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AFGHANISTAN: A name that will live in infamy

Taliban fighters stand guard along a road near the site of an Ashura procession which is held to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Mohammad, along a road in Herat on August 19, 2021, amid the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan.
Taliban fighters stand guard along a road near the site of an Ashura procession which is held to mark the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Mohammad, along a road in Herat on August 19, 2021, amid the Taliban's military takeover of Afghanistan. | AREF KARIMI/AFP via Getty Images

Note:  The Second Part of the Series on “How the Christian Should Respond to America’s Identity Crisis: “What About Separation of Church and State” will appear next Friday.

Literally, where do I begin in seeking to address the unprecedented events of the last fortnight in Afghanistan?

This is a conglomeration of tragedies. It is a scandal, a debacle, a defeat, a humiliation, a massacre, a nightmare, a route, a death knell, and many other sobering nouns can be employed.

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The great American “bugout” from Afghanistan — a betrayal revealing a level of incompetence from our American military, security and political establishment is both breathtaking and incomprehensible. This collection of buffoons and pretenders has just presided over a national humiliation that will reverberate around the globe with truly legally dangerous consequences extending for the entire life span of virtually all currently living Americans.

This fully preventable foreign policy debacle is a humanitarian and security disaster which has generated potentially horrendous conflicts across the globe that will now be very difficult to contain or prevent.

1. Domestic Humanitarian Tragedy. As we have witnessed the ignominious collapse of the 20-year American presence in Afghanistan, our hearts and minds turn inevitably to the loved ones of the 2,448 brave men and women who gave the “last full measure of devotion” as servicemen and women in Afghanistan.

To all those American families and the loved ones of those wounded and maimed in Afghanistan as well, we all need to say, “our hearts go out to you, and we truly appreciate your sacrifice and devotion. You did not sacrifice in vain. Your dedication and bravery helped to defend the homeland and keep us free from attack for 20 years. Your dedication also gave the Afghan people a two-decade experience of freedom (the median age of the Afghan population is 18) they had never previously experienced. You are our defenders and heroes, and I hope and pray that you know you have the gratitude of a grateful nation. Your political and military leaders failed you, our country, and the Afghans. You did not fail!”

President Biden and his foreign policy team have given us a new definition and a blood-curdling illustration of “dereliction of duty.” They are truly “the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.”

2. Afghan Humanitarian Tragedy. We have all seen the heartbreaking scenes flashing across our TVs and popping up on our smartphones. I was personally reduced to tears, as a parent, by two scenes I witnessed in the last two days. The first involved women lifting their babies and young children over the concertina wire-topped fences at the Kabul airport to anyone willing to take their children and deliver them from the Taliban and the hell on earth they would impose upon them.

The second was a picture of a dozen or so first-and-second-grade eager Afghan children arriving for school with their backpacks and western-style clothing, ready and eager to learn. They were told their school was closed and the teachers said goodbye to all the female students because they knew they would never be allowed to come back to the school. 

The future these innocent young children face under Taliban rule is a tragedy beyond description.

For those who might take such descriptions as “Islamaphobia,” let me remind everyone that at least 90% of the victims of Islamist terror to date have been fellow Muslims who refuse to acquiesce to the radical Islamists extreme “death cult” heresy interpretation of Islam as the one true faith. Wahhabism’s claim to be the one true Islamic faith (the Taliban being one infamous expression of it) would be analogous to a radical white militant group financed by an eccentric Texas millionaire claiming to be the only legitimate expression of Christianity and if you disagree with them, they will kill you.

The Taliban are murderous Islamist fanatics who will reimpose their barbarous, medieval religious worldview on 37.4 million Afghans, at least 60% of whom are under 20 years of age.

As the Taliban has assumed control of Afghanistan, the sale of burkas has doubled, lest women be assaulted, beaten or shot for appearing in public without this all-encompassing female garment. Women have had their fingers chopped off for wearing nail polish. Afghans are being forced to turn over their 15-year-old girls for “wives” for Taliban soldiers. The fate of women and girls in the Taliban’s Afghanistan will be atrocious and gruesome. Where has the outrage been from the militant feminist groups in the United States? Their silence has been deafening.

The government of the United States of America, “the home of the brave and the land of the free,” has abandoned all these children, young people, and women to these psychopathic murderers. Remember, Joe Biden, “architect” of our drawdown in Iraq as Vice President, left Christians and other religious minorities to a gruesome fate after the complete American withdrawal. By the way, that policy is the cause of the rapid rise of ISIS.

For those unhinged and biased commentators like Joy Reid who are attempting to compare the Taliban to pro-life Catholic and Evangelical activists, the answer is “No, we don’t want to segregate women, and we do not want to control women’s bodies. We do want to keep mothers from exterminating the human beings they have conceived when they voluntarily engage in activities which they must know may eventuate in the conception of another human being, their child.”

