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Biden's blowup: Back to the future of Islamic terrorism

By Mark Alexander
 web posted August 23, 2021

Where to start on the disgraceful failure of Joe Biden's retreat from Afghanistan?

First and foremost, with prayers for the people of this harsh and war-torn nation, particularly the men, women, and children who will be slaughtered in the wake of Biden's catastrophically failed retreat. And prayers for the families of American service members who died in Afghanistan or are living with severe injuries — some visible, some not.

My perspective on Islamic extremism is informed by both personal experience in Muslim countries and many years of analytical security and counterterrorism evaluations over the last three decades. I volunteered for military service in 1979, after Jimmy Carter had enabled the Islamic revolution in Iran. I did so believing that the future of our national interests, the future of American Liberty, would be in peril from Islamic threats for generations to come. I had no idea then how much peril.

The last time I was in the Afghan region was as part of an official delegation during Bill Clinton's tenure in office — just before the 9/11 Islamist attack on our nation. My lasting impression is one of a vast geographic wasteland hosting enormous human suffering, a country culturally stuck in the sixth century — basically what it is today after the Taliban resurgence — except the Taliban terrorists now have much better caches of U.S. weapons than those the Soviets left the Mujahideen in 1989.

Afghanistan was, is, and always will be, irreparably, what President Donald Trump would call a "sh-thole country" as long as its Islamist rulers persist.

So, how we did we get here, where are we now, and where has Biden left us for the future?

The 9/11 Islamist attack on our nation has its origin with Clinton's malfeasance, specifically his failure to capture or kill Islamist Sheik Osama bin Ladentwice.

Of the first missed opportunity, Clinton declared, "At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America." But bin Laden's leadership role with al-Qa'ida terrorists, and his association with those who carried out the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, was well documented. Clinton could have opted to kill him, if he had taken the al-Qa'ida threat seriously — as clearly our intelligence and military communities did.

Of the second failure to take out OBL, Clinton would later admit: "I could have killed him, but I would have to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children, and then I would have been no better than him. And so I just didn't do it." Actually, according to intel sources and the special operators who would have pulled the trigger, destroying Kandahar was not the only option for killing bin Laden.

Consequently, OBL's terrorists started entering our country on Clinton's watch, and months after he left office, they would carry out OBL's 9/11 attack. Declining to kill OBL, when we had him in our sights, would have dire consequences for our nation over the next 20 years.

In response to the al-Qa'ida attack, President George W. Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) to take the battle to our enemy's turf. But Bush failed to get bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and others once they had escaped to the Tora Bora Mountains and beyond. Thus, predictably, mission creep.

Barack Obama asserted it was in our "vital national interests" to alter the focus of OEF from primarily counterterrorism to primarily nation-building, starting with assistance to help the Afghans build a self-defense capacity, and committing more than 100,000 American service personnel to carry out the task. Most American deaths in Afghanistan occurred under Obama's watch. Obama would then pursue a peace agreement with the Taliban.

It was Donald Trump who finally exhibited the political will to formulate an exit plan and bring most Americans home while committing a small stability contingent ongoing, as well as enough air assets to keep the Taliban's undivided attention.

As it stands today, there is no evidence that the Taliban ever broke with al-Qa'ida, and there is every assurance that al-Qa'ida will rise again under the Taliban protectorate.

In a casual conversation last March with a former colleague, a national security adviser at a Middle East desk, he asked (rhetorically) how long I thought the Taliban "peace treaty" would last. I responded: "Long enough for the Taliban to resupply and reload. What else do they have to do?"

I added that with the rise of Sirajuddin Haqqani as the number-two thug in Taliban command, given his close alliance with al-Qa'ida, what could go wrong?

For the record, another key Taliban leader now is Khairullah Khairkhwa, one of the "Taliban Five" who were freed by Obama/Biden in an obscene 2014 exchange for the return of Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl — the search for whom cost numerous other American service personnel their lives. And the Taliban have now freed their most violent adherents from Afghan prisons to enforce the Haqqani/Khairkhwa reign of terror.

Obama's secretary of defense, Leon Panetta, strongly advised against the Taliban exchange. Panetta now compares Biden's Afghan failure to John Kennedy's "Bay of Pigs" fiasco, adding, "I strongly recommend to President Biden that he take responsibility and admit the mistakes that were made."

