It’s common knowledge that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates wrote in his memoir that Joe Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue.”
The president looked to continue that half-century losing streak with his Wednesday announcement of a withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan. This solution in search of a crisis does not mean the war is over any more than 10 years ago when thousands of naive millennials rushed into New York City and Washington, D.C. streets to celebrate Osama bin Laden’s death.
A Sept. 11, 2021 departure from Afghanistan only emboldens jihadists who attacked our homeland 20 years ago. By inexplicably declaring the withdrawal is not based on ground conditions, the Biden administration shows they’re insouciant to the terror threat.
Calling the decision “an unforced error,” former Afghanistan Commanding General David Petraeus fears pulling remaining troops out could lead to a terrorist attack on the homeland.
Opposed by current military leadership, the move also hands the Taliban and al Qaeda a propaganda win and forsakes our global leadership position. A decade ago, President Obama let partisan politics dictate our involvement in Iraq; those failed choices directly led to the rise of ISIS.
One lesson everyone should know is that retreat does not end the battle against radical Islam. This is what happened after operations in Somalia; after the 1993 World Trade Center attacks; following the U.S.S. Cole tragedy in 2000; and after our erroneous 2011 withdrawal of combat forces from Iraq. Fewer than three years after the Iraq exit, soldiers needed to return because ISIS’ barbaric acts of murder and slavery terrified the world.
We are not engaged in nation building or combat; we are in a train-and-equip mission, helping Afghan security forces take out terrorists. More Americans are killed each day in Democrat-run cities than the past year in Afghanistan (zero).
We have a couple thousand volunteer troops in theatre — fewer than in Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Qatar or the U.K. — costing about $10 billion annually. That’s a minuscule amount with an administration passing several multi-trillion dollar packages.
“It is retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and an abdication of American leadership,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in part. “Foreign terrorists will not leave the United States alone simply because our politicians have grown tired of taking the fight to them. Conflicts do not simply ‘end.’ They are won or lost. America and American administrations must be in the business of winning. Al Qaeda and other radical Islamic terrorists have not yet been defeated.”
Media applauds Biden’s move because they’re impatient and unaware of facts on the ground. Twenty years is a long time, even if only 1% of the country sacrificed.
But they should heed a “heartbroken” Sen. Lindsey Graham, who believes the president’s strategy is political.
“If he doesn’t change his mind — and I beg you, President Biden, reevaluate this. Don’t lock yourself in,” the South Carolinian advised. “Because things are going to change quickly in Afghanistan for the worst.”
Western liberals who supposedly care about oppressed women and children must also understand that hard-line Islamists haven’t lost their appetite for oppressing those groups.
“The senior leadership of Al-Qaida remains present in Afghanistan, as well as hundreds of armed operatives, Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent, and groups of foreign terrorist fighters aligned with the Taliban,” a 2020 Security Council report said. “Relations between the Taliban and Al-Qaida remain close, based on friendship, a history of shared struggle, ideological sympathy and intermarriage. The Taliban regularly consulted with Al-Qaida during negotiations with the United States and offered guarantees that it would honor their historical ties. Al-Qaida has reacted positively to the agreement, with statements from its acolytes celebrating it as a victory for the Taliban’s cause and thus for global militancy.”
Instead of girls being educated, the anti-war crowd should prepare to hear stories of females being barred from school and tortured by 8th century ruffians.
Thanks to America’s presence and sacrifice, ten times more Afghan children are now in school; life expectancy is up 20 years; and women are again treated as humans.
Isolationists, progressives, libertarians and populists should realize that as we demonstrate a lack of will, our enemies are watching. Maybe the pro-withdrawal folks will care when a resurgent al-Qaeda uses the fertile opportunity Biden provided to re-establish their safe haven and plot the next 9/11.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.