3. Diplomatic and Strategic Debacle. The decision by President Biden to unilaterally withdraw in the manner he authorized has ruined our ongoing relationship with all our allies. The fact that Joe Biden did not inform any of our NATO partners in Afghanistan of our withdrawal is unconscionable (they had 8000 troops still there compared to our 2000.) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried to reach President Biden beginning on Monday morning and was not able to connect with him until around 10 p.m. Tuesday night.

The leading candidate to be Germany’s next Chancellor declared that this was “the greatest debacle since NATO’s founding.” MPs in the British Parliament asked, “How can we ever trust the Americans again?” That the British, our strongest ally for the last 100 years, are asking this question illustrates just how much damage the clueless President Biden has caused.

The Germans, the French, the Ukrainians, the Japanese, the Taiwanese, and the Israelis are all asking that same question.

Furthermore, the next time we attempt to convince foreign nationals to support our efforts in their country, why should they do so? Their response will be, “No! We remember how you abandoned the Afghans. You are not going to make suckers of us like you did them.”

The big winners in this debacle are the Russians, the Chinese, and the Iranians. The Chinese are already telling the Taiwanese, “You don’t think the Americans are going to keep their commitment to defend you? You might as well surrender.” Frankly, if we are able to keep Taiwan and its 24 million people free without an actual war with China, providence will have indeed smiled upon us. If China is allowed to take Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and Indonesia will abandon their relationships with a fickle Uncle Sam and will cut the best deal they can with China. America’s influence in the Pacific will be cut all the way back to Hawaii.

Biden has guaranteed that the 20th observance of Sept.11 will be a celebratory anniversary for the Taliban and the Islamists around the world, not for the U.S.

Biden, with his catastrophically wrong withdrawal plan, has undone the entire post-World War II treaty arrangements defending freedom around the world.

China and Russia have been saying America is in decline and is no longer a great power, and Mr. Biden has just given them the greatest evidence for that argument that could be imagined.

If Biden wanted to leave Afghanistan, they should have withdrawn the troops last. The idea that our Afghan allies did not know we were leaving Bagram Air Base until they woke up and we were gone is indefensible. We should have taken the civilians out first. Then we should have taken the military equipment out next. If that proved impossible, we should have destroyed it rather than leaving it for the Taliban to capture and turn against us. Then the military personnel should have come out last.

I know this and I’ve never had any military training. How come Biden’s incompetent boobs didn’t know that?

The final straw was the interview President Biden did with George Stephanopoulos where the President acknowledged he could not conceive of an exit from Afghanistan that did not involve chaos and he agreed with Stephanopoulos’ depiction that the utter chaos was “priced into the decision.”   

In other words, President Biden acknowledges that he knew this was coming and it did not cause him to reconsider his course of action? Incredible!

In the end, why should we be surprised by President Biden’s actions? His legendary incompetency in foreign policy was referenced by Robert Gates, President Bush’s (2006-2009) and President Obama’s (2009-2011) Secretary of Defense. In his memoirs, Gates noted that Joe Biden had been wrong about virtually every important foreign policy decision for the last 50 years. Remember, then Vice President Biden was virtually the only senior administration official to argue against taking out Osama bin Laden!

President Biden was incompetent on foreign policy when he was fully in control of his faculties, which he clearly is not now! This is not “ageism.” Senator Bernie Sanders, who will be 80 on Sept. 8, is clearly sharp as a tack — wrong on most issues, but clearly cogent. President Biden, who will be 79 on Nov. 20, is clearly in cognitive decline.

In the Stephanopoulos interview, President Biden was asked if his intelligence people told him that this chaos would ensue if we did not leave a token force in place. The President replied, “No one told me that, that I can recall.” Unless the intelligence community is lying, President Biden was told and just didn’t remember. I hate to say this, but we have now descended into 25th Amendment territory (unless the President was lying).

One last word needs to be said. The U.S. State Department sent out an email to the thousands of Americans stranded behind Taliban lines, and the email said was that American citizens should make their own way to Hamid Karzai Airport to be evacuated. Then in all block letters: “THE US GOVERNMENT CANNOT ENSURE SAFE PASSAGE TO HAMID KARZAI AIRPORT.” Really?

That sentence enrages me as an American, and it should enrage every American. President Biden has failed his oath of office to protect America and protect American citizens.

The late great Charles Krauthammer observed, “National decline is a choice.” It may be President Biden’s choice, but it is not mine. Is it yours?

Dr. Richard Land, BA (Princeton, magna cum laude); D.Phil. (Oxford); Th.M (New Orleans Seminary). Dr. Land served as President of Southern Evangelical Seminary from July 2013 until July 2021. Upon his retirement, he was honored as President Emeritus and he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Theology & Ethics. Dr. Land previously served as President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) where he was also honored as President Emeritus upon his retirement. Dr. Land has also served as an Executive Editor and columnist for The Christian Post since 2011.

Dr. Land explores many timely and critical topics in his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” and in his weekly column for CP.

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