For decades, Joe Biden has touted himself as a foreign policy genius. As a United States senator, he never had to make a decision or bear responsibility for running off at the mouth. As vice-president, he was given backwaters such as Ukraine that he reportedly turned into a family piggy bank.
But now he is president. He owns the utter disaster that Afghanistan has become; and the sudden about-face of the Pentagon to send 3,000 fully-armed combat troops back into the fray shows that even the woke military bosses Biden installed can wake up and smell the coffee.
Would Donald Trump have done this differently?
Remember that Trump fired Ambassador John Bolton as national security advisor when Bolton openly rebelled against Trump’s decision to negotiate a peace agreement with the Taliban.
Trump’s deal set a firm withdrawal date for U.S. combat troops — May 1, 2021.
But that’s where the similarities with Biden end. As Trump recounted three weeks ago at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Phoenix, he bombed the Taliban to the negotiating table.
After warning Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada that he would “come back and hit you harder than any country has ever been hit” if he welched on the deal, Trump made good on his threat and launched punishing airstrikes the first time the Taliban violated the agreement.
Since then, not a single U.S. soldier has died in combat in Afghanistan.
Trump also maintained U.S. fighter jets and armed drones at Bagram airbase and used them to keep the Taliban in check. Biden ordered the midnight evacuation of the airbase on July 5 without even notifying the Afghan military. Not surprisingly, within hours the Taliban had looted the base and today our remaining troops have no U.S. air cover.
The Pentagon is desperate to avoid a rout that is broadcast live on prime time. They want no helicopters taking off from the roof of the U.S. embassy with desperate Afghans clinging to the skids, as happened in Saigon in 1975. They want no Blackhawk downs, or civilian contractors hung from bridges, all of which could have happened if they had allowed Biden’s retreat to continue as planned.
“All those lives lost, and we didn’t resolve anything,” said Bill Craun, a former private military contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq who has authored a new book, Working the Kill Zone. “Now the Taliban is going to kill everyone who had anything to do with us.”
The Pentagon estimated on Friday that the Taliban will sweep into Kabul in thirty days. I would treat that prediction like last night’s beer. My bet is, the Taliban will arrive the day after U.S. troops complete the evacuation from the capital. And then the real killing will begin.
Biden owns this, personally. And every Gold Star family should remind him of that fact.
Kenneth R. Timmerman is the best-selling author of “ISIS Begins: A Novel of the Iraq War.” He lectured on Iran at the Pentagon’s Joint Counter-Intelligence Training Academy from 2010-2016.
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