Biden’s Black Hawk Down

A U.S. Chinook helicopter flies near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

July 8, 2021, East Room, Remarks by President Biden on the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan:

Q Is a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan now inevitable?

THE PRESIDENT: No, it is not.

Q Why?

THE PRESIDENT: Because you — the Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped — as well-equipped as any army in the world — and an air force against something like 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable.

Q Mr. President, some Vietnamese veterans see echoes of their experience in this withdrawal in Afghanistan. Do you see any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam, with some people feeling —

THE PRESIDENT: None whatsoever. Zero. There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable. … the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.

I live “out in the sticks” as sophisticated power brokers in Washington DC would call my suburb outside Portland, Oregon. I haven’t been to Afghanistan as a citizen, soldier or policy wonk. I haven’t sat in on any high-level foreign policy strategy meetings in the White House or debated military policy in a conference room at a D.C think tank. I haven’t been asked by President Biden or any of his hangers-on what we should do in Afghanistan.

But even I knew the battle-ready 300,000 man Afghan military force was a fiction and that it wouldn’t be long before American helicopters were rescuing desperate people from rooftops in Kabul in a debacle for the ages. Like everything else about the war in Afghanistan, it was all a lie.

Saving the saviors: don’t abandon our Afghan partners

Thousands of desperate people in Afghanistan who want to emigrate to the United States legally face government restrictions and bureaucratic delays that put them at risk.

interpreterafghan2

An Afghan interpreter assists U.S. troops

 

 

On Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee approved 60-2 the 2017 Defense spending bill that would abandon thousands of these people who risked their lives, and the lives of their families, to help U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

The U.S. State Department can now approve just 4000 visas for at least 10,000 of these brave men and women who are waiting for America to reach out its hand to them.

Not only does the Defense spending bill now being considered not relax that limit, but it would add restrictions.

The only Afghans who could apply to the program would include interpreters who served with the U.S. military and went “traveling off-base with such personnel or performing sensitive and trust activities for United States military personnel stationed in Afghanistan.”

That language would leave out Afghans who do maintenance or security on U.S. bases as well as those who work at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

“These are people who have put their lives on the line not just for their country, but for ours,” Representative Seth Moulton, (D-Mass) a former Marine Corps officer, said when he introduced an amendment to create additional visas. “The very least we can offer them is a chance to stay alive.”

Moulton’s amendment failed, but the bill has more hoops to go through before coming law.

Going forward, Congress should protect the Afghans who protected our troops.To do otherwise would be a stain on our country’s commitment to justice.