In what can only be called a shocking lack of self-awareness, President Joe Biden this week bragged about his “extraordinary success” in Afghanistan. Now his handlers and the Democratic Party are urging Americans and, of course, the media to “move on.” But there is no moving on from his botched departure from Kabul, whose ill effects will be felt by Americans for decades.
Far from a success, the “evacuation” was in fact an ill-planned, incompetently executed, chaotic dash to cram as many human beings as possible onto planes and transport them away from Kabul. The new talking point is that “only” 100 or so Americans may have been left behind, despite Biden’s explicit promise that none would be.
The media, which for several days seemed actually to be doing their job, are now falling in line with the new White House-Democratic Party spin. Afghanistan is now a yesterday story.
As National Review noted on Thursday:
“Today is the day that the U.S. media begins its pivot away from Afghanistan. The front page of the New York Times features Hurricane Ida’s rains hitting New York City, and the Supreme Court’s declining to block Texas’ new abortion law. Those are the same two top stories at the Washington Post, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.”
While the administration, in one of the epic political spin jobs ever, lauds itself for its evacuation efforts, the truth is it likely left far more Americans and deserving Afghans in Kabul than estimated. That means victims and/or hostages for the now-jubilant, victorious Taliban, an intolerable situation.
Data from earlier this week estimated 116,700 people were evacuated from Afghanistan. “In fact, while only 5,400 or so Americans were brought to safety, only about 8,500 SIV holders were rescued, with the vast majority left behind,” RedState reports.
That number of Americans sticks in our craw. Just two weeks ago, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said this: “There are individuals who will self-identify as American citizens. That number is around 11,000 around the country.”
So if 5,400 left, where are the other 5,000 plus? How can we be confident of White House and State Department estimates that seem to change mainly to suit White House PR needs?
So it’s not over. This is very much Mission Not Accomplished.
The Associated Press ran the heart-rending story of Javed Habibi, a green card holder from Richmond, Virginia, trying to flee with his wife and four daughters out of Afghanistan. One of his daughters was born in the U.S.
He was repeatedly assured that his family would be evacuated. After all, Biden himself promised, 21 times by one count, that he would leave “no one behind.”
The AP report continues:
Late Monday, however, (Habibi’s) heart sank as he heard that the final U.S. flights had left Kabul’s airport, followed by the blistering staccato sound of Taliban gunfire, celebrating what they saw as their victory over America.
‘They lied to us,’ Habibi said of the U.S. government.
Because the administration is now shutting down information on those who remain, we don’t know how many Javed Habibis or American students, workers, and others actually remain there.
Even some within the Biden White House get what an epic disaster this is.
“I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there,” an administration official told Politico, on the condition he not be named. “It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO [non-combatant evacuation operations], and we have failed that no-fail mission.”
As for those non-Americans who did make it out, why were they prioritized over American citizens and those with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs)? And why are private groups now having to run daring rescues of our own citizens, something it’s our government’s sworn job to do under the Constitution?
Let’s do the math. By our count, a total of just 13,900 American citizens and Afghan SIV holders were evacuated. That leaves about 103,000 others. Of those, “(T)he Biden administration is looking to bring in some 50,000 Afghan refugees into the U.S.,” writes Thomas Gallatin. “Roughly 20,000 are already here, with the balance at U.S. military installations overseas.”
We’ll ask the indelicate question: Are some of them perhaps terrorists? Before you reject the idea, note that the Biden administration handed out blank visa papers in the days and weeks before Kabul fell. How many of those were copied and used by terrorists or other criminals to get into America? We’re not the only ones worried.
“(The threat) is the entry of al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the groups of refugees that are being taken out of Afghanistan and possibly to the United States because of the lack of vetting procedures that would normally go on to expedite getting all of these people out of Afghanistan,” former FBI counterterrorism special agent Kenneth Gray told the Washington Examiner.
Thanks to Biden’s botched withdrawal and his betrayal of our own citizens and allies, things in Afghanistan are beyond grim. The Taliban has lengthy execution lists, and plenty of time to hunt people down. Thousands of interpreters and others who helped us in Afghanistan face capture, torture, and execution.
Meanwhile, the administration is already talking about “foreign aid” for the Taliban regime, which, in effect, already makes de facto hostages of the American citizens still there.
Moreover, China, Russia, and Iran will no doubt vie to fill the vacuum we left, while terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS once again have a homeland. So, no, the Afghan war isn’t over, Mr. President. In some ways, it’s just begun. At the very least, it can’t end until all our citizens return.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board