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The Fall of Afghanistan

Aug 23, 2021
Column

America sacrificed blood and treasure in Afghanistan for 20 years. Our servicemembers did everything they were asked over two decades and four presidential administrations. 2,448 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines gave their last full measure in Afghanistan, and thousands more forever bear the scars of war, both seen and unseen. As we watch the events unfold on the ground, we should keep in the forefront of our minds the Veterans and Gold Star families who are experiencing varying levels of sadness, pride, anger, and confusion. 
 
President Biden has been notably absent throughout this ongoing crisis, and in his absence his Administration exposed that they had no broad strategy, and no specific plans to properly execute our final withdrawal from America’s longest war. Just yesterday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin stated his department does not have the capacity to evacuate and secure American citizens currently in the country, going further to say they are senselessly binding their evacuation efforts to an arbitrary timeline prescribed by President Biden. The President painted a false picture to the American people during his remarks this week, the issue at hand was never between staying forever or executing an ill-advised, poorly planned withdrawal. Under President Trump there was a deliberate urgency to end the war in Afghanistan, but his strategy for withdrawal was conditions based, and accounted for the need to expeditiously evacuate American citizens, Afghan partners, and military equipment, less they fall into the hands of this ruthless foe. 
 
The videos of Afghans falling to their deaths after clinging to U.S. military planes, or images of the Taliban tormenting people in the streets should upset every American. No one wanted to continue the war in Afghanistan forever, but the chaos that ensued when the President had no exit strategy is a black mark on our decade’s long investment in the country. President Biden botched this operation and is lying to the American people about having contingency plans for every situation, publicly disputing a history of reports from the Intelligence Community that this exact outcome was not just possible, but likely. He blamed the Afghan military and population for not wanting to fight for their country, but Afghan National Security Forces sustained extraordinary casualties taking the fight to the Taliban and Al Qaeda in defense of their nation. This was preventable, but Biden and his cabinet ignored the realities on the ground. 
 
In one disastrous foreign policy decision, Biden put Americans at risk, threatened the safety of our allies, destroyed our Nation’s credibility, and emboldened our near-peer adversaries. President Biden owes answers to Congress, Veterans, Gold Star Families, and our international allies. I am committed to holding him accountable. 
 
If you or a veteran you know is in need of assistance, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255. You can also visit veteranscrisisline.net for available resources and information.

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