On July 8, Joe Biden spoke on the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He described the mission that would conclude on August 31 as “secure and orderly” and added that to conduct the exit differently would unacceptably increase the risk to American personnel.
Biden also said that we were “coordinating closely” with foreign partners to secure the Kabul airport, while the U.S. and concerned parties continued to “work vigorously to support a negotiated (peace) solution.” Afghan nationals who assisted the war effort would also be protected prior to the conclusion of U.S. operations.
When questioned by reporters, Biden denied that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was inevitable “because Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against 75,000 Taliban.” Asked about the U.S. intelligence assessment that the Afghan government would likely collapse, Biden issued a vehement denial and claimed that no such determination had been made. Finally, when a reporter made parallels between Afghanistan and the 1975 retreat from Vietnam, a clearly agitated and confused Biden exclaimed, “The Taliban is not the south - the North Vietnamese army. There is no circumstance where people are lifted off the roof of an embassy of the U.S. from Afghanistan. The likelihood of the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
Fast forward to August 13. While our fearless leader was vacationing at Camp David, Afghanistan was devolving into a living hell; Kabul’s airport in pure chaos with Afghan citizens over-running the airport and attempting to board massive American transport planes attempting to fly terrified U.S. citizens to safety. The announcement was finally made that 6,000 American troops would be returning to secure the airport.
After being MIA for 72 hours, Biden, completely lacking in confidence and assurance, doubled down on his withdrawal plan. Blaming the debacle on poor Afghan leadership, poorly-motivated Afghan troops and (of course) Donald Trump, Biden comically declared that the buck stopped with him. Then in perfect fashion, the White House occupant boarded a helicopter back to Camp David; perhaps in search of a clue regarding how to organize a two-car funeral.
Meanwhile, an estimated 40,000 Americans remain trapped in Afghanistan; potential hostages unable to get to an airport encircled by Taliban militiamen. Swarms of other Taliban are going house to house in search of Westerners and Afghans who cooperated with the U.S. military; terrorizing women and children and lining up civilians for impromptu interrogation. With stories of torture and murder in the streets also being reported, when will mass executions begin?
Not to be ignored are the thousands of Al-Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, once securely confined in Afghan prisons, who have since been released by their Taliban brothers. What acts of madness and mayhem are they capable of committing against America and the West; especially with the vast trove of advanced weaponry and munitions the Biden gang ignorantly failed to secure prior to tucking their tails and running. This is Joe Biden’s legacy of ineptness.
As for the global political picture, Russia and China are in a race to recognize the new Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, with Moscow setting its sights on Ukraine and China being emboldened to publicly jab Taiwan not to count on the U.S. when Beijing invades. Why wouldn’t our enemies laugh as Joe diminishes America’s state to one which matches his cognitive one and adds to his impressive list of foreign policy blunders?
The U.S. departure from Afghanistan was never in doubt, but the fashion under which it was achieved was imperative. It could get much worse too as Americans “shelter in place.” Just as Biden has left us domestically ravaged, his Afghan debacle is a slap in the face to 9/11 families characterized by a foreign policy mantra which screams, “Speak loudly and carry a small stick.” And just as Biden’s Bay of Pig’s fiasco will have serious consequences for the U.S. long after he’s gone, it might also signal an earlier exit for him than he could have ever expected.
Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News.