[guest post by JVW]
The humiliation is complete:
The U.S. military completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on Monday, the Pentagon announced.
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuation American citizens, third country nationals and vulnerable Afghans,” General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said in a video appearance at a Pentagon press conference.
The last American military plane took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport shortly after midnight in Afghanistan time. No American troops are left in the country, and members of the Afghan military helping to guard the airport, along with their families, were evacuated along with the last U.S. troops.
However, up to 250 American citizens attempting to leave Afghanistan were left in the country as of Sunday evening, a State Department spokesperson told ABC News on Monday. Thousands of Afghan allies of the U.S. also remain in the country.
I have been listening to some National Review podcasts recently. NR Editor-in-Chief Rich Lowry often points out that we spent decades after our withdrawal believing there were hundreds of POWs left behind — just think of all of the movies in the 1980s with a rescue-the-troops-from-the-Cong theme — even though today we now understand that it is pretty murky as to whether or not there were ever more than a handful, if even that many. But now we have the potential of 250 Americans stuck in the hellhole that is Afghanistan, dependent now entirely upon the smooth talking of the Biden Administration and the — please give me a moment here to retch — good graces of the Taliban. Perhaps all of them will be returned home unharmed, but what exactly are we going to have to promise the new rulers of the country in order to ensure their safe passage?
General McKenzie assures us that an extra week or so wouldn’t have mattered: “I think if we stayed another ten days we wouldn’t have gotten everybody out that we wanted to get out, and there still would have been people who would have been disappointed in that.” The most powerful military the world has ever known can’t do anything to bring home 250 stranded citizens? We don’t lack the ability; we lack the will. This will be an important part of the legacy of President Joseph Biden. Hopefully it will serve as a decision that our future Commanders-in-Chief will repudiate, in the same way that Jimmy Carter’s fecklessness was repudiated after he left office.