- - Tuesday, March 8, 2022

As the world watches desperate civilians flee Ukraine, I am reminded of similar scenes in which Afghans fled their home country for the safety of a foreign flag. Only six months before in Kabul, men fell from airplanes and terrified mothers pushed babies into the arms of young Marines. This was also the scene in Baghdad 12 years ago when ISIS seized power and 47 years before that in Saigon. In each of these four tragic events, there remained one common denominator: Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

On the day he became president, Mr. Biden signed an executive order canceling the Keystone XL pipeline, scuttling thousands of jobs and America’s energy independence with one stroke of a pen. This marked Mr. Biden’s first frontal assault on U.S. oil and gas production in his crusade to gain party favor. The reality, however, is that U.S. consumption of oil did not magically decrease just because the president promised the international community he’d curb our carbon footprint. Like most strong leaders understand, wanting a thing doesn’t actually make it so. The switch from fossil fuel to renewable energy dependency — if that’s really what the American people want — takes time. As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s missiles obliterate Ukrainian cities, the U.S. spends $1 billion a day importing Russian oil. The Biden administration is funding a madman’s war. 

History may not hold Mr. Biden liable for the invasion of Ukraine, but it will be difficult for him to escape blame for the fall of Kabul. When I left Kabul in January 2021, during my final combat deployment, the country was not stable by any stretch of the imagination. It was best classified as controlled chaos. In the evening, Taliban forces would walk through scarcely manned outposts called “Checkpoints” with little-to-no resistance. We suspected the Afghan National Defense Security Forces simply walked away, leaving behind their weapons and equipment. In the morning, those same ANDSF forces would retake the now abandoned checkpoint and the scene repeated itself nearly every day. Gen. Scott Miller, the last commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan and NATO Resolute Support Mission, had devised a plan to leave behind a force of 2,500 troops, no more and no less. This was a Quick Reaction Force whose purpose was to quell major advances by the Taliban. Bagram Air Base would be the center of mass for this effort with a few outlying posts to maintain situational awareness. 

Mr. Biden’s team neither approved nor disapproved the plan. They simply did nothing. In the end, the Biden administration shamelessly blamed the hasty pullout on former President Donald Trump’s Doha Agreement. The narrative that Mr. Biden was bound by the agreement was categorically false. Mr. Trump was not even bound by his own agreement due to the Taliban’s consistent failure to adhere to its terms. We were expected to believe that Mr. Biden could overturn every policy of the prior administration but was suddenly and inextricably bound to this one agreement. But we know how the story ends. Thirteen service members were murdered, Americans were abandoned, and an entire country was left in shambles with a humanitarian crisis on the horizon. 

Mr. Biden’s pattern of not taking responsibility for his decisions was echoed in the fall of Iraq to ISIS. Then the vice president of the United States, Mr. Biden was sent to negotiate the Status of Forces Agreement, which provided protection for our service members while in Iraq. The lifelong politician failed to secure the SOFA, forcing a withdrawal of U.S. Forces. I watched from Basra, Iraq, as convoy after convoy was hit by insurgents during the hasty withdrawal. This ultimately opened the way for ISIS, or “the JV squad” as former President Barack Obama dismissively called them.

Leaving people behind is Mr. Biden’s Modus Operandi. In 1975, the freshman senator voted to refuse to fund the South Vietnamese Army, leading to the absolute collapse of Saigon. My mother always said that the Americans gave us guns without bullets, but I never understood until now that she was referring to lawmakers like Mr. Biden.

“The U.S. has no obligation to evacuate one or 100,001 South Vietnamese.” These words were from the man who received five draft deferments for asthma while young American men died far from home. Fortunately, Mr. Biden’s vote didn’t keep me from coming to the United States in April 1975. Just as my own mother had sewn money and a note inside the hem of my pants that read, “this is our son, please take care of him,” in case we were separated during our escape, parents in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Ukraine have suffered the same agonizing reality of war. 

Despite Mr. Biden’s consistent record of abandonment, I grew to realize that the United States was so much better than men like him. After I graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, I received an appointment at the United States Naval Academy. I wanted to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best this nation had to offer: men and women who embodied honor, courage and commitment to the country that gave my family a home. It has been my greatest privilege to serve the United States in uniform all over the world. 

As we look toward the future, many of us recognize that we are at a crossroads. A strong America has always meant a more secure world, but unfortunately, our current leadership has demonstrated a startling lack of resolve in the face of conflict both at home and abroad. All is not lost, however, and there is great reason for hope. Thanks to leaders like Mr. Biden, the silent majority will no longer be silent. We have found our voice and it will be heard in November. Take heart America, a new generation of leaders is rising from the ashes. Men and women uncomfortable with safety and unapologetic in our love for this country are going to Washington.

• Hung Cao is a Republican candidate for Virginia’s 10th Congressional District. Capt. Cao served in the U.S. Navy for over two decades in a number of conflict zones including Iraq and Afghanistan.

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