September 3, 2021

It wasn’t easy, but Rep. Markwayne Mullin has topped Reps. Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer on the Afghanistan jackassery scale. As the U.S. was mustering every resource to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from Kabul, Moulton and Meijer—a Democrat from Massachusetts and a Republican from Michigan—sneaked into the country and soaked up some military resources to “conduct oversight,” in a blatant play for attention that justifiably backlashed on them.

Following Moulton and Meijer’s little adventure, there were reports that other lawmakers were trying the same thing. It seems that Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, was one of those. Mullin first went to Greece and asked the Department of Defense to help him get into Afghanistan. After that attempt was rejected, The Washington Post reports, Mullin escalated.

Mullin’s plan was to fly from Tblisi, Georgia, to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where he would hire a helicopter to take him to Afghanistan to rescue five U.S. citizens. Hiring the helicopter involved bringing a lot of cash into Tajikistan—more than the country’s laws allow. Mullin wanted the U.S. embassy there to help him break the law.

When the embassy refused to help Mullin break the law, he had a hissy fit, demanding to know the names of the staff he was talking to and threatening U.S. Ambassador John Mark Pommersheim and other embassy staff. 

To reiterate: A member of Congress was told no by the Pentagon. Instead of backing off, he tried to get U.S. diplomatic staff to help him break the laws of the country in which they were stationed so that he could go to a country the U.S. was trying to get people out of for safety reasons, and when they said no, he threatened them.

”To say this is extremely dangerous is a massive understatement,” an unnamed State Department official told the Post.

Moulton and Meijer are military veterans—a mixed bag in assessing their actions. They at least plausibly would have some understanding of how to behave around military operations and residual skills at keeping themselves safe in that environment. But they also had to know what a drain on resources their visit would be, and they went ahead and put their own self-importance and desire for attention above those considerations. Mullin, on the other hand, is a former high school and college wrestler who was briefly a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Now he apparently thinks he’s frickin’ Rambo.

Mullin’s office isn’t saying where he is now, just that he’s safe. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who last week said members of Congress should not try to go to Afghanistan, walked away when reporters asked if he had been in contact with Mullin or knew where he was.

Republished with permission from Daily Kos.

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