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ROBERT MARONIC: August 15, 2021: A Day of Infamy in U.S. History

August 15 was the one-year anniversary of the fall of Kabul in Afghanistan to the uncivilized, throat-cutting and medieval Taliban. It was the end of the longest undeclared or declared war in American history, which began on September 11, 2001. The war also cost the U.S. taxpayers over $2 trillion for nothing. As usual Congress paid for another endless war for endless peace on credit with interest.

The war caused the death of 2,448 U.S. soldiers, 3,846 contractors, 1,144 coalition troops, 444 aid workers and a countless number of wounded and maimed-for-life soldiers, who will require expensive medical care and rehabilitation in the trillions of dollars through 2070, along with over 30,000 Afghan (and Iraqi) veterans who have committed suicide from PTSD. The death of our Afghan allies was much, much higher.

On July 8, 2021, which was over five weeks before the fall of Kabul, President Joe Biden repeatedly and optimistically assured the American people that Kabul would not resemble the chaotic fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975. Biden was shamelessly wrong despite having been a Delaware senator (1973-07), who was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee three times, and vice president (2009-17) before becoming president on January 20, 2021 after campaigning for the White House from his basement. It appears that a half century of foreign policy expertise completely failed Scranton Joe aka “The Big Guy” despite his “golden” resume.

While no Marine helicopters were desperately evacuating fleeing Afghans from the U.S. Embassy’s rooftop in downtown Kabul on August 15, 2021, a worse chaotic evacuation was taking place four miles away at the Hamid Karzai International Airport. This airlift lasted seventeen days and nights around-the- clock for all the world to see, especially Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Communist China’s Xi Jinping, from August 14, 2021 to August 30, 2021 resulting in the evacuation of over 122,000 people.

If one image could succinctly depict our disgraceful withdrawal from Afghanistan, it would be the hundreds or more of desperate young and middle-aged Afghan men on August 16, 2021 running on the tarmac at Hamid Karzai International Airport with some of them frantically trying to cling to both sides of the underside of the fuselage of a huge gray U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III jet while slowly taxiing down the runway. 

And guess what? The transport jet’s pilot never once stopped to pick up any of these men. Two or more them, who had successfully clung to the jet, later tragically fell thousands of feet to their deaths. Unfortunately, the “lifeboat was full” because Biden’s White House and the Pentagon’s military planning was disgracefully poor. I suppose that twenty years was simply not enough time for the Pentagon’s overcompensated “genius generals” to come up with a viable worst-case contingency plan if Kabul fell to the enemy? I also suppose that the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania was just too busy for such mundane matters? 

It appears that Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller Jr. was indeed correct in his criticism of the Pentagon’s leadership and their disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan. I commend him. 

The military debacle in Kabul and throughout Afghanistan on August 15, 2021 was much worse than Saigon’s fall and South Vietnam’s capture because Communist Vietnam after 1975 never once threatened the United States. However, the Taliban, who are extremely close allies with Iran, are still a serious national security threat to the U.S. because the Taliban already have given sanctuary to both Al-Qaeda and possibly ISIS as evidenced by the drone assassination via two Hellfire missiles of Osama Bin Laden’s replacement, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, in downtown Kabul on August 2. This occurred despite the unwarranted recent rosy optimism of “American spy agencies,” which have downplayed Al-Qaeda’s presence during the last twelve months in Afghanistan.

Please remember that these same predominantly Ivy League-managed “spy agencies” egregiously failed to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991 and Al-Qaeda’s suicidal murder of over 3,000 Americans and foreign nationals at the World Trade Center in New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on September 11, 2001. I am not surprised at their abysmal failures since their predecessors at either the Office of the Coordinator of Information or the subsequent “intelligence” agencies completely botched the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Bay of Pigs invasion in Castro’s Communist Cuba on April 17, 1961, the Viet Cong’s Tet Offensive in South Vietnam on January 30, 1968, the Iranian takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran on November 4, 1979, ad nauseum

Poor human intelligence in the United States has indeed had huge negative consequences on our foreign policy failures, which have caused the preventable deaths and crippling of thousands of Americans and our allies since 1941.

