- - Thursday, August 19, 2021

Instead of peace through strength, Joe Biden has chaos through incompetence. What is happening in Afghanistan is an absolute disaster. Worst of all, it could have been avoided—if not for the arrogance and ignorance of key members of the Biden administration. 

In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, President Joe Biden said, “The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing—-I don’t know how that happens.” Forgive me, but that is bulls—-. 

First, if Mr. Biden knew there would be this kind of chaos, why did he schedule a vacation for this time? They would have had a statement and a speech ready to go.  Instead, they had to scramble to throw things together because they did not know this would happen in Afghanistan

On July 8, 2021, Mr. Biden stated, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.” He also said, “the Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped—as well-equipped as any army in the world—and an Air Force, against something like 75,000 Taliban.” 

Remember, the former Secretary of Defense to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama wrote about Joe Biden in his book: “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” These are not the words of a political operative but a respected leader in the intelligence, defense, and foreign policy fields.  Secretary Robert Gates was a prophet. 

Second, people have been warning about this for some time. In May, leaders of one of the many faith-based organizations in Afghanistan, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), sent a letter to the Biden administration specifically requesting that the U.S. government remove Afghan civilians who had worked with our government before they went forward with the planned troop withdrawal.  

During his address to the nation, President Joe Biden stated, “Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave early, still hopeful for their country. And part of it is because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, a crisis of confidence.”

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of LIRS, claimed that Afghans did not want to leave the country “misleading at best.” She went on to say, “We have been in touch with countless SIV recipients who have been desperate to leave Afghanistan for months and have not been able to due to insufficient financial resources and inadequate flight accessibility through international organizations.”

In April, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the annual threat assessment. The report said the “ Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield, and the Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.”

Even some Democrats are starting to raise questions. Virginia Senator Mark Warner stated, “intelligence officials have anticipated for years that in the absence of the U.S. military, the Taliban would continue to make gains in Afghanistan. That is exactly what has happened.” 

Senator Warner said he would “ask tough but necessary questions about why we weren’t better prepared for a worst-case scenario involving such a swift and total collapse of the Afghan government and security forces. We owe those answers to the American people and to all those who served and sacrificed so much.”

It amazes me that the Commander-in-Chief has not been more on top of this situation. One of the most important things I learned about being governor was that you must be there during a crisis. Whether it is a mass shooting, a natural disaster, or some other horrible situation, people need to see their leaders in times of crisis. Joe Biden gave a weak speech that ignored the current circumstances, avoided questions, and returned on vacation. Total leadership failure.  

There are, however, leaders who come to mind when I think of Afghanistan.  Army Pfc. Jacob Gassen is one. He died of wounds sustained when an insurgent attacked his unit in the Pachir Wa Agam district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, on November 29, 2010. His was the first funeral visitation after I was elected governor.  Like so many others who served there, he was a hero. 

My last trip to Afghanistan was just before Christmas in 2016. Two other governors and I were making a global tour to see troops during the holidays.  We stayed at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and flew out to Bagram Air Force Base.  It was dangerous then. I can only imagine what it is like now. 

Sadly, it did not have to end this way in Afghanistan. Joe Biden’s incompetence brought us chaos. Let’s pray it doesn’t get much worse.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker. 

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