Nearly two decades after American men and women leapt to their deaths from the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks, Afghans who assisted the U.S. effort to fight the very forces who orchestrated 9/11 plummeted to their deaths as they clung onto the sides of overcrowded U.S. cargo planes scrambling out of Kabul. The juxtaposition of these images is now seared into the psyche of all Americans, particularly the generations that came of age following the 9/11 attacks and the Global War on Terror.
President Biden’s cynical and dishonest framing of the haphazard retreat from Afghanistan was sold to the American public as a strategic, beneficial move in our national interest—an end to an “endless war.” Instead, it signifies disaster on the international stage, one that could have been avoided, and it demands strong condemnation from all Americans who value our national ethos of liberty and our Afghan allies abroad – all in the name of a symbolic message “victory.”
President Biden claimed we went to war in Afghanistan to, “Make sure Al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again. We did that.”
A 2019 Council on Foreign Relations report noted, “Recent reporting would suggest that these connections [between the Taliban and al-Qa’ida] are actually stronger than at any time in the past 18 years.” The U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report in early 2021 that al-Qa’ida was, “As of 2020…gaining strength in Afghanistan while continuing to operate with the Taliban under the Taliban’s protection.” A July 2021 UN report noted that al-Qa’ida was present in at least 15 of Afghanistan’s provinces. The Taliban did nothing to restrain or control their terrorist allies. In fact, the very reason U.S. and allied Afghan forces routed the Taliban in October 2001 came as a result of the Taliban’s multiple refusals to turn over Osama bin Laden or dislodge al-Qa’ida. Representative Mike Waltz, a Green Beret who bravely served in Afghanistan noted, “We are going to see an al-Qa’ida 3.0.”
Al-Qa’ida is but one of the major issues America will have to deal with in the wake of Biden’s disastrously handled pullout. Ignoring the unmitigated unfolding debacle, President Biden used some rhetorical sleight of hand to argue that further involvement in Afghanistan distracted from focusing on, “Our true strategic competitors — China and Russia.” Biden crafted a nonresistant binary: Withdraw or continue to throw billions of dollars into Afghanistan—money that Beijing and Moscow want us to waste. Yet we have witnessed State-run Chinese media take full advantage of Biden’s failures to once again expand the influence of the CCP against the United States. We have also lost billions of dollars of military equipment to our enemies.
As the U.S. begins to grasp the coming economic, political, and potentially military collision with Red China, the U.S.’s weakness and shaky approach was viewed in the Chinese Communist Party as a glorious opportunity for the rapacious totalitarians in Beijing. Ever keen to coldly take advantage of any distractions to achieve their goals, during the height of the COVID19 crisis, the Chinese Communist Party saw the pandemic as an opportunity to smash any dissent in Hong Kong. As Biden’s confused Afghanistan pullout hobbled forward, one Chinese Communist controlled outlet’s editor stated, “After the fall of the Kabul regime, the Taiwan authorities must be trembling,” The Communist Chinese foreign ministry later issued a statement that they were, “Ready for friendly relations” with the Taliban, essentially granting the group more of their desired international legitimacy.
Biden lied again.
As the crisis continued to unfold, Biden told Americans, “We’ll continue to speak out for the basic rights of the Afghan people, of women and girls.” He carried on, reinforcing that “human rights must be the center of our foreign policy.” Nancy Pelosi tweeted that she was “concerned” about the Taliban’s brutality, “Especially the women and girls.” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said of the administration that they, “Are heartbroken by the human consequences” and “believe passionately in human rights.” These calls could not have been more cynically produced. Richard Holbrooke recounted Biden’s attitude on the issue when he met him in 2010, writing that Biden said we weren’t in Afghanistan for “Women’s rights,” before culminating his diatribe with, “F-ck that. We don’t have to worry about that.”
Once again, Biden lied.
Withdrawal from Afghanistan is needed. This sentiment has been bipartisan for many years and many election cycles.
The notion that the U.S. is a “paper tiger” is one that should be well-remembered by all U.S. policy makers. In fact, it was this belief that pushed Osama bin Laden to launch the 9/11 attacks in the first place, when he saw how the 1983 Iranian-backed suicide bombing of U.S. Marine Peacekeepers gave him the impression the U.S. would turn tail at the first sign of opposition.
The claim President Biden made that he did not wish to pass the Afghan issue to another president—his way of claiming he’s ending the “Endless War”—Is another sleight of hand. If history has taught us one thing, hastily executed withdrawals have consistently resulted in American forces being forced to return. President Obama’s poorly thought-out 2011 pullout from Iraq saw the 2014 rise and advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s rise to power in those areas too. The U.S. was forced to return to the zone it had abandoned.
Biden’s most senior appointees at the Pentagon and a previously sycophantic media have not been able to avoid publicly lambasting the administration’s self-inflicted catastrophe. A catastrophe that has now resulted in thousands of US hostages stuck behind enemy lines. Ignoring the Biden administration charged forward with a summer pullout. Summer is the time when fighting is most vicious in Afghanistan. When this timetable was questioned, Biden blamed his predecessor. When asked by journalists about a series of reports coming from the intelligence community, claiming the Afghan government would collapse as a result of the disorganized pullout, President Biden responded with, “That’s not true.”
Biden took a break from his vacation amidst the chaos in Kabul to tell America that “The buck stops with me,” just after he pulled anyone else within reach into blame. As Press Secretary Jen Psaki was nowhere to be found, America was reminded of the Secretary of State’s comments of “We are not withdrawing, we are staying” and “I don’t think [a deterioration of security] is something that’s going to happen from a Friday to a Monday.” No. It occurred even faster. Press Secretary Jen Psaki elected to spend time releasing bizarre videos with TikTok content creators, and then went on vacation the minute the President authorized thousands of more American boots on the ground for the evacuation. Leaving thousands of Americans stranded behind enemy lines.
These are the policies, statements, delusions, and the actions of dilettantes. Concerned less with making the right and tough strategic decisions for the United States, than satisfying their own egos, quashing domestic opposition, and not answering the call to push the best policies for the United States.
Our generation were the ones in those classrooms who witnessed the Twin Towers fall and the attack on the Pentagon. In the two decades that followed, many young Americans across the country turned pain and loss into action, serving in uniform in Afghanistan, as aid workers, or deployed on diplomatic missions. In many ways, this conflict, and the failures of leadership from both parties that have sustained it, have culminated in the creation of a new “lost generation.” This administration’s atrocious execution of withdrawal, paired with the horrific images of human suffering those decisions created, serve as a reminder to us all that elections have consequences.
Therefore we, the National Capital Region Young Republican leadership, stand with our brave Afghan allies. We welcome those who worked alongside our troops to establish a stable, democratic nation. We hope they will one day be able to return to a peaceful Afghanistan where they need not fear for their lives. We mourn the human suffering we have witnessed. We pray for those now subject to oppression and terror at the hands of the Taliban, particularly the women and girls suffering under a regime who will not recognize their basic human dignity and agency, and our own citizens stranded in hostile territory. We call on all Americans to hold those in office accountable for their failures. We will not forget what you have done, what you have said, and the burden to fix your mistakes that has once again been thrust on our generation.
DCYR National Committeeman
DCYR National Committeewoman
MDYR National Committeeman
MDYR National Committeewoman
Jessi Rapelje Blakely
YRFV 1st Vice-Chairman
YRFV 2nd Vice Chairman
YRFV National Committeeman
YRFV National Committeewoman
YRNF Assistant Treasurer