A war that started with the ghastly visual of Americans jumping to their deaths from burning buildings has ended with disturbing footage of Afghans falling from the side of US aircraft.
And beginning and concluding with the Taliban running Afghanistan.
American prestige plummeted to the earth before the bodies of those two poor souls who finally lost their futile grip on the plane’s fuselage hit the tarmac at the Kabul airport.
What happened was indefensible and regrettably consequential, as the perceived routing of American military power by rabble on pickup trucks doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
Every belligerent entity, from Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran to terror camps in wildernesses strung out across the globe, took notice and measure with great joy.
That the Taliban didn’t actually beat American forces in a battle is irrelevant and will be filed in the same memory hole as the reality that the Tet Offensive was a military catastrophe for the Communists in Vietnam.
The American involvement in Vietnam is forever associated with the embassy roof departure by diplomatic staff in Saigon and the shoving of helicopters into the sea from the decks of US warships.
Images matter. Just as the footage of US Marines raising the 48 star flag over Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima came to symbolize America’s triumph in the Pacific Theater of World War II, our 20-year engagement in Afghanistan will be remembered for the the Kabul Airport scenes and maybe even worse acts yet to play out.
Conversely our national allies have surely lost confidence in our commitments to mutual defense.
Resistance communities in Belarus and Hong Kong must have taken pause and questioned our willingness to truly support their struggle for liberty and human dignity.
How many of our friends are transfixed on those two Afghans slipping off the side of the plane, wondering if that’ll be them when a fickle Washington administration suddenly loses interest in their people and cause.
The rapid fall of Kabul and the inept flight of the representatives of the US government was a funeral pyre for freedom advocates and confidence-consuming bonfire that illuminated the state of America’s current leadership to villains.
In Saigon we evacuated an embassy; in Kabul we abandoned our credibility.
This is far more severe than Trump griping on social media about dues-slacking NATO members; it was an unmistakable declaration of institutional weakness.
Even a goldfish could smell the blood in the water.
And that’s dangerous, inviting future confrontation and provocation.
To blithely dismiss the panicked departure from Afghanistan as inevitable as President Biden did is to say that the abandonment of Americans and Afghan allies was willful as if part of an actual plan.
And that is not to mention aiding the enemy through casting away top-grade US military equipment, valued at hundreds of millions of dollars that are now in the hands of not just a hostile regime but one that collaborates with international terrorists.
The immense weapons arsenal and vehicles “gifted” to the Taliban’s hands by the Biden Kabul collapse makes Obama’s “Fast and Furious” debacle insignificant by comparison.
Whether through their fighters, allied terror networks, or the black market it’s very likely Americans, our servicemen and perhaps civilians, will see these weapons again but from the muzzle end.
And of all the intact armaments now in possession of the Taliban you have to wonder if any portable surface to air weapons were left behind.
While the Taliban didn’t have an air force (they do now courtesy of the Biden Administration) there may be components that could be reengineered into that use.
There needs to be an accounting of what weaponry was lost.
To attempt to blame a previous administration eight months removed is pathetic. The Biden Administration had gleefully reversed course on countless Trump era policies and directives in quick order.
There’s a difference between supporting a concept (eventual withdrawal from Afghanistan) and devising a specific strategy for a methodical removal of personnel and assets.
I can assure you whatever withdrawal plan a re-elected President Trump had developed, it did not include leaving intact armor and helicopters behind with red bows fastened on them.
The world is in no way safer because of what transpired this past week in Afghanistan. Nobody of right mind could claim otherwise.
It’s now a question of when an emboldened and equipped terror group or hostile power tests our resolve and maybe with our own weapons.
Regardless of who is sitting in the Oval Office at the time it goes down, that act of war will be on Biden and his confederacy of dunces who engineered the fiasco.