Weeks before the Taliban had overrun Afghanistan, we noted national security analyst Thomas Joscelyn's assessment that the situation on the ground there was much worse than what the Biden administration was portraying. According to Joscelyn: "Just two weeks after President Biden announced on April 14 his decision to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan by September 11, the Taliban launched a massive offensive. Since May 1, the jihadists have captured a large swath of the country, laying the groundwork for the resurrection of their Islamic emirate. America and its allies have remained mostly indifferent — retreating from the battlefield as the jihadists advance. This is what a lost war looks like."

In the end, Joscelyn elsewhere notes: "Biden wasn't ambivalent about the war either. He was willing to watch the jihadists resurrect the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. And so they have."

At the same time, political analyst Dinesh D'Souza acknowledged that Afghanistan was lost, if not how fast that would occur, writing: "The war wasn't lost by brave American soldiers who carried out their missions and endured the hardships of surviving and fighting in a distant country. Rather, the war was lost by their leaders, who set impossible goals and then developed strategies that were destined to fail. We can only hope that our country's leaders will get the message this time and prove a little less utopian, gullible, and inept when America once again dispatches its armed men and women abroad."

Now, after some 2,448 American military deaths (though not one in the last 18 months), thousands of debilitating injuries, and $978 billion in treasure, the withdrawal under Joe Biden is an unmitigated disaster — because Biden himself is an unmitigated disaster — and spineless, feckless, and incompetent, too.

When then-candidate Biden was asked in February of 2020 if he bore any responsibility for the rise of the Taliban, Biden responded, "Zero responsibility." But the most knowledgeable national security analysts concur that the failed Obama/Biden strategy in 2014 to end Operation Enduring Freedom, which immediately empowered the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and a resurgence of al-Qa'ida elsewhere, is largely responsible for the unfolding tragedy that is Afghanistan today.

Biden is still taking zero responsibility, though his failed exfiltration plan is responsible for the catastrophe now unfolding.

Sidebar: Recall that at a 2010 White House signing ceremony for the so-called Affordable Care Act, Biden embraced Obama, and was caught on a live mic saying, "This is a big f—ing deal." Ten years later, speaking to a Demo operative during the 2020 primary, Obama said, "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to f— things up." Apparently, more than half of American voters, if you include all the unverified bulk-mail ballots, grossly underestimated that ability last November.

Memo to Joe: This is a big f—ing deal, and you have f—ed it up.

As the Taliban was overtaking Kabul this week, Biden took a break from his vacation to pass the buck in an address to the nation. Most notably, he blamed Trump, and he blamed the Afghans he'd abandoned.

It was just a month ago that Biden declared: "The Taliban is not the south — the North Vietnamese army. They're not — they're not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There is going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable."

But the blame is on Biden, and his deflection won't work.

Biden knew the risks, and he didn't send thousands of rapid-deployment troops into Kabul over the last few days to ensure the Taliban would behave. He did so to ensure the American retreat would be covered — and the Taliban knew this. On the other hand, if Trump were in office...

Our national security analyst, Gen. B.B. Bell (USA, Ret.), was NATO's Land Component Commander responsible for manning its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, during the Bush (43) administration. Gen. Bell notes: "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."

Biden insists: "Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy," but nation-building is precisely what he and Obama set about doing in 2014. In 2002, then-Sen. Biden cosponsored massive nation-building legislation for Afghanistan. According to Biden, "In some parts of [the Bush] administration, 'nation-building' is a dirty phrase," adding, "But the alternative to nation-building is chaos — a chaos that churns out bloodthirsty warlords, drug-traffickers, and terrorists."

Biden said, "Our diplomacy does not hinge on having ... U.S. boots on the ground." But keeping a few thousand troops in the regions seems to have worked well in the last few years. He added: "Our true strategic competitors — China and Russia — would love nothing more than the United States to continue to funnel billions of dollars in resources and attention into stabilizing Afghanistan indefinitely." Not as much as they are loving the message you have sent to the world with this botched retreat.

Biden declared himself brilliant for getting Americans out ahead of the Taliban surge — but it is Biden who empowered the Taliban surge by abandoning the Afghans. He has been asleep at the wheel and ignored the warnings from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley from as far back as March.

And Milley is now warning members of Congress that Biden's previous estimate of how long it will take terrorist organizations to reconstitute, given the circumstances, will be greatly reduced. Meanwhile, Biden remains fully focused on those terrorist Trump supporters.

