Biden’s Cataclysmic Afghan Failure
General BB Bell (Ret)
August 19, 2021
A retired General Officer’s assessment of Biden’s abject failure in Afghanistan.It’s done. The internal and external national security risks to your once-proud country have just skyrocketed. It is difficult to describe the stunningly negative position the United States finds itself in following the cataclysmic fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. President Joe Biden’s ill-fated and hapless decision to summarily short-notice withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan will forever be known as the day America’s position in the world order cascaded behind that of China, and for that matter Russia and the European Union as well.
From the date of the “blink of the eye” fall of Afghanistan, America will be known as an unreliable, bankrupt ex-world power with only marginal meaning to the rest of the world. Our traditional friends are now positioned to either be “picked off” by China or to accept unholy alliances with China to survive. Traditional friends and allies will no longer look to America for leadership or as an example of the strength offered by free, democratic, capitalistic, and Judeo-Christian ideals.
The age of socialism, communism, and dictatorial theocracy is now shadowing the entire globe. Freedom’s beacon has turned off for the former free world and all who aspire for Liberty. All this at the feeble hands of an incompetent and senile old man guided by unelected, gutless, socialist anti-American ideologues who control his every move.
Who am I to draw such conclusions or make such claims? Perhaps a little background. I spent my entire adult life in service to America. I proudly wore the uniform of the United States Army for 39 years and was privileged to lead troops from platoon to the four-star combatant command level. I spent 14 years deployed overseas in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. And I was significantly involved in the early years of Afghanistan.
As NATO’s Land Component Commander from 2004 to 2005, I was responsible for manning its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. I trained officers and enlisted personnel from all our NATO countries to perform their assigned duties in Kabul. As such, I visited Afghanistan periodically from my NATO headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, and spent time traveling throughout the breadth and depth of that ancient land visiting troops and checking on NATO operations. Also, from 2002 to 2005, I trained and deployed to Afghanistan many European-based U.S. Army Soldiers under my dual hat job in Europe as Commander of the United States Army, Europe.
For sure, successes were achieved in Afghanistan. In late 2001, the Taliban was routed from its perch of leadership in Kabul, having sanctioned al-Qaida’s terrorist training camps. We defeated al-Qaida in Afghanistan and their survivors were either captured and sent to Guantanamo or fled the country. There has been no significant al-Qaida attack on America’s homeland for 20 years. Eventually, America killed Osama bin Laden in his hiding place in Pakistan. I commend both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for their leadership and decision-making in accomplishing these victories — victories for freedom. All real Americans are grateful.
However, both presidents were culpable in turning the mission from defeating al-Qaida and preventing the reestablishment of their terrorist training camps into an unattainable mission of rebuilding Afghanistan to look like the West — to look like America. President Bush pressed NATO to expand NATO’s ISAF mission. Instead of counterterrorism, its stated tasks were to stabilize and rebuild Afghanistan by training the Afghan military, police, and judiciary; supporting the government in counter-narcotics efforts; and developing an economic market infrastructure.
These are all code words for nation building, and soon nation building was the mission for America and NATO. Meanwhile, the United States decided to singularly destroy the Taliban in combat across its eastern and southern Afghan strongholds. So Vietnam-style civil war was at hand, with America in the middle of counterinsurgency fighting to achieve it. The Viet Cong became the Taliban and we were going to kill them all with 110,000 deployed combat forces.
Only President Donald Trump had the vision to attempt to return our badly misguided efforts in Afghanistan to their original purpose — defeat al-Qaida in Afghanistan and retain a counterterrorist capability to destroy any future attempts to reestablish training camps and cells that could threaten our homeland. He successfully drew down U.S. troop strength to around 2,500 uniformed personnel and focused them largely on the counterterrorism mission. He allowed additional capable civilian cadre to fill some of the gaps in assisting the Afghan government and Afghan National Army (ANA) in their ongoing fight against the Taliban.
And, crucially, President Trump kept U.S. airpower over the battlefield in support of ANA operations and in readiness for counterterrorism operations. With this, the Afghan government and ANA functioned — not perfectly, by any means, but sufficiently — to ward off Taliban threats of takeover and move the country forward. A measure of freedom, especially for Afghan women, was achieved, and America’s place in the world order remained preeminent.
While the Taliban remained capable in Afghanistan, the ANA, with U.S. airpower, kept it scattered and on its heels. There is every reason to believe that this appropriately low-cost military effort by America and our allies would have succeeded indefinitely. And the last U.S. troops to perish in combat in Afghanistan were in February 2020 — 18 months ago. The ANA was doing all the fighting on the ground. Thank you, President Trump. You did a great job for us in Afghanistan by returning our effort to one of counterterrorism and away from impossible nation building.
With the ascent of our hollowed-out President Biden, however, anything Trump had accomplished for America was reversed. His incredibly ill-advised method of governance carried over to Afghanistan, where Biden, against the advice of his senior military leadership, ordered a short-notice full withdrawal of all U.S. military personnel along with our air power.
This resulted in the immediate disorderly flight of all U.S. contractor personnel with similar reaction by our NATO partners. Finally, with no support of any sort from anyone, especially air support, the ANA fled the field and returned to villages, thus ceding all Afghan territory to the Taliban. There was no fight. And now it’s over — uncontested by the vaporized ANA. Afghanistan is back in the hands of the Taliban, and we have lost our counterterrorism capability in the region.
Dear America, it was my deepest and most heartfelt honor to serve our once-great country for 39 years in peace and war. America: the land of Liberty, justice, and democracy. An example for the world over. A Constitution of epic proportions embraced by us all for over 200 years.
And now, it too is over…
Unless… Unless those who still cherish our homeland take a very, very firm stand. Afghanistan must be your final and unshakable line in the sand. It cannot be moved again. Take a final stand and do it at every ballot box opportunity until all socialist ideologues in America (unfortunately, it appears that socialists include a significant majority of the Democrat Party) are out of power and we have forever rid the land of their evil intent. Draw an unmoving line and stand on it. Do not waver.
Return our schools to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Restore our universities to places of higher education, not indoctrination. Rediscover our Judeo-Christian culture. Embrace the return of the institution of marriage and the American family along with the resurrection of traditional family values for our children. Strengthen our national sovereignty by enforcing legal immigration and preventing the now almost accepted daily flood of illegal immigrants. Embolden our Supreme Court to do its job and rule against all the unconstitutional attacks on our cherished freedom of speech, especially censorship by so-called private enterprise social media companies. Bring American jobs home from overseas. End irresponsible and grossly inflationary deficit spending.
And, yes, if we do these things we can make America great again. Draw an unmovable line. Defend it with every ounce of strength you can muster. Then and only then may we survive the cataclysmic fall of Afghanistan with all its devastating implications. May God Bless America as we find out if the line is drawn, if Patriots occupy it, and if it holds.