President Joe Biden spoke proudly about the ‘unprecedented’ airlift that no other country in the world could have pulled off. We all should be proud of what our military accomplished in the face of the debacle of recent weeks. All those who have served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years have performed admirably and should be proud of their service.
But did our leaders really need to put them in that situation? With 2,500 U. S. troops in country, along with some from coalition forces, Afghanistan was relatively under control. There had not been an American casualty there for about 18 months, until we lost 13 in the bombing in Kabul last week.
We do not know all the ingredients that went into the recipe for this disastrous, rushed, pull out from Afghanistan. But we do know that it was very much a self inflicted wound. Decisions were made that led to dreadful consequences for our country and for many of our Afghan partners left behind. After a pretty calm period of time, why the precipitous retreat from the country? Why not take more time, care and military advice to create a much less chaotic withdrawal? We lost 13 American souls, and many, many more Afghans. Given the mayhem, it could have been much worse. In some ways we were lucky.
About a month ago I wrote a column about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. I wrote about how it seems many of our political leaders lack humility and honor. They are unable to admit making any mistakes. Cuomo only resigned when those in his political cabal refused to back him. On the way out he denied making any mistakes or any wrong doing. Some speculate that he will simply lay low for a year or two and they try to make a political comeback.
Now we have a similar situation at the highest levels of our federal government. No sex scandal, but it is apparent to any American paying even a little bit of attention, that mistakes were made in our abrupt escape from Afghanistan.
Will any of our leaders own up to those mistakes? Will any of our leaders be held to account? Doubtful. Now that we are out of the country, there are very few eyes and ears left there to show the world what is really going on. Without regular visual evidence on our screens of the ongoing violence and oppression of the Taliban, and other terrorist groups, our attention spans will likely turn to other things. At least until those embolden terrorist groups attack Americans again somewhere in the world, or worse, here at home.
Life goes on, but America has lost some credibility across the world. Many of our allies have made it clear they don’t feel they can rely on us as they have in the past. Our enemies have seen we don’t have the stomach for a prolonged fight, they can simply outlast us. Those countries who leaned toward us are now re-evaluating, and may decide to lean a different way in the future.
The last four presidents have wanted to get us out of Afghanistan. American public opinion wanted us out. But Americans did not want such a calamity, nor for us to leave such a mess behind that will lead to more trouble in the future.