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Biden’s Incompetent & Disastrous Afghanistan Withdrawal, one year later #BloodyHands
Biden’s Afghanistan disaster, one year later
"We need to demand accountability and answers on why things went so wrong"
By Rep. Don Bacon - - Washington Times Opinion
August 26, 2022: This month marks the one-year anniversary of our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, one of the most disgraceful episodes in contemporary American memory.
For obvious reasons, many of our leaders hope to forget August 2021, a month that will forever live in infamy for American veterans, service members, allies and our former Afghan partners. The uncommon valor and competence of America’s warriors, diplomats and intelligence professionals was — once again — on full display for the world to see. Regrettably, so too was the staggering ineptitude of civilian policymakers determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of an imperfect but acceptable status quo. The violent and chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was a strategic failure that betrayed our values and weakened our global standing while simultaneously emboldening adversaries like Russia, China and the very same violent extremists that murdered thousands of Americans in September 2001.
August 26, 2022: Every American who volunteers to wear the uniform embraces a creed to leave no one behind. And yet, that’s exactly what we did to hundreds of American citizens and residents in addition to tens of thousands of Afghans who fought bravely at our side for so many years. There is no worse nightmare for American servicemembers and families than to know the very government they serve was so quick to abandon its lofty rhetoric and squander their sacrifice. Many Americans still spend day and night hoping to find a way to bring their family members or Afghan comrades in arms to safety.
The veteran community has been particularly impacted by our chaotic and disgraceful withdrawal. As veterans grapple with the moral injury inflicted by White House decision-making, the fight goes on to bring our fellow citizens and Afghan partners to safety. Most congressional offices, mine included, became crisis management and recovery centers overnight, and are still working to bring Americans and allies home. Sadly, a year later as we sift through scores of unanswered pleas for help while fellow servicemembers struggle with the outcome of 20 years of war, the administration offers sympathetic words but few answers and no solutions.
Compounding the hurt is the knowledge that muddled political decision-making ignored the best military advice of our senior uniformed leaders and the clear, bipartisan consensus of Congress. There is no doubt that the premature and ill-planned withdrawal from Afghanistan shocked the world and diminished America’s standing in the eyes of our allies and enemies alike. In places like Ukraine, Taiwan, the Baltics, the Korean peninsula and Israel, our friends, and adversaries take careful note of what we do, not what we say in tweets and press releases. They all watch how we lead or choose not to, how we end our wars, and whether we will keep our promises. Unfortunately, for Afghanistan’s women, girls and former security forces, the verdict is in.
Where do we go from here?
I believe the best way to honor the memory and sacrifice of our service members is to learn the bitter lessons of Afghanistan and resolve to never repeat such a reckless, self-inflicted defeat. Importantly, as a country and a Congress, we must commit to demanding answers and accountability on why things went so wrong after so much went right. Our next conflict will not be against insurgents in the mountains of the Hindu Kush or the poppy fields of Afghanistan, but with a nation-state equipped with sophisticated weapons, one who has studied the American way of war — and the American political system — for many years. The stakes could not be higher, and time is not on our side. Most of all we must remember — remember those who served, remember those who died, remember those we left behind, and remember how it feels for a proud nation to squander the sacrifice of so many in exchange for a date on the calendar and a campaign line.
We have only begun to reckon with the far-reaching consequences of our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan and the damage it has done to the nation and to the value of the American handshake. As we work to heal our wounds and learn the lessons of the Afghanistan tragedy, we must do more to wrap our arms around our military, diplomatic and intelligence services. As President Abraham Lincoln said amid unprecedented sacrifice and division caused by the American Civil War, it’s time “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” We will all be reminded why we need them soon enough.
About Rep. Don Bacon: • Rep. Don Bacon represents the Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District. He is member of the House Armed Services Committee, co-chair of the For Country Caucus and retired as a brigadier general in the United States Air Force after serving nearly 30 years.
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