The humiliating, precipitous, poorly planned rush to get out of Afghanistan after 20 years of sacrifice by American military personnel was the worst U.S. foreign policy failure since Vietnam. Period. And given all we know of Joe Biden’s long list of foreign policy bungles; it is sadly not surprising.
It was always a mistake to believe we could build Afghanistan into a free, democratic nation. We must learn the lesson to stop using our military this way, draining taxpayer dollars on foreign soil for people whose cultures are simply not prepared for liberty. But while the eventual outcome was inevitable, President Biden’s incompetent handling of the exist was embarrassing, disastrous and entirely preventable, and is resulting in a gruesome purge of those Afghans who allied with the U.S. With proper controls, that would not be happening. His actions betrayed the trust that our Afghan friends put in us, just as happened in Southeast Asia.
Further, the unnecessary and hasty bug-out was so poorly done that reports say between 10,000 and 40,000 Americans are now trapped in Afghanistan under the sadistic Taliban regime. This is a disaster. As with virtually every action of this administration since January, Biden has made things worse.
Two important points must be made. For the past 20 years, American men and women have served heroically and sacrificially in Afghanistan. I deployed to the Middle East in support of Operations Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom and put my boots on the ground in numerous countries in the region. So did my wife. We know firsthand that our fellow soldiers and their families have sacrificed much and remember we have not had another 9-11.
Second, many Democrats, leftists and the media are actually trying to blame Trump. Biden himself came out and blamed the Afghans and the Trump withdrawal plan that he claims he just had to follow. Normal nonsense from this White House. He blamed his border crisis on Trump, too. No memory of President Truman’s “The buck stops here.”
We had to end America’s longest war. But how we went about it, to honor the American sacrifices, our allies and our future security, was critical. The Trump administration developed a conditions-based withdrawal, not this humiliating abandonment action. According to Trump’s plan, no final withdrawal would have happened until there was a successful peace between the Taliban and the Ghani government.
As opposed to Biden literally being at the beach as Afghanistan fell, President Trump personally engaged with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who led the Taliban delegation. (Biden went to no such trouble.) Trump made perfectly clear what the consequences would be if the Taliban broke the agreement (which they assuredly would eventually.) And the Taliban had watched Trump back up his red lines against the Russians, the Syrians and Iranian terrorist leaders in Iraq. They took him seriously. (This real deterrent was a big reason that zero American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan in Trump’s final 11 months in office.)
This step could have at least heartened the Afghan forces and allowed a much more orderly withdrawal of Americans and our Afghan allies. Biden did none of this, from the beach, his basement or the White House.
This reveals the gaping difference in American leadership between the Trump Administration and the Biden Administration. Biden’s blame-everyone-else routine is terrible leadership and doesn’t work. If he had actually followed what Trump was doing, we would not have seen Chinooks hovering over our Kabul embassy, shades of Hueys over Saigan, and Afghans literally trying to hang on Air Force planes to escape, only to fall to their deaths.
The Biden Administration alone owns this ignoble failure. The truly sad reality is that this is hardly surprising. As President Obama’s own Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, Joe Biden has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
An honest, non-partisan media would have forewarned the American people of this inevitable aspect of a Biden Administration. Because there will be more of these.