One year after the fall of Kabul I often wonder how much of the $7.12 billion worth of state-of-the-art military equipment in Afghanistan, which was left behind by our esteemed, heartless and cognitively impaired commander in chief, will eventually and tragically end up in the hands of the radical 50,000 Islamic Revolutionary Guards in Teheran not to mention their fellow Iranian proxies of Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and other worldwide terrorists?

What is even more tragic was the number of Americans, NATO citizens and our Afghan wartime allies, who were left behind throughout Afghanistan after August 30, 2021. The stranded have ranged from a low of 100 Americans according to the effete Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to an astronomical high of 78,000 or more Afghan wartime allies according to the “nonprofit Association of Wartime Allies.”

 Unfortunately, when President John F. Kennedy imprudently failed to support the American-backed 1,500 anti-Castro Cuban insurgents at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, this sent a clear and unequivocal message to Ho Chi Minh in North Vietnam that the U.S. did not have the necessary political resolve, courage and perseverance to win a battle near the shores of Florida despite overwhelming naval, air and logistical superiority. Being that Miami was a mere 253 miles from the Bay of Pigs while Saigon, which was later named Ho Chi Minh City on April 30, 1975, was almost 9,000 miles from Washington D.C., Ho Chi Minh clearly knew that the U.S. most likely did not have the long-term resolve to defend South Vietnam.

Biden has made the same foreign policy mistake as Kennedy, but on a much larger scale. Vladimir Putin realizes that the U.S. will probably lose its proxy war of attrition in Ukraine because it simply lacks the political resolve despite total U.S. military spending of $801 billion in 2021. Putin knows that the U.S. has not won a war since 1945 unless one includes the Persian Gulf War (Desert Storm) in Kuwait on January 17, 1991, which was essentially a five-week battle, or Grenada on October 25, 1983, which was a four-day battle. 

Putin also controls the flow of much natural gas and oil to most NATO countries, which imposed harsh economic sanctions on Russia after February 24, 2022, and are now facing the prospect of a cold and brutal winter. Protesters in one of these NATO countries, the Czech Republic, recently realized on September 3 that Prague may have foolishly overplayed its hand, and has disregarded the venerable maxim, “do not bite the hand that feeds you.”

 Like Russia, Xi Jinping has become much more emboldened since Biden’s Afghan debacle in conducting belligerent war games around the island of Taiwan since House Speaker’s Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) diplomatic visit to Taipei on August 2 and 3 and Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) five-member delegation to Taipei on August 14. China strongly suspects that Biden is weak, cognitively impaired, and might not deploy U.S. troops or fighter jets to Taiwan if Beijing invades the island. 

Xi Jinping has boldly been “testing the waters” over the past month, but he knows that a massive lightning-fast, nocturnal above-the-waves air blitz against Taiwan would be extremely difficult to detect by either U.S. or Taiwanese radar or satellites except for passive sonar systems (buoys), hydrophones or other oceanic sound-sensitive devices while leaving the eighty-six islands in the 90-mile-wide Taiwan Straits to wither on the vine. Xi Jinping has wisely studied General Douglas MacArthur’s and Admiral Chester Nimitz’s highly successful island-hopping strategy during World War II.

In the meantime, Communist China has literally much to profit from the sudden power vacuum in Afghanistan. This includes the Chinese air force and commercial airlines potentially using the two concrete runways of Bagram air base, “the most recent of which is just more than two miles long,” courtesy of the American taxpayers at a “cost of $96 million” with the air base located only forty miles north of Kabul. Moreover, China can greatly profit in the future by exploiting Afghanistan’s $1 trillion worth of mineral wealth, which includes vast amounts of rare earth minerals, iron, gold, copper and “what could be one of the world’s biggest deposits of lithium,” which is essential for modern electrical vehicle batteries, computers, smartphones, solar panels and wind turbines.

