Larry Jacob
Larry Jacob

U. S. President Biden Ignored the Principle of “No Man Left Behind”

Anyone who has served in combat knows the mantra. Heck, anyone who has ever seen a war movie knows it. That mantra was the whole premise of the 2002 movie, Black Hawk Down starring Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, and a host of others. The movie was based on a true story of an actual event in Somalia in 1993. “No man left behind.” Let me repeat that for the benefit of our esteemed political and military leaders who seem to have forgotten it or have chosen to ignore it. NO MAN LEFT BEHIND! American armed forces and those of many other countries take great pride in living by it (and in some cases, dying by it).

The army even followed that principle in the Bowe Bergdahl case. In 2009 Beaudry Robert (Bowe) Bergdahl simply deserted his guard post, just walked off. The army spent weeks looking for him to no avail. As I recall, one of the searchers was killed. Then five years later he resurfaced as a “captive” of the Taliban. What did we do? We traded five senior level Taliban leaders, whom we had incarcerated at Guantanamo for severe terrorist activities, for him. Five senior level terrorists for a deserter! Why would we do something ill-advised like that? Simple. No man left behind.

Flash forward to August 2021 in Afghanistan and our botched departure. Let me reiterate what I have said many times before. This is not about the decision to leave or stay there. Personally, I was and am in favor of leaving, and the latest NPR/PBS/NewsHour/Marist poll found that 70% of those queried opined that the Afghan War was a “failure” and “not worth it,” but I can see reasonable arguments on both sides. This is all about the manner in which we left.

In my opinion, and that of an overwhelming majority of Americans our political and military leaders did everything wrong. Even the man on the street knows that the proper order of exfil would have been American and Afghani civilians first, then our military equipment and records, and lastly our soldiers. One doesn’t have to be a Yale or Harvard graduate or a decorated general to figure that out. One just has to have common sense. I always say common sense is not “common.” This FUBAR was a good example of that. Criticism has been widespread. More on that later.

We stranded not only an unknown number of Americans and Afghan collaborators (Some estimates run well into the thousands.), but also some $85 billion of military material and equipment, as well as comprehensive lists of those who helped us. These people and their families will probably be tortured and executed. Already, there have been multiple reports of Taliban “death squads” going literally door-to-door doing just that.

In the past week, rather than admit he made a mistake Biden has “doubled down.” He has characterized the operation as an “extraordinary success,” telling us that he pulled off the greatest airlift in history and that every American who wanted to leave was exfilled successfully. As he might say, that is a bunch of “malarkey.” He is trying to “snow” us. I may have been born at night, but not last night.

In my opinion, clearly, the facts do not support him at all. But, don’t just take my word for it. Below please find a small sample of what others have said:

1. In his unique manner of turning a phrase Senator John Kennedy characterized the operation as ” ‘unspinnable’ [by spin doctors who make a good living doing just that], and a parade of bad decisions.” He added “you can put perfume on a pig, but it still stinks.”

2. Congressman Michael Waltz predicted it would “make [the]1979 [hostage situation in] Tehran look like a ‘sleepover.’ ” For those of you who don’t remember or weren’t born yet Iran imprisoned 52 hostages for 442 days, an action which probably cost President Jimmy Carter the 1980 presidential election.

3. Spencer Brown reported in Townhall that a group of families of 9/11 victims have told President Biden he is not welcome at the 20th anniversary memorial ceremonies and to “stay away.”

4. Politico has pointed out that in April VP Kamala Harris was bragging she had a “key role” in the Afghan withdrawal plan, but now that it has gone “sideways” she is nowhere to be found.

5. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opined that the Biden Administration vastly understated the strength and determination of the Taliban. It was operating on the premise that it would take them many months to take over the entire country if they were able to do so at all. They have been proven dead wrong.

6. Biden and Jen Psaki keep claiming the US has “leverage” over the Taliban. That claim has not been supported by any independent commentator that I have heard. Pompeo bluntly stated that Biden “gave up” whatever leverage he might have had and got little, if anything, in return.

7. Jennifer Chasmar (Fox News commentator) has criticized the vetting process for those we have rescued. It has been reported that the vetting process is “quick and dirty” and haphazard. Normally, the vetting process takes months or years; the process for these people is expected to take days or weeks. The obvious concern is that terrorists might slip through. That would be the final irony. She reported that 26 GOP senators sent a letter to the White House asking for a detailed description of the vetting process. We’ll see what kind of reply they get, if any.

8. As we know, some of the allies, notably Great Britain and France, took matters into their own hands and rescued their people on their own. Kudos to them, but other allies, such as Canada, have been complaining that the US failed to communicate the dire nature of the situation to them, and many of their citizens remain stranded as well. They have said they feel betrayed and are annoyed at the Administration.

9. The Overseas Security Advisory Council wondered why the Administration didn’t make any contingency plans as the Taliban was expanding its control over the country the entire summer. Now, the Administration is telling those who are stranded they’re on their own. It has told them to “make contingency plans to leave when it is safe to do so {and] not to rely on US government assistance.” Nice.

