When I first arrived at the 101st Airborne Division, a captain in my battalion pulled me aside and taught me a lesson that would stick with me for years. He said that for officers and leaders in his unit, there was only one rule: ''Figure it out.''
In other words, ''Don’t cry, don’t complain, don’t make excuses.'' It was a lesson that served me well during my Army career and deployment to the Middle East, and it cuts to the core of what American military leadership should look like: we lead from the front, and we always stay in the fight until the objective is complete.
There couldn’t be a sharper contrast between that lesson and the Biden administration’s unprecedented incompetence and unwillingness to protect Americans.
Never in my life did I expect to see such a grotesque and rapid collapse of American credibility in foreign policy, nor did I ever expect to see an American president so utterly incapable of rising to the level of events during a crisis.
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ once-shocking quote that Joe Biden has ''been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades," has proved to be a colossal understatement of Biden’s ineptitude.
Joe Biden didn’t just turn a planned withdrawal into a geopolitical catastrophe, his incompetence also led to the deaths of 13 American service members and left hundreds of American citizens stranded with no way of escape.
The administration has so far shown no intention or strategy for saving the Americans it abandoned beyond issuing ''strongly worded statements'' that revolve around shaming the Taliban into submission with empty words about international norms. The profound stupidity of believing that faculty lounge rhetoric will effectively deter a regime of medieval Islamist radicals cannot be overstated.
The damage he’s already caused is cataclysmic.
The Taliban, led by at least one convicted terrorist released from Guantanamo Bay by Barack Obama, are now equipped with billions of dollars of American-made weapons, munitions, military vehicles and combat aircraft. American citizens who have been stranded are reporting that the Taliban are ''hunting Americans.''
The British, French and Dutch have rescued their own endangered citizens while our Secretary of Defense complains that we lack the ''capability'' to take decisive action.
Yet, consequences beyond Afghanistan are still to come.
The relative peace and security of the global community rests squarely on American military strength and the credibility of our leadership.
After the catastrophe in Kabul, can Joe Biden effectively deter the Chinese from seizing Taiwan?
Can he prevent the Iranian mullahs from advancing their nuclear weapons program or the Russians from becoming more aggressive in Eastern Europe?
Other potential dangers are already within the homeland. We already know that an estimated 100 Afghan refugees who have been brought into the U.S. were flagged for terrorist ties. Others are elderly Afghan men claiming young girls are their ''wives.''
Even while the Biden administration was in the process of abandoning American citizens on the Taliban’s timetable, they were importing potential terrorists onto American soil. It’s a level of incompetence and betrayal that has seldom been seen in U.S. history.
Through all of this, one thing has become crystal clear: Joe Biden is a disgrace.
He’s gone on vacation to Camp David and his home in Delaware while Americans are in harm’s way.
He’s hid from the press while the Taliban hunt American citizens, and he’s shown callous disregard for the Gold Star families of the American heroes killed.
His administration is an insult to the American people, and it’s an insult to every member of the armed forces who has served to make this country a safer place.
Rather than fulfill his oath as commander in chief, Joe Biden is content to take his orders from the Taliban. A president who leaves American citizens behind enemy lines is no president at all, and Joe Biden is clearly unworthy of the office he holds.
When I was in the Army, I learned that when things get difficult you figure it out. However, Joe Biden has chosen the exact opposite approach.
He’s given up, and now he’s going to try and gaslight the American people into forgetting what he’s done.
That absolutely cannot happen.
There must be accountability for Joe Biden and for the members of his administration who have presided over one of the worst foreign policy debacles in U.S. history.
Jake Bequette is a candidate for U.S. Senate in Arkansas and a former All-SEC Razorback football player, NFL Super Bowl Champion, and Army veteran who deployed to Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division.
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