Joe Biden reportedly feared a “Black Hawk Down” moment so badly that he overrode pretty much all the military and intelligence advice he was given and decided to bug out of Afghanistan regardless of conditions on the ground there. He set an arbitrary withdrawal date and closed up Bagram Air Base, turning off intelligence support and aircraft maintenance for the Afghan military. The Afghan military collapsed very quickly after that.
Afghanistan swiftly fell to the Taliban and now thousands of Americans and allies are stranded there facing an arbitrary August 31 evacuation deadline that Biden has set.
The Taliban have now captured an additional benefit from capturing Afghanistan: at least one actual Black Hawk helicopter.
A video has emerged that appears to show Taliban fighters taking a Black Hawk helicopter on a joyride at an Afghan airport — the latest example of how the insurgents are flaunting their newly acquired military gear and rubbing it in America’s face.
The former Afghan air force UH-60 Black Hawk is seen taxiing at an airport in Afghanistan, according to the Independent. However, it does not appear to leave the ground in the footage.
They may not have any qualified pilots. Russia and/or China will be sure to change that in short order.
— Joseph Dempsey (@JosephHDempsey) August 25, 2021
A photo in that story also shows Taliban fighters wearing U.S.-supplied uniforms and helmets and carrying what appear to be M-4 rifles.
“Black Hawk Down,” of course, refers to the 1993 battle in Mogadishu, Somalia, during which a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter was shot down and several U.S. troops were killed. Their bodies were dragged through the streets of that city, and video of all of that went worldwide nearly in real-time. Author Mark Bowden wrote a book about the incident, called Black Hawk Down, which was turned into a movie. Ridley Scott directed the 2001 hit film, which starred Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Sizemore.
American intel didn’t know it in 1993 and wouldn’t for about four years, but Al Qaeda terrorists were involved in that incident, after which President Bill Clinton ordered a hasty retreat from the chaotic country. What had started out as a humanitarian mission swiftly turned into a deadly mess for the United States. The Battle of Mogadishu’s aftermath emboldened Obama bin Laden, who orchestrated the 9-11 attacks from his base in Afghanistan. When he issued his 1996 fatwa against the United States, bin Laden specifically cited Mogadishu.
“You left [Somalia] carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you,” bin Laden taunted America. Five years later, he staged the deadliest attacks on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.
One massive irony of the Battle of Mogadishu is that the U.S. forces actually handily won that battle, at least if you go by the casualties inflicted on the enemy.
But the images of American dead being dragged through the streets caused revulsion among the American people and Clinton reacted by withdrawing. The military victory on the ground became a decisive propaganda defeat and the phrase “Black Hawk Down” entered the lexicon. We’ve gotten all the lessons of Mogadishu wrong, Bowden argues. Joe Biden certainly has. He has used that propaganda defeat to argue for and enact terrible operational decisions. The result is an ever greater defeat, the full consequences of which will not be known for years.
Afghanistan was quiescent by its standards before Biden’s hasty withdrawal. He pulled about 2,500 American troops out, only to deploy up to 7,000 back in as the country fell, just to secure the Kabul airport. He greenlit the disastrous plan to abandon Bagram Air Base. Some of those troops Biden ordered into Afghanistan to secure the airport, 12 at least report, have now paid the ultimate price along with dozens of Afghans. ISIS-K is reportedly behind the attacks in Kabul.
Related: Has Biden Built ISIS Back Better?
Afghanistan is now in the hands of a bitter foe of the United States, it’s under terrorist attack as I write this, and American Marines have been killed there. Biden has given them billions of dollars in American weapons and gear and an air force. The Taliban are gaining both propaganda and operational victories over the United States.
Black Hawk Down and the desire to end so-called “endless war” have just about guaranteed that the war against terrorism will truly be endless — if Joe Biden even bothers to defend America anymore.