To listen to the corporate media, the Biden administration is on a political winning streak. A bailout for the semiconductor industry, new restrictions on gun ownership, 87,000 new IRS employees and now the $700 billion tax and spend bill laughably being framed as an antidote for inflation.
But one year ago, on this president’s orders, the world watched in horror as one of the greatest foreign policy blunders since the Vietnam War unfolded. America’s chaotic and ill-advised withdrawal from Afghanistan took place more than 7,000 miles from Washington, D.C., but it was a direct byproduct of bad decisions made by politicians in the Beltway. (RELATED: ‘Many Sins’: Congressman Destroys Biden A Year After Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal)
Although the episode has faded from the headlines, we must never lose sight of its ramifications, which destabilized a region and gave a foothold to those who wish us harm.
As a retired brigadier general who served 33 years in the Army, including 10 tours in Afghanistan, this is deeply personal for me. I had the privilege of commanding thousands of troops, including 72 who did not make it home. Honoring their sacrifice — and their families’ — are my “why” for service.
One year on, it is worth looking back on the consequences of Biden’s fiasco. With the Taliban calling the shots, businesses, clinics and schools have been overrun and destroyed. Families have been displaced. Women are back in burqas, children unable to go to school. The soccer fields have become killing fields.
Even the death of Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the masterminds of the Sep. 11 attacks and leader of al-Qaida since Osama bin Laden’s demise, came with a major caveat. Yes, it’s good news this monster received justice. But a feeble 71-year-old should never have felt safe enough to hide in plain sight in downtown Kabul.
Terrorists have free reign in Afghanistan. ISIS has begun targeting the Shia minority population, a community routinely subject to persecution, but where violence had subsided with an American military presence. Other hostile nations can send would-be terrorists to Afghanistan for training.
While the botched withdrawal hurt Biden’s political standing, none of its enablers have answered for their actions. The buck stops with the commander-in-chief, and he should have cleaned house. His secretaries of State, Defense, National Security adviser and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including the chairman, should have resigned or been removed.
Instead, the same cast of characters remain in their respective positions.
During my tenure as Joint Staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Aide to the Secretary of the Army, I regularly briefed high level government officials, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and president of the United States, who was Barack Obama at the time. I told them what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear, even if it ruffled feathers.
I made it clear that Obama’s withdrawal plan announced in December 2014 was the wrong move. It was the playbook his then-vice president, Joe Biden, picked up and finished seven years later.
Instead of leading an international effort that would leave a limited number of U.S. servicemembers behind to support the Afghan government and push back on al-Qaida and ISIS, Biden unilaterally withdrew all our troops to meet an arbitrary political deadline.
We abandoned the brave Afghans who risked their lives to help us combat the terrorist extremists. Many are now stranded or hiding, fearful for their lives. They took a major risk to stand with us and were shamefully abandoned for their efforts. The Biden administration has not done enough to ease the resettlement process.
To be sure, America’s military presence in Afghanistan needed to end. We had been there too long, and it was time for the Afghan government to stand up on its own. But that does not justify what happened, as you’re likely to hear defenders of the Biden administration try to argue in the coming weeks.
Going forward, Afghanistan must be treated as a the terrorist state that it has become. It should be isolated in every way possible. The U.S. should work through the United Nations to admonish China, Iran, Russia, North Korea and anyone else who tries to conduct business with the Taliban.
The Afghan people deserve better than the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS-K. We must support regional security. We also need to get tougher with Pakistan and support India’s efforts to undermine China. Otherwise, terrorist organizations are going to proliferate and the odds of further attacks on the U.S. will increase.
While corporate media fawns over Biden’s “winning” streak, remember his failed leadership weakened America and emboldened our enemies. One year may have passed, but we — and our allies — will be paying the consequences for years to come.
Don Bolduc is a retired Brigadier General and Republican candidate for United States Senate in New Hampshire
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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