For months leading into the upcoming 20th Anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks which launched the Global War on Terror, Americans were assured by the Biden Administration that we were in control in Afghanistan.
Former President Donald Trump had negotiated a May 1st withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan, but in March President Biden stated that he would not likely meet this deadline. Instead, the symbolic 20th anniversary exit date was chosen by the current administration.
In the April 14th speech announcing this new departure date, President Biden assured the nation that:
“We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. We’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely.”
On August 13th, the illusions of this pledge were decisively shattered as Taliban fighters stormed through the Afghan capital of Kabul. Soon, the Taliban flag would be hoisted above the former US embassy, with thousands of Americans behind enemy lines as the city’s airport became the only base of operations for American contingencies left on the ground.
International outcries rang out as images of civilians clinging to American C-17 cargo planes and plummeting thousands of feet to their deaths were plastered across the press.
Veterans Condemn Biden Prior to Kabul Bombing
And domestic voices, including countless Veterans, condemned the Biden Administration’s execution of the Afghan withdrawal as untold thousands of American citizens remain stranded behind Taliban lines.
One such critic is Sean Parnell.
Sean Parnell – Army Veteran
Parnell is an Army Veteran who “led one of the most valorously decorated light infantry units in Operation Enduring Freedom history. For 485 days he and his men, nicknamed the Outlaw Platoon, experienced some of the most brutal fighting in the Afghan War,” according to a Harper Collins profile on Parnell while promoting his book, “Man of War.”
Parnell had this to say on the Biden withdrawal from Afghanistan:
“If Joe Biden spends this speech blaming former President Trump instead of taking responsibility for his poorly implemented withdrawal strategy as our nation’s Commander in Chief, he will lose the moral authority to lead this country.
Leaders lead, they don’t pass the buck.”
Parnell is running as a Republican for one of Pennsylvania’s Senate seats in 2022.
Former Air Force combat pilot, Buzz Patterson, running for Congress in California, also as a Republican, had this to say on Twitter:
“Biden’s failures in Afghanistan will be the subject of military case studies for decades. War Colleges, mid-level professional military education, entry-level leadership studies, …the whole nine. Biggest failure in White House operational control since Desert One in Iran.”
Democrat Veterans already serving in Congress are also slamming Biden’s handling of the withdrawal.
Congressman Seth Moulton – Former Marine Corps Officer
Former Marine Corps officer and current Massachusetts Congressman, Seth Moulton, issued the following statement:
“To say that today is anything short of a disaster would be dishonest. Worse, it was avoidable. The time to debate whether we stay in Afghanistan has passed, but there is still time to debate how we manage our retreat. For months, I have been calling on the Administration to evacuate our allies immediately — not to wait for paperwork, for shaky agreements with third countries, or for time to make it look more ‘orderly.”
Congressman Moulton’s comments underscore one of the main controversies of the American withdrawal.
The Biden Administration, including the president himself, have maintained that there were no warnings that the Afghan military forces, trained by our country to the tune of billions of dollars, would collapse without a fight.
But is this true?
One leaked confidential cable from the State Department’s “dissent channel” implies that the administration should have seen this debacle coming.
The Hill reports that the cable “… detailed swift gains by the Taliban throughout the country, the collapse of Afghan forces and offered recommendations for speeding up evacuation efforts.”
“The July 13 cable also used tougher language to describe actions being taken by the Taliban, a source told the Journal, highlighting that the administration’s officials on the ground gave leaders clear warnings about the group’s advancement.”
And it wouldn’t be long before the worst-case scenario feared by many, including our nation’s Veterans, came to fruition inside the Afghan capital.
As American citizens and vulnerable Afghan civilians began flooding towards the Kabul’s airport, the US State Department issued warnings advising:
“…U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and to avoid airport gates at this time unless you receive individual instructions from a US government representative to do so.”
Mobs of people were trampling each other in front of the barbed wired entrances to the evacuation locations, as Taliban “security” beat many and forbid others from escaping.
Imminent threats to the airport from ISIS extremists put the US government on high alert.
Then the bombs went off.
The New York Post reported the following on Thursday, August 26th:
“ISIS-affiliated suicide bombers and gunmen struck the Kabul airport Thursday, killing at least 13 American service members and 60 Afghans amid the chaotic US-led evacuation mission — which top officials said would continue despite fears of additional terror attacks.”
The terrorist attack was the single deadliest day for American soldiers in years.
The bombing of the airport in Kabul was the culmination of arbitrary end dates and disastrous incompetence demonstrated by the US government leading up to the end of the Afghan War.
Many Veterans have come forward condemning the handling of this withdrawal by the Biden Administration, arguing the country would once again provide safe harbor for radical Islamists hell bent on attacking Americans and American interests.
Sadly, they were right.
Image Credit: Photo by Diego Gonzalez on Unsplash
According to analysis conducted by the Roper Center, the public at large believes that the government is not doing enough through its federal programs to honor the sacrifices made by those in uniform. By 2012, polling of the public revealed that 58% of Americans felt that Veterans were not receiving proper benefits from the government.