One of the worst consequences of Biden’s Afghan debacle has been chronic hunger among the civilian population in 2021. Last January 22 million Afghans, which is 57.4% of the country’s population of 38,346,720, were facing a humanitarian catastrophe from severe malnutrition, starvation or famine according to the U.N. World Food Program because of the “worst drought in thirty years” and a bankrupt central government. Last winter’s dismal death toll, especially among children, is currently unknown. Most definitely this famine excluded the victorious Taliban, who have grown fat off the land. Unfortunately, this winter widespread hunger may be much more dire than 2021 with “19 million people considered [are] food insecure” with 6.6 million Afghans facing famine.

A second serious consequence to Biden’s day of infamy has been that Afghan women no longer have any civil rights in regard to a secondary or university education, employment or freedom of physical movement unless accompanied by a male chaperone. The throwback, misogynistic and bloodthirsty Taliban now require all Afghan women to live under tenth century Sharia law subject to public beatings or worse, and legally require them to wear the “all-covering head-to-toe burqa,” which is overbearingly hot in the summer.

Can you imagine any of Biden’s four granddaughters Naomi (28), Finnegan (22), Maisy (21), Natalie (18) or even the First Lady (71) living under such dreadful inhumane conditions? That is a good question for our “devout” Roman Catholic president, but his heartless indifference to women’s rights in Afghanistan was painfully obvious on August 15, 2021. Biden simply did not care about the cruel fate that awaited every Afghan woman and girl under the ghoulish and sadistic Taliban whose favorite form of wartime execution of either a U.S. or NATO soldier was impalement, decapitation or simultaneously both, which was often suppressed and heavily censored by the U.S. government from 2001-22.

The next two years for Afghanistan look extremely bleak thanks to Biden’s day of infamy on August 15, 2021. Now the Taliban are militarily stronger than they were on September 11, 2001 with the acquisition of approximately $7.12 billion (or $85 billion) worth of state-of-the-art U.S. weaponry delinquently left by our commander in chief. Making matters worse, there is also no longer any meaningful military opposition to the Taliban since they quickly crushed the Northern Alliance in “two or three weeks in [the] Panjshir valley” in late 2021.

It sadly remains to be seen what other foreign policy disasters await Biden’s presidency with almost twenty-nine months left until his administration ends on January 20, 2025 unless his Cabinet either invokes the 25th Amendment for obvious cognitive impairment or he resigns. I predict that his economic sanctions and proxy war against Russia in Ukraine along with his stated goal of regime change in Moscow last March 26 will eventually fail allowing the Russians to negotiate a land bridge to Crimea, Odessa or perhaps Moldova. I am almost afraid to think about what other foreign policy disasters await his administration, which could very well include another war in either Iran involving Israel or especially Taiwan.

Biden’s former boss from 2009 to 2017, President Barack Obama, once sagaciously said, “it’s impossible to overestimate Joe Biden’s ability to [expletive] things up….” His astute observation not only includes Biden’s Afghan debacle, but also his mismanagement of our economy or record inflation, a deepening recession, cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, foreign oil dependence, millions of illegal immigrants walking at will across our southern border, tons of deadly Chinese-supplied fentanyl trafficked with impunity by Mexican cartels (resulting in the death of 69,300 Americans in 2021), and Biden’s green energy shortsightedness, which dangerously makes the U.S. even more dependent on both Chinese solar panels and their rare earth metals of lithium, graphite and cobalt for electric car batteries. The list of Biden’s screwups and misguided policy decisions keeps growing by the month with no end in sight.

My fellow Americans, welcome to September 10, 2001 along with a much better armed and battle-hardened Taliban 2.0, who have once again given sanctuary to Al-Qaeda and other fanatical Islamic terrorists. As Mark Twain once said over a hundred years ago, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.”

–Robert L. Maronic, Roanoke

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