I have heard from so many about the events in Afghanistan over the past three days. Republican, Democrat, young, old, veterans – lots of veterans, even a priest who was overwhelmed by the burdens of his parishioners. It is at their request, and on their behalf, that I write this.
I am heartbroken. I am heartbroken for the families who have loved ones still in Afghanistan, facing an ominous and uncertain future. I am heartbroken for those who lost loved ones there, including those we lost yesterday. I am heartbroken for the American people who have to helplessly watch as these horrible events unfold. But I am also angry.
What we see as we watch our televisions did not need to happen – and you don’t need a band of generals or to be President to know that. All you need is a little common sense.
All that has happened is directly related to questionable decisions by the President. We did not have to leave Afghanistan so suddenly. We did not have to abandon a well-supported airport and go to a less safe venue. We did not have to remove our military support before all our American citizens and our civilian allies were safe. We did not have to leave without coordinating with our NATO allies. We did not have to abandon our embassy and leave materials and information that put others in danger – even hand them over to the enemy. We did not have to suddenly abandon the Afghani army, leaving them without air support. We did not have to strand American citizens, and those who had been a part of our mission, with no way to get to the only airport we left open for them to get out of the country. We did not have to leave at the time the President chose nor acquiesce to our enemy’s enforcement of it. None of this was inevitable. The challenges were self-imposed. Every hard choice we have had to make these past few days was directly related to a lack of courageous and effective leadership.
And, when it appeared that the chosen airfield was inadequate for the numbers we needed to remove, that the Taliban were occupying Afghanistan before the deadline, that they were interfering with our citizens getting to the airfield and not aiding in their departure, that our citizens and others who were approved to come to the US were being beaten and attacked, a man of integrity would have said, “We underestimated, we made a mistake, we are taking steps to change our strategy and tactics.” Instead, our President seems intent on leaving American citizens behind.
Why the President has made these decisions, I cannot say. I do know that they have had terrible consequences.
Joe Biden now has the blood of our soldiers and innocent Afghan civilians on his hands. He has cost us in ways that will only fully become evident years from now. He has adversely affected our power relationship with China and Russia and handed over access to rare minerals. It is uncertain what consequences there will be for Israel. He has alienated allies. That the leaders of England and Germany waited into a second day for him to return their desperate calls is inexcusable. He was condemned by the British Parliament. Our morale is deeply affected and our confidence in our leaders is shattered.
The veterans who called me nearly universally feel shame at what is happening right before our eyes. They know that the good men and women of our military are opposed to leaving our citizens behind, that they are willing to go outside the airport to provide safe passage. They scoffed at the President’s concern for the safety of the military over that of the civilians. Soldiers know that there are dangers in service – they undertook it willingly.
Finally, what I heard most often from the veterans who called me was their fear that this is only the beginning. They know more about these matters than I do – I am now fearful as well.
Delaware State Republican Party