D-Day in Afghanistan – when all U.S. military personnel, allies promised safe passage to the land of the free, and American citizens were supposed to leave what is now known as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan – has come and gone. It is difficult to describe the human and reputational carnage left behind in a hasty, ill-conceived exit from the war-torn nation. Far from being over, this epic foreign policy, diplomatic, and military defeat leaves behind countless Americans, an arsenal of weapons, and the honor of the United States of America.
This is, as Victor Davis Hanson so aptly opined, “the most shameful retreat in U.S. history.”
The Human Cost
On Monday, Aug. 30, two White House officials told Reuters that “most U.S. diplomats had left the country.” By its count, the Biden administration claims to have evacuated 6,000 U.S. citizens and asserts only 350 Americans are left behind. As of August 30, the final day of the evacuation, the U.S. had reportedly helped airlift 122,000 people to safety, though just a small fraction are American citizens. For some perspective, the United Kingdom states it evacuated more than 15,000 people, Germany 5,347, and Italy 5,011.
The White House rhetoric here is telling, laced with such imprecise terms as most diplomats and about 350 people. Such ambiguity reflects two things – the Biden administration does not want to say the actual numbers or does not know them. So, are U.S. officials unwilling to be transparent or just in over their heads? Neither answer instills confidence.
Taliban Wins Powerball Lottery
Meanwhile, U.S. officials admit to abandoning a vast array of military-grade weapons. Current estimate: $70 billion to $90 billion worth of taxpayer-funded goodies. This gargantuan cache includes Humvee vehicles, a mountain of military communications equipment, late-model drones, night-vision goggles, not to mention 20,000 grenades and 1,400 rocket launchers. There’s no other way to put it: The Taliban has won a billion-dollar jackpot of arms.
This comes amid reports the Islamic jihadists are calling for the Afghan people to fork over their guns. Xinhua news quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid directing Afghans “to return all government assets including vehicles, arms, and ammunition or any other things.” This call to unarm the population comes as no surprise. On Aug. 19, an article in Liberty Nation predicted:
“History is replete with tales of oppression from those whose guns were confiscated. This was why the Cuban uprising was put down so quickly and quietly. No matter who said it, pragmatists recognize the truth in the statement: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens.’”
The Taliban has labeled the abandoned arsenal of U.S. military weapons a “massive blessing.” Neglecting to pack up this amount of military material or, at the very least, taking the time to destroy it, can easily present a situation that will come back to bite America.
American Honor Left Behind
Perhaps the most deleterious and persistent effect of this military debacle is the reputational damage done to the United States. Allies who participated in the failed 20-year democratization effort in Afghanistan may rightly conclude America is not a nation on which they can rely. Just five minutes of listening to the BBC confirms this; the British were never consulted about the exit strategy, were left to fend for themselves, and now feel betrayed. “Our allies,” wrote Hanson, “are concluding that the United States is not a bastion of sobriety and careful deliberation that takes its leadership of the free world seriously, but a mercurial, radical leftist country that in a second may self-immolate …” Ouch.
In such a short time, Joe Biden and his acolytes have managed to take two pearls of great price – our people and our honor – and throw them down an Afghan rat hole. Those on the left blather on about how the United States recovered from other American military disasters such as Vietnam and the Iran hostage crisis and will reclaim its reputation as a world superpower. But such humiliation on the world stage is hard to salvage. So, the nation loses thousands of American lives, fails miserably in the Afghanistan war effort writ large, and now must suffer the indignity of trying to extricate those left behind. Such as it is, this situation is far from over and exposes Biden as incompetent, immoral, or both.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.