I read with interest Joseph Fischer’s letter (Sept. 4) trying to explain the debacle in Afghanistan. Though I doubt the retired Lt. Col. has listened to a Sergeant since he was in basic training, I’m offering my two cents anyway. In three combat tours in Vietnam, I led a six-man Recon team with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. We were always inserted deep into enemy territory, with little to no back up. I had two hard and fast rules: Never willfully hurt children and never leave a man behind. Unlike President Biden, if I had a man hurt or killed, I took full responsibility for it, I didn’t blame my team, the enemy, or anyone else. It was my mission, my fault. Regardless, no one was left behind, living or dead.
I read the terms President Trump had with the Taliban. They only respect strength and they believed what he told them. He told them not to move, and they didn’t. He told them no U.S. service person will be harmed, and for a year and a half, no soldier died. He told the Taliban leaders, if you harm one American, I know where you live. We’ll take out your villages.
Trump scheduled the withdrawal before the fighting season started. His order of withdrawal was Americans, Allies, Afghani civilians, remove or destroy all bases and equipment, then withdraw the troops. LTC Fischer, if you can see one thing wrong with that strategy, please tell me.
Then along comes President Biden. He changed everything in Trump’s plan just to have a showboat time come Sept. 11. He was surprised how rapidly the Taliban moved. Even though their progress was on the nightly news. He refused to listen to the Pentagon, the CIA, NSA, or anyone else who were telling him how bad things were. He was removing troops before the civilians were evacuated. He extended the withdrawal into the fighting season.
Now, the kicker. He blamed Trump, the Afghan army, the intelligence community. Now he blames those who didn’t make it out. It’s the American civilians fault. He takes credit for the Americans evacuated even though many were brought out by our Allies, and volunteer civilians, who risk everything to save Americans. He gave them no credit, taking it all for himself.
I know of no one who wanted us to stay in Afghanistan. And that’s not the point. It’s how the withdrawal was handled, and despite the excuses from Biden, it was a total disaster of his making, and no one else. He just has to finally be a man and accept responsibility. Many of the families of those killed in the terrorist attack, wish him to rot in hell and said so. Biden’s shortcomings from foreign policy to his mental decline were well known. To those of you who voted for him anyway, the blood of those men and woman blown up is on your hands.
William J. Folk,