter how badly you mess up, or lie, or mislead the American people, you will never be forced to resign or be held accountable. You can lie and dissimulate about the most serious matters facing the country, and nothing will happen to you.
Take two recent examples: the origins of COVID-19 and the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
When news broke this week that the U.S. National Institute Of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded dangerous bat coronavirus research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through grants to EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based health organization, it didn’t take long for some to call on Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of NIAID, to resign.
“Anthony Fauci has repeatedly and deliberately mislead Congress and the American people. Resign. And face a congressional inquiry,” tweeted Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has pointedly questioned Fauci on his agency’s involvement in so-called “gain-of-function” research in China, said Tuesday that he asked the Department of Justice “to review Fauci’s testimony for lying to Congress,” as he has done previously.
In May, Fauci told Paul and a Senate committee investigating the origins of COVID-19 that the National Institutes of Health, “has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”
But a report published Monday by The Intercept appears to flatly contradict Fauci’s statements to Congress. According to documents obtained by The Intercept as part of ongoing Freedom of Information Act litigation against the NIH, the agency issued grants to EcoHealth Alliance for “bat coronavirus research” in the amount of “$3.1 million, including $599,000 that the Wuhan Institute of Virology used in part to identify and alter bat coronaviruses likely to infect humans.”
Dr. Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University, reviewed the grant documents and concluded that, Fauci’s previous assertions notwithstanding, the NIH did in fact fund gain-of-function research at the Chinese lab.
“The materials show that the 2014 and 2019 NIH grants to EcoHealth with subcontracts to WIV funded gain-of-function research as defined in federal policies in effect in 2014-2017 and potential pandemic pathogen enhancement as defined in federal policies in effect in 2017-present,” Ebright wrote on Twitter. “The materials confirm the grants supported the construction — in Wuhan — of novel chimeric SARS-related coronaviruses that combined a spike gene from one coronavirus with genetic information from another coronavirus, and confirmed the resulting viruses could infect human cells.”
The documents make it clear that assertions by the NIH Director, Francis Collins, and the NIAID Director, Anthony Fauci, that the NIH did not support gain-of-function research or potential pandemic pathogen enhancement at WIV are untruthful.
— Richard H. Ebright (@R_H_Ebright) September 7, 2021
So it seems Fauci has been lying about his knowledge of the possible origins of COVID-19, and intentionally misleading lawmakers about his agency’s knowledge of research that might have directly lead to a global pandemic. By any standard, Fauci should be fired, or forced to resign, and maybe even face prosecution for lying to Congress.
But of course none of that will happen. Fauci will continue to lead NIAID, appear on cable news, and be held up by political and media leaders as their high priest of science, whose authority cannot be questioned. There will be no accountability of any kind for Fauci, no matter what new information comes to light.
The same is true of the U.S. military commanders and administration officials who so badly botched the Afghanistan withdrawal. Almost everything they and President Biden told us about what was likely to happen ahead of the August 31 deadline turned out to be wrong, and disastrously so.
U.S. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said we would not need the U.S. air base at Bagram, and defended their decision to abandon it, which left only the airport in Kabul to evacuate U.S. citizens, troops, and Afghan allies. In the ensuing chaos, more than a dozen U.S. soldiers were killed, along with nearly 200 Afghan citizens, when a pair of suicide bombings targeted the airport complex in the final days of the withdrawal.
Even the retaliatory drone strike against the purported planners of those bombings looks increasingly like a bungled job that might have killed an Afghan family, including seven children. Milley told reporters it was a “righteous strike” that foiled another ISIS bombing plot, but now the military’s own preliminary analysis is casting doubt on those claims, suggesting not only that the drone strike killed an innocent family, but that it might not have even hit a terrorist target at all.
Milley and Austin have both faced calls to resign over their manifest incompetence in Afghanistan. So have National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Some Republicans in Congress have demanded not only resignations but also an investigation into the botched withdrawal. A group of retired military officers has called on Austin and Milley to resign.
But they won’t. None of them will. Those who run our military and public health industrial complexes will blunder along, immune from the consequences of their actions and defended by a media establishment whose fate is largely tied to the Biden administration’s.
If we can’t demand accountability for mistakes as massive and catastrophic as COVID-19 and the Afghanistan withdrawal, then it’s time to reconcile ourselves to the idea that we don’t really have a republic anymore, that we’re not citizens but subjects, and that in the face of incompetence and corruption from our ruling elite, we can ask nothing and expect nothing.