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Biden’s Endless Withdrawal from Afghanistan

AP Photo/Mohammad Asif Khan

President Biden’s backward and inept “withdrawal” from Afghanistan ensures that America will never truly withdraw because our military will be forced to remain in Afghanistan continuously to extricate American citizens and Afghan allies, to eradicate new and more heavily armed legions of terrorists, and to retaliate for acts of terror at home and abroad. Biden’s sleight of hand is that he has substituted an endless withdrawal for an endless war.

The decision to withdraw American troops precipitously left behind Americans, Afghan supporters of the American cause, massive stores of munitions, arms, combat aircraft, helicopters, and biometric data. Biden also left behind six military bases hardened and equipped with the most sophisticated infrastructure and telecommunications in the world: Bagram Air Base (the crown jewel); Shindand Air Base; Kandahar International Airport; Camp Dwyer Marine Base; Camp Leatherneck Marine Base; and FOB Delaram Marine Corps Base. Biden effectively turned America’s twenty-year investment in Afghanistan into a gift to our terrorist enemy. He effectively advanced the Taliban from a fifteenth-century military power to a twenty-first-century one.

Biden did not destroy the military hardware and bases and thereby avoid having them fall into Taliban hands. He chose to turn them over to the Taliban in mint condition. In that despicable and horrific dereliction, he betrayed the entire American cause and insulted every soldier who donned an American uniform to fight for our country and every family of a soldier who died in Afghanistan. Americans near-universally condemn Biden’s actions (with only 25% of Americans supporting them). Despite his denials, the rest of the world condemns them too.

Biden’s withdrawal is the most disastrous military exodus ever ordered by a sitting President. His decision to abandon to the Taliban everything Americans fought and died for has enormous and enduring geopolitical ramifications that increase the stock of America’s worst enemies (radical Islamists in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and throughout the Middle East; Xi Jing Ping’s regime in China; and Putin’s in Russia) and decrease the stock of America and every American ally. In one fell swoop, Biden has succeeded in wiping out whatever gains America made in the region over the past twenty years and simultaneously emboldening and enriching America’s foes to become more aggressive global terrorists.

Biden has given the Haqqani network, the Taliban, ISIS, ISKP, the resurgent Al-Qaeda, and other regional terrorist groups weapons sufficient to commit (and indeed expand) acts of terror not just in the region but around the world—not just in the immediate future, but for generations to come. Filling the American void created by our diplomatic and military collapse, the Iranians, Chinese, and Russians are all at work expanding alliances with the victorious Taliban to encourage their actions against the United States. Our enemies are providing Taliban-controlled Afghanistan financial and military support to assume the role of the world’s newest state sponsor of terror, to finance incessant global terrorist indoctrination and training against the West, and to firmly establish global terrorist operations from well-protected, fortified bases of operation that were previously American military assets.

The decision of the president to immediately withdraw American troops, abandon every American base and the American embassy and evacuate essential diplomatic personnel (but not the thousands of Americans and Afghans supportive of the American cause), predictably means that Americans in Afghanistan will continue to be assaulted, murdered, and likely taken hostage. Afghans who supported the American cause will be publicly humiliated and then executed. Every ally in the region must devise ways to cope with the resurgent terrorist threat, potentially fueling a regional arms race.

The unforgiveable decision of the president to abandon billions in useable military hardware means that the Taliban now have a more far-reaching, sophisticated, and devastating means to attack Americans at home and abroad. It is a sickening irony that Biden’s wholesale forfeiture of American military assets to the Taliban quite possibly means that Taliban terrorists will attack Americans with our own weapons. And for every such attack, Americans should rightly view Biden as responsible.

Biden’s decision not to take immediate and meaningful action to lessen the catastrophe he created means that the cost of ultimate and necessary redress will be high for our nation for many years to come (and for Biden’s successors in office, who will have to clean up his mess). He could have regained control of the bases he foolishly abandoned through a prompt strategic reversal, using them as staging areas to dispatch American special forces throughout the country to extricate Americans and Afghans loyal to America, and using them to stage attacks on the Taliban blocking access to Kabul International Airport. They could have been used to create other safe havens for transport out of Afghanistan and to destroy weapons stores turned over to the Taliban. Biden could have done those things but, true to form and paralyzed by his own ineptitude and indecision, he did not.

For any who harbored doubt about President Biden’s competence, such doubts should be put to rest. We may all say with certitude that Biden lacks any definable leadership skills, let alone the strategic acumen necessary to pull America out of the Afghanistan quagmire he has put us in.

President Biden’s ineptitude has ensured that the American withdrawal from Afghanistan will not end anytime soon. To rescue Americans, to kill terrorists in this new terrorist haven, and to counteract the strategic advantage achieved by the Taliban, the United States will not be able to end its involvement in Afghanistan but will have to increase that involvement for years to come. Into the indefinite future, we will be engaged in military operations in Afghanistan at a cost of American lives and at a level of expense far greater than would otherwise have been the case had Biden withdrawn piecemeal, wisely, and without abandoning our citizens, our allies, our weapons, and our vital national interests.

President Biden is directly responsible for the multifaceted and dire consequences of this, his signature grand fiasco. He is responsible for every innocent life lost to the Taliban due to his precipitous withdrawal. He is responsible for the terrorist resurgence now underway and for destabilizing the Middle East in favor of our enemies. He is responsible for a grossly undeserved humiliation of our country and our military, inviting our opponents to perceive weakness and to seize the day.

In short, Biden is guilty of the most consequential presidential dereliction of duty in American history. Far worse than the withdrawal from Vietnam, the ignominious withdrawal from and defeat in Afghanistan is an unending humiliation. It has emboldened and fortified a terrorist threat against our country, which on 9/11 we vowed to destroy. Unlike the departure from Vietnam, the departure from Afghanistan promises to extend our enemies’ reach throughout the world, including in the United States. If there is a national unity that ought to come out of this harrowing nightmare, more than any other, it ought to be the conviction that Joe Biden be a one-term president.