OPINION

Joe Biden and his administration have much to answer for in botched exit from Afghanistan

Chris Croft
Special to Gannett Kansas
Chris Croft

For 20 years, our military forces fought valiantly in Afghanistan to keep our homeland safe and afford the Afghan people a chance to control their own future, free from oppression.

I’m keenly aware of the challenges faced and sacrifices made by our service members and their families, as I served for 30 years in the military, deployed to Iraq twice, celebrated victories and shared in the loses that come with war.

Now that the mission has ended, instead of celebrating a job well done, Americans are frustrated that our president fumbled the withdrawal, demonstrating a total absence of executive leadership.

Our service members fought as a team to achieve the objectives set forth by four commanders — in-chief, both houses of Congress under both major political parties, and the American people. The disjointed and catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan demonstrates the total incompetence of the Biden administration. We left teammates, American citizens, allies and our Afghan partners, to fend for themselves in the wake of the Taliban’s triumph.

Thirteen brave American heroes also lost their lives in the chaos, and it didn’t need to happen.

Hundreds of Americans are still in Afghanistan who want to leave the country but were stranded by the administration. It is mind boggling that a country that prides itself on leaving no one behind has left Americans in harm's way.

The images that came out of Afghanistan were horrific; our precipitous withdrawal will have long-lasting effects, some yet unknown. We all saw the Afghans hanging onto a U.S. Air Force C-17, willing to risk possible injury or death in an attempt to avoid certain and brutal death for helping the United States. The video evokes stark comparisons to our abandonment of Saigon in 1975.

I’ve spoken to many friends who fought in Afghanistan, and they are furious about the abandonment of their teammates and of American citizens without a real exit strategy. Our military members fought hard and accomplished the mission they were given. Abandoning American citizens and Afghan allies on the battlefield is unacceptable.

Where is the leadership we expect and, frankly, were promised? The Biden campaign promised us a leader who was ready for the complexity of the world. Where was our leader over these past grueling weeks? On vacation at Camp David.

Just this past weekend, Joe Biden was again on vacation in Delaware, with Americans still stranded overseas. Kamala Harris has been largely silent on the issue as well and laughed at a question from a reporter when asked about the disastrous situation. Is this what Democratic Party leadership in America looks like? It is not what we were promised. Americans and our allies deserve better.

President Biden is not the only one we should hold accountable for this mess. What about his supporters and enablers in Congress? Rep. Sharice Davids, who is my representative, is a staunch supporter of President Biden, who endorsed her in 2020. In Davids’ statement and tweets on the crisis in Afghanistan, she did not call out the president for his leadership failures or press him for either an explanation or more action.

Weak leaders fail to step up when the situation calls for strong leadership. Action in the face of adversity and rising to the occasion is a hallmark of great leaders. What we are getting is silence.

This president’s poor leadership, and that of his enablers, are failing Kansans, failing Americans and failing our allies. Our leaders need to adjust their actions before we find ourselves facing the challenges of the future alone.

Rep. Chris Croft, R-Overland Park, is a veteran who served 30 years in the U.S. Army and deployed to Iraq twice.