As the abandonment in Afghanistan played out over the last few weeks, the Biden administration left behind billions of dollars worth of military gear for the Taliban. For a while, the administration didn’t even know which equipment was left behind.
Meanwhile, my husband was doing inventory with his Army unit. The contrast couldn’t have been greater. They sorted meticulously through the equipment, with the understanding that the commanding officer would personally pay for any items that went missing. Furthermore, missing items of a sensitive nature, such as a piece of a gun, could result in many people up the chain of command losing rank. The goal, besides perpetual readiness, is that we never give our enemies an item they could use against us.
As I watched Biden’s choices play out, again and again, I was baffled. The stubborn insistence that every move he made was intentional and right confounded me the most. The lost lives of the service men and women deserve their own separate column, as it is the most profound grief I recall our nation feeling since September 11, 2001. The equipment is secondary in value to the deaths of our heroes, but still worth mourning, as it will probably result in the deaths of many more.
The Taliban doesn’t know how to use most of it, but they do know how to sell it. China will presumably be the Taliban’s number one customer. Our greatest enemy will have access to our weaponry secrets and be able to replicate and use it as they please.
In this way, the endless war hasn’t ended. Pulling out in this manner gave power to all of our enemies and made us look weak to the world. What the “no more endless war” crowd missed was that we aren’t the only ones who get a say in whether we’re at war–our enemies have a say as well. Our war didn’t begin on September 11, 2001. al-Qaeda was plotting to kill Americans long before that day. And our enemies will not stop hunting us just because we aren’t there to keep an eye on them.
That is why the turnover of American military equipment concerns me deeply. We enabled and funded our enemies, the same people who chant “Death to America,” with cheerful smiles on their faces. And Biden has yet to show any understanding of the significance of what has happened. He even appears annoyed, frustrated, and impatient when the subject comes up.
Will Joe Biden take responsibility like an Army officer and pay for the equipment he lost? Will he lose “rank,” as an Army officer would, by resigning? Surely, the commander of our troops would hold himself to as high of a standard as those underneath him.
He would, that is, if he had any integrity at all.
“There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection.” –George MacDonald in The Princess and Curdie