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Biden Administration Suffers From Historical Amnesia in Incompetent Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Brett Davis

Posted on August 15, 2021 22:49

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The Taliban takeover is a redux of the fall of Saigon.

Joe Biden was a senator in 1975 when Congress decided — over the fervent objections of President Gerald Ford — to abandon South Vietnam to its vicious enemies, inevitably resulting in the fall of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, to the North Vietnamese Army, on April 30 of that year. So, it is perversely fitting that Biden, now president of the United States, presides over a similar situation in what is now the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan thanks to the Taliban takeover.

Images of helicopters airlifting U.S. embassy personnel out of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, are uncomfortable reminders of the chaotic American exit from Vietnam 46 years ago, heralding then as now, a worsening regional bloodbath with obvious consequences for American security — and credibility.

To be sure, when it comes to Afghanistan — home to the Taliban government that sheltered and supported the al-Qaeda terrorists that attacked America in Sept. 11, 2001 — there have been a series of missteps and outright bad decisions across multiple administrations over the last two decades. The biggest blunder was the American objective morphing from denying Afghanistan as a staging ground for terrorists (and going after al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden) into democratizing the country by attempting to graft Western ideals onto a tribalist Islamic nation with little infrastructure.

American policymakers let the latter goal — a fool’s errand — dictate choices there, eventually resulting in the decision to completely abandon Afghanistan, thereby ensuring the original primary goal was not ultimately achieved. The current hasty retreat from “the graveyard of empires” is all the more galling when one considers the small number of U.S. forces — just 2,500 troops — that were, if not turning Afghanistan into a full-fledged democracy, at least keeping the Taliban at bay, maintaining an important American presence in the region and giving the people there a fighting chance at a better life.

The breathtakingly incompetent manner in which America is bugging out of Afghanistan adds insult to injury in the form of friends and allies left to be slaughtered by the unforgiving Taliban, not to mention whole military bases turned over to fanatically religious enemies of America, including equipment, vehicles and weapons.

Perhaps this should not be a surprising turn of events, given former Defense Secretary Robert Gates described Biden as having “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”

Living down to that assessment, it was last month when Biden, prompted by a question hinting at the fall of Saigon, confidently pronounced, “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”

America’s decision to leave Vietnam saw the death rate in Southeast Asia (especially in Cambodia) intensify once U.S. troops went home. If past is prologue, it seems the Afghanistan experience is about to again show the tragically high cost to our allies — and the world — of American surrender.

Justin Crain
Brett Davis

Posted on August 15, 2021 22:49

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