When you join the U.S. armed forces, one of the most critical principles you commit to is the notion that “no one gets left behind.”
As someone who served nearly 20 years and flew over 30 combat missions in the Middle East, I know the importance of this commitment. When you are in a life-or-death situation, facing enemy fire, you need to know that, as you take the necessary risks to support your team and your country, you will not be left behind. We ask that our wingmen trust us, and in exchange they know we trust them.
President Joe Biden must not abandon the Americans and Afghan allies who are stuck in Afghanistan and directly in harm’s way. Anything less than the full evacuation of these men, women and children is inexcusable. It is disheartening and disgusting to see President Biden continue to adhere to the arbitrary troop withdrawal date of Aug. 31, which was set on the Taliban’s terms.
Withdrawing our troops before ensuring every American and Afghan ally is evacuated from harm’s way is preposterous and directly disregards the sole commitment of “no man left behind.”
Biden’s reckless withdrawal has now resulted in the loss of at least 13 service members in one day, one of the deadliest days for our military in the past 20 years. Prior to this botched withdrawal, we had not lost a service member in Afghanistan in 18 months. I have said from the day the president announced his plan to unconditionally withdraw from Afghanistan with a set date that he would only fuel the global war on terror and embolden terrorists. This has sadly proven to be true.
As someone who served in the U.S. military, I want this president to care and be as angry as the rest of us are about this tragedy. He needs to fight. When American lives or our allies are threatened, you enter the battle, and you fight until you prevail, and everyone is home safely. Our Afghan partners fought alongside us and saved American lives for 20 years and we owe them more than this abandonment.
Not only is it cowardly to not save the lives of Americans and the many Afghans who risked their lives for our nation, but also it is a direct threat to our nation’s security. The Biden administration’s botched withdrawal and failure to follow through on promises, some decades old, to our allies in Afghanistan are signaling to our allies around the globe that we neither stand by our allies nor do we deliver on our promises. Our word is worthless right now. Biden has created a massive power vacuum in one of the world’s breeding grounds for terror.
Furthermore, we have signaled to our adversaries – from the Taliban to China – that we are weak and vulnerable. I would argue that America is more vulnerable today than on Sept. 10, 2001.
Now, the Taliban not only has control over Afghanistan, a set-up to create a safe haven for terrorists, but also the U.S. has handed over roughly $80 billion in U.S. military equipment. When I was in the Navy, if you simply misplaced a rifle you would be severely disciplined – yet the U.S. government misplaces $80 billion worth of military equipment and it’s like nothing happened.
This entire situation was entirely preventable and predictable. It is tragic to see this nightmare continue to unravel.
My message is this, to President Biden: Abandon the withdrawal date but do not abandon Americans and our allies. The president needs to stop acting like the chief diplomat and instead act as the commander-in-chief.
To our Americans and allies trapped in Afghanistan: Please know we are praying for you and my office is doing all we can to help. Since the process to evacuate people at this time falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of State and Department of Defense, our office is limited in scope of action, but we remain committed to doing all we can. Please call my office if we can assist you.
To the many American veterans and civilians who have taken up grassroots efforts to help evacuate people from Afghanistan – thank you and God bless you.
And last but not least, to my fellow veterans, especially those who served in the global war on terror – know that it is normal to feel emotional right now. If you need someone to listen to you or need help, please call the Veteran Crisis Line: 800-273-8255. Also, please know that your service was not in vain.
I will continue to do everything in my power to call on President Biden to stop caving to the Taliban and instead stand up for all Americans and our allies, especially those still stuck in Afghanistan. America must stop bowing down to our adversaries and start once again standing up to them.
President Biden needs to stop giving hope to the bad guys.
Rep. Mike Garcia represents the 25th Congressional District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.