10. How come more people didn’t get out on the last day? The general in charge of the evacuation (not sure who it was after General Miller resigned on Monday) lamented that not many people showed up to be evacuated on the last day, and many planes took off with seats available. Well, a brief investigation would have disclosed that the gates to the airport were locked. Why or by whom no one knows.

11. Most of the “Gold Star” families were not happy with their meeting with the president. Some of them, such as the McCollum family declined to speak with him at all. According to Jim and Royce McCollum the reason was not political. Rather, they felt that “everything he did (regarding the exfil) was completely wrong.” In a quote that will likely be widely repeated Jim McCollum said he told Biden “you can’t f**k up as bad[ly] as you did and [just] say you’re sorry.” Other families who did meet with him reported that he seemed distracted and insensitive to their loss, and his words and actions seemed “scripted.” Some families said he didn’t even mention their loved one’s name. Hard to believe. Furthermore, Royce McCollum told reporters that Biden never said “sorry for your loss” to them. Was he being insensitive, or did he just forget the names? Rather than focusing on their loved one, he focused on his son, Beau. As we know, Beau had served, but he died from cancer, which they felt “was tragic, but not the same thing.” For me, these comments conjured up the image of Biden on the tarmac continually checking his watch like he had somewhere else he needed/wanted to be. Several of the Gold Star family members averred that they found that most disrespectful and insensitive.

12. During the last few months beginning in April Biden has been, to put it kindly, disingenuous with respect to the military situation in Afghanistan. For instance:

a. Several times he insisted that “we’ll stay until all Americans get out.” Now, we have ascertained that the Administration doesn’t really know the total Americans who have been stranded in Afghanistan. I have heard estimates of anywhere from a hundred or so to several thousand. Don’t forget, the news has been focused on Kabul, but there are likely many that are stranded throughout the rest of the country. Moreover, I have not heard the government speak of any plans to rescue them, although some private organizations have done so on their own.

b. On August 20 and several times thereafter Biden expressed the same commitment to Afghans who had aided our troops over the years. Again, thousands have been stranded, and face certain death, including one who actually saved Biden’s life back when he was a senator and had become stranded in the mountains.

c. He made the same commitment to “vulnerable” Afghans such as prominent women and journalists. Several news outlets, including the NY Post, Washington Post and BBC have reported that these people have also been abandoned.

d. Biden has said that the intelligence agencies did not tell him of the exigency of the situation. Said agencies vehemently deny this. From April through the summer it was easy to ascertain that the Taliban was advancing. It was not a question of “if” but “when” they would take over the entire country. It is worth noting that the CIA pulled out its people some seven weeks ago. That should have been a big clue, but Biden and his advisors were clueless.

e. Biden vowed to continue to provide air support to Afghan ground troops. He has not, which may be a major reason why the Taliban was able to take over the country so quickly. The NY Post, Reuters, and other news outlets have reported that all summer Biden had insisted that it was “unlikely” that the Taliban would succeed in taking over the entire country. He knew or should have known better and acted while there was still time. He had four months to commence the withdrawal and did nothing.

f. USA Today and Fox News have reported that Biden recently tried to convince Afghan President Ghani to portray a more positive picture of the situation, in other words, lie, presumably to help Biden’s political situation.

Conclusion

This fiasco has been very damaging to Biden’s presidency. It makes us appear weak to both our friends and enemies. He has been trying to deflect responsibility by blaming former President Trump. He is claiming that Trump committed us to the withdrawal plan before Biden took office, and he had to follow it. Of course, that is pure BS. Biden was only too eager to undue many other of Trump’s accomplishments and decisions, such as the Wall, the Keystone Pipeline and the Paris climate change accords, to name a few. Obviously, he could have undone or modified this as well. Again, he is being, to put it kindly, disingenuous. He is not fooling anyone, except the “Kool-Aid drinkers.”

According to the latest NPR/PBS/NewsHour/Marist poll his approval rating has sunken to a new low – 43%. Normally, a problematic situation such as this is eventually forgotten as it is superseded by other events. It is 14 months until the mid-term elections, a lifetime in politics. By then, the public could be focused on other issues such as COVID or the economy. I’m sure that is the Dems’ big hope. After all, as I pointed out in a previous blog as horrific as the attack on the Benghazi consulate was, which left four Americans dead, that has now largely faded from our consciousness.

That may very well come to pass. But, let’s not forget that the Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan have hundreds, if not thousands, of hostages. Don’t be surprised if some of them turn up on Al Jazeera being tortured or beheaded. In addition, they have $85 billion worth of equipment that they could use or sell for cash. Don’t be surprised if we are victimized by multiple terror attacks. Either or both of those scenarios could devastate the Biden presidency and turn over control of Congress to the GOP.

About the Author
Larry was born and raised in New York. He is 73 years old. He has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting and a Masters Degree in Marketing Management, and worked in the financial industry for 42 years in accounting and Compliance. Larry is also a veteran, whose hobbies are reading and golf. He has been writing a blog for three years, which is being read by people in 90 countries.
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