Afghanistan war veteran and former CIA analyst Matt Zeller tore into former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller on Wednesday for suggesting Afghan refugees don’t deserve to come to America, saying Miller “should be held accountable for war crimes” because he was as “responsible” as the Taliban for “these people’s deaths.”
Zeller has worked tirelessly for years to bring Afghan interpreters and support personnel who worked with U.S. troops to America, urging U.S. officials to ensure our Afghan allies can be safely evacuated out of Afghanistan.
With the sudden and chaotic collapse of the Afghan government following the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the Taliban’s quick resurgence, Zeller drew plaudits from conservatives and right-wing media this week after he criticized MSNBC for praising President Joe Biden’s speech on the evacuation crisis.
“I hope he gets to own their deaths, too. I feel like I watched a different speech than the rest of you guys. I was appalled,” Zeller fumed after MSNBC’s Brian Williams said Biden “didn’t run” from responsibility on the disastrous exit from Afghanistan.
Zeller let it be known on Wednesday afternoon, however, that there was plenty of blame to go around for the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
Miller has led the charge of Team MAGA’s full nativist turn against Afghan refugees scrambling to find safe haven, telling Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night that the U.S. does not owe anything to Afghans seeking asylum after 20 years of war.
“The United States of America never, ever made a promise—written or unwritten—to the people of Afghanistan that if after 20 years they were unable to secure their own country that we would take them to ours,” Miller huffed on Tuesday night.
Asked to give his thoughts on Miller’s remarks during a CNN interview, Zeller went off on the immigration hardliner, saying the Trump aide had been his “personal nemesis” since he served on then-Sen. Jeff Sessions’ staff.
“As far as I’m concerned, he personally is as complicit as the Taliban in these people’s deaths,” he declared. “He should be held accountable for war crimes!”
Zeller added, “He spent the entirety of the Trump administration purposely trying to prevent these people from coming here. I’ve had meetings with him and his ilk. I brought the interpreter who saved my life to some of those meetings.”
He went on to describe his interactions with Miller over the years, stating that Miller and his associates specifically told him that he was “doing nothing but letting Islamic fundamentalist terrorists into our country” and it was their job to stop him.
“You know what? Stephen Miller never wore a uniform a day in his life,” an increasingly agitated Zeller continued. “He’s a privileged little brat! He ought to be held for war crimes. I can’t stand that man. I can’t believe that you’re giving him any more air time.”
The war veteran also grumbled that the media has allowed Miller’s views to spread by publicizing him, adding that the Trump acolyte “doesn’t represent America” but instead “represents the worst of us.”
Zeller would then discuss his efforts in organizing airlift operations to get Americans and refugees alike out of Afghanistan before taking another shot at Miller.
“We are determined to see our people get out. We’re not going to rest until we do it effectively and efficiently and most importantly in we take them all,” he proclaimed. “People like Stephen Miller need to just sit down and shut up because he has been part of the problem for too long.”
Moments later, he laid out why he believes Miller and the Trump administration share some blame for the current crisis in Afghanistan.
“The reason all these people are stuck in Afghanistan right now is because the visa program created to get them here, it was purposely shut down by the Trump administration for the last four years,” he said. “Now, the Obama administration has plenty to blame on that. They were not an effective processor for the first four years that they held office. But the latter four years of the Obama administration, the second term, they got the program functioning pretty well.”
Zeller concluded, “The Trump administration came in and purposely destroyed it. The reason why all of these Afghans were stuck in Afghanistan for as long as they were in the first place is because those people made sure they couldn’t get out. As I said before, they’re as complicit as the Taliban are in these people’s deaths.”