The true fiber of this nation has been on brilliant display in recent weeks. While the president and his foreign policy and military advisors have disgraced the nation with their incompetence and worse, America’s military veterans have redeemed the nation’s honor with ingenuity and dedication in what has been called the Digital Dunkirk.
Veterans have used social media, off-the-shelf encryption technology and broadly available satellite imagery to locate people trapped in Afghanistan and to guide them with encrypted messages into Kabul airport for evacuation and to escape via other routes.
These vets have shown that, when government fails, the American people themselves will lead and self-govern in the most fundamental manner. Connecticut can be proud to count one of its own, U.S. Army veteran Alex Plitsas, as a member of the digital army.
Yet, there remain over three years of the feckless Biden administration. No matter one’s position on Afghanistan – stay or leave, the U.S. withdrawal has been a national disgrace. Polls show overwhelming public disapproval of Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. The Ipsos poll shows 59% disapproval; Morning Consult – Politico shows 61% disapproval.
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Biden and his military advisors ordered the final U.S. troops to fly out of Afghanistan with “more than 100 Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan allies left behind,” as reported on the front page of The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
The proper sequence of evacuation is self-evident: first, all civilians and dependents and, next, local allies. Only upon completion of that mission, should the armed forces leave in a controlled retreat. The sacred oath of U.S. armed forces is “Leave no one behind.”
Biden, who has maintained the conceit that he would repair broken relationships with America’s allies and restore U.S. global leadership, has heard members of British Parliament cry “shame” at the mention of his name.
The citizens of Connecticut have a right to know where the state’s Congressional delegation stands on the withdrawal from Afghanistan. What say you, Senators Blumenthal and Murphy and Representatives Courtney, DeLauro, Hayes, Himes and Larson?
Tragically for the nation, the Afghan withdrawal is not the only abject failure of the Biden administration. More than two million illegal immigrants are projected to cross our southern border this year and receive de facto residency – the greatest number in 21 years.
There is a meme circulating on the internet offering counsel to Afghans who aided the American effort but never received a Special Immigration Visa (SIV) and who, now, have been left behind. The advice: all you need to do is get to our southern border and you won’t need a SIV.
Despite little media coverage of the disaster at the border, Americans know enough to disapprove of Biden’s handling of the situation, registering 56% disapproval in the Ipsos poll.
In the spotlight – including in his speech Tuesday afternoon, the president has attempted to mislead the American people, calling Afghanistan a “forever war” with “thousands of American casualties” and “trillions wasted.”
Afghanistan hasn’t fit that description for half a decade. Over the last five years, the U.S. had taken less than 70 casualties (before last week’s loss of 13 U.S. soldiers); our troop commitment has been less than 10,000.
Indeed, as of February of this year, there were only 2,500 U.S. troops out of the 9,500 NATO troops in Afghanistan.
For America, years ago, Afghanistan ceased to be a war, and, more accurately, became a long-term commitment. Reasonable people can disagree whether that commitment should have been maintained, modified, or ended.
Long ago, the hot war shifted to the shoulders of the Afghan Army, which sustained more than 60,000 casualties, more than the U.S. sustained in Vietnam. Instead of acknowledging that sacrifice, Biden maligned Afghan soldiers as not being willing to fight for their country.
British MP, Thomas Tugendhat, who served in Afghanistan with distinction, reacted to Biden’s calumny, saying “those who have never fought under the colors they fly [Biden] should be careful about criticizing those who have.”
Many Americans may not care about Afghanistan, but they should care that the Biden administration has dishonored the nation and acted with rank incompetence.
They should demand accountability. They should demand the resignation of manifestly incompetent cabinet members and military leaders. The president should admit his appalling failure and take real responsibility for the disaster, instead of offering his lame “the buck stops here” mantra, when he has done everything to dodge that buck.
At the same time, Americans should take great pride in the marvelous Digital Dunkirk which has salvaged our national honor.
It will be the strength and character of the American people that will see the nation through what looks to be three more years of feckless leadership.
Red Jahncke is a nationally recognized columnist, who writes about politics and policy. His columns appear in numerous national publications, such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, USA Today, The Hill, Issues & Insights and National Review as well as many Connecticut newspapers.