September 11th is a day of mourning for our country. Nearly 3,000 innocents were slaughtered by freedom-hating terrorists. And over the last 20 years, we lost 7,000 of our nation’s finest—men and women of our military—in the global war on terror. Afghanistan accounted for 2,500 of those deaths.
But the homeland remained safe from a major terror attack for two decades. That one measurement of success is important to the 300 million living here. And it gave meaning and honor to the sacrifice of those who gave their all.
It’s different this year.
We fled Afghanistan in a defeated and dishonorable manner, and it threatens to reshape our understanding of the losses we’ve sustained.
Most are in agreement that 20 years is long enough to try to secure a positive outcome. But most would also agree that a 20-year investment, made by the most powerful country in the world, has value. Before the pullout, there were just 2,500 American troops in Afghanistan and no soldier deaths in the past 18 months.
You don’t need a royal flush to win in poker, just cards that are better than everyone else’s. The situation in Afghanistan wasn’t great, but we stupidly threw in our hand when our cards were likely the best at the table, at the present time.
People in positions of power failed us with an abrupt exit.
The Afghanistan debacle showed us that President Joe Biden doesn’t understand that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. He also doesn’t comprehend the idea of making an adjustment, when necessary. He lacks decision-making training because his only job, for nearly 50 years, has been to spend taxpayer money. None of this is helpful in developing and executing foreign policy.
Biden’s wrong way, no adjustment, bad decision-making came through in a July phone call to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban was on the move in other parts of the country. Biden reacted by telling Ghani, “I need not tell you the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things aren’t going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban. And there’s a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”
Biden seems fine living in a world of perception instead of reality.
Leadership in top command positions in the military failed us, as well.
The country reeled from the loss of 13 military personnel who died because a suicide-bomber made his way through the Taliban-controlled area. Every mom and dad of every son and daughter, posted at the Kabul airport, could anticipate and predict the danger of trusting the Taliban for security.
Our country was further dishonored when a drone was used to vaporize a car that killed Afghan children instead of terrorists. Military leadership misled the American people for several days before the truth came out about the botched drone attack.
The military spun an illusion instead of providing facts.
But perhaps the worst abuse by people in power is the mainstream media. Former President Donald Trump was relentlessly hammered, but the media gives the Biden administration pass after pass.
Nobody knows how to distort the truth better than the press.
The September 11th terrorist attack on our country jolted us. And there was a powerful military response.
Now, the disastrous pullout from Afghanistan is jolting us again. This is another moment that requires a response.
But this time it must come from the everyday American by demanding truth, honor and accountability from elected leaders, military leadership, and the media.
Because anything less diminishes the meaning of the lives lost on September 11th and those who protected us for the last 20 years.
That’s not acceptable.