There are already many reasons Milley should be fired — demonstrating his ineptitude leading the Afghan retreat is just the latest.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan insists that Biden "is taking responsibility for every decision the United States government took with respect to Afghanistan." Sullivan added, "We, as a national security team, collectively take responsibility for responsibility for every decision..." Thank you for the clarification. Now you can all resign.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell understood the risk: "I was in a number of these briefings over the last couple months, it was pretty obvious to me what was going to happen. I know for a fact that the president's military leaders argued against this decision. It is a sad day for the United States of America."

Indeed it is.

McConnell added: "We spend less than 1% of our military budget to keep the lid on Afghanistan. It will cost America much more now."

On the other hand, according to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): "The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action. The Taliban must know the world is watching its actions. We are concerned about reports regarding the Taliban's brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls. The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban."

Meanwhile, as the Biden/Blinken State Department is calling on the Taliban to form an "inclusive and representative government," the terrorists are going door to door, killing Afghan security forces and civilians who assisted Americans, and Afghan women not wearing burkas.

The bloodbath is just beginning.

Former president Donald Trump declared: "[Biden] surrendered to the Taliban, who have quickly overtaken Afghanistan and destroyed confidence in American power and influence. The outcome in Afghanistan, including the withdrawal, would have been totally different if the Trump Administration had been in charge. Who or what will Joe Biden surrender to next? Someone should ask him, if they can find him. It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan..."

That raises a key question: What would this withdrawal look like if Trump was still president?

We'll never know what would have happened if the American troop drawdown had occurred under Trump's watch as CINC — but we can estimate the consequences with great accuracy. We do know how strong Trump was in holding the line against Russia and China, particularly in regard to holding China responsible for the ChiCom Virus pandemic.

But here's a hint of what the Taliban could have expected under Trump: Obama/Biden slept as Benghazi burned. Biden/Harris slept as Kabul fell.

However, unlike the "deal" that Obama and Biden brokered with Iran, when Trump found out Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani was planning an attack on our embassy in Iraq, he dropped a bomb on Soleimani's head. And that sent a message to every tyrant in the region.

As for Biden's chronic malfeasance, recall that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted, Biden "has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." He even opposed Obama's approval of the military raid to kill bin Laden.

As Biden's Leftmedia sycophants are busy celebrating the Afghan withdrawal and the carnage and rubble Biden leaves in Afghanistan, there is one searing video image that irrevocably captures the desperation of the Afghan people in the wake of Joe Biden's catastrophically failed exit plan, and it should haunt him, VP Kamala Harris, and their Beltway political cadre until they draw their last breaths. Desperate Afghan people, clinging to the outside of a C-17 military transport as it departed Kabul, fell to their deaths.

As we approach the 20th observance of the 9/11 Islamic attack on our nation, an attack planned in Afghanistan, the Kabul images are reminiscent of those horrible images of Americans plunging to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers.

In Biden's rush to complete the American retreat in time for that 20th observance is a disaster.

Biden's incompetence was finally being noticed by a broader swath of Americans before the Afghan spectacle, but his job approval ratings have now cratered.

And even his blind lemming support among his fawning Leftmedia fans is beginning to crack. Can you imagine how this disaster would have been covered if Trump was still president? Of course, it would not have happened on Trump's watch.

In addition, there are between 15-20 thousand American citizens stranded around Kabul and other regions. They are unable to obtain safe passage to a point of departure — though Biden insists he has assurances from the Taliban for safe passage out.

Further, Biden is confident the Taliban will not align itself with terrorists. The Taliban are terrorists.

There are serious concerns about whether American citizens will become Taliban hostages. Our sources on the ground in Kabul indicate they do not believe that the Taliban wants further direct confrontation with the thousands of military personnel Biden has rushed in, and would prefer for the U.S. to depart and be done. However, there are numerous Taliban factions of al-Qa'ida terrorists that could well act outside the sketchy chain of command and take hostages or kill Americans.

Beyond the implications in the Middle East, the Taliban sweep has sent a loud message to the world, particularly to Iran and Iraq, and especially to Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, confirming what they thought to be true: that tyrants can act with impunity under Biden. Thanks to ChiCom Joe, the Red Chinese are already weaponizing Biden's impotence, warning Taiwan and Hong Kong that they can't depend on America.

Meanwhile, back home, the Democrats are endeavoring to accelerate the financial, cultural, and moral bankruptcy of America — doing much more damage than al-Qa'ida could ever hope to do. ESR

Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.

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