Email Ken Stallings   Abdication of Duty

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In the feudal age, when monarchs had near unlimited power, there was still the concept that even the king, if he made such grievous errors that the future of his domain was threatened, the final honorable action was abdication of the throne.  In more modern times, the concept of resignation has become the vehicle for people of integrity to distance themselves from either a situation that would compromise their integrity, or remove themselves from the office that their ineptness betrayed.

Marine Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Scheller took the only honorable path he felt available to him, and resigned his commission of 17 years, a day after he used social media to excoriate senior military commanders for their failure to hold themselves accountable for their abysmal strategic failures in the Afghanistan withdrawal.  For Scheller, the ISIS homicide bombing was the final straw.  Despite his public demands, no general officer in the US military has resigned, or even been removed from their commands.

The abdication of duty only finishes with them; it starts with President Joe Biden.

As bad as things were a week ago, another seven days of revelations write a story of criminal negligence, homicidal duplicity, and utter contempt for public duty.  Among the horrors we learned is that the US military had a remotely piloted aircraft, likely an MQ-9 Reaper, targeting the ISIS bombers as they were driving to the Kabul airport, and were ready to fire a Hellfire missile that in about 30 seconds would have ended the attack before it even began.  For reasons not yet known, the fire authorization was refused.  The terrorists were allowed to proceed to their mission site, and kill 13 American service members and about five times that number of Afghan civilians.

A few days later, another RPA attack was authorized, one that came under intense scrutiny for at best lacking in proper assessment of likely collateral risk, and at worst revealed horribly inept target selection.  How ironic, the actual target ready to kill, but authority withheld, and days later an attack carried out that killed far more innocent civilians than it did terrorists.

Biden made a speech later in which his level of incongruity boggled the imagination.  In a few sentences, he managed to both say that all Americans who wanted to get out of Afghanistan were able to, and then admitted that 90% of them were withdrawn.  Among the 10% left behind, Biden said it amounted to "just 100 to 200 people," though numerous other sources assert that thousands of Americans remain trapped in Afghanistan.  To this, we also learned that many American civilians were stranded outside the gates leading to the Kabul airport.  Americans holding US passports were denied entry by the Taliban that the Biden administration outrageously placed in charge of perimeter security.  The same Taliban beat and threatened American civilians at gunpoint if they did not immediately forfeit their right to leave Afghanistan and leave the gate area.

This is the same Taliban that managed to allow the ISIS bombers to enter through at least two perimeter checkpoints before reaching US forces and blowing themselves up.

We also learned that Biden was offered by the Taliban the option that the United States military could retain control of Kabul city, and the Taliban would agree to remain outside the city, a deal that Biden refused.  This bungle cemented the tragedy of the ISIS bombing attack, by denying the kind of perimeter security control that is essential to safeguarding any site engaged in the evacuation of Americans and other civilians from a war zone.

Security requirements that cadets at West Point are taught were flagrantly violated, and the four star generals in charge went along with it vice resign in protest to its invitation of disaster.  The blood of those 13 service members lays firmly on the hands of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and CENTCOM commander Kenneth McKenzie.  All three of these officers should have resigned over any one of these multiple egregious mistakes in basic military operational requirements  That none of them did, cements their legacy of politics placed above duty.  Their examples will remain tarnished for generations.

Bagram Air Base was the ideal secure airfield from which to center our evacuation mission.  Not one soldier should have left Afghanistan prior to the fall of the government until all American civilians were safely evacuated.  Then, the stockpile of about $38 billion in military hardware should have been flown out to safety, or destroyed on site.  Only after those two vital objectives were achieved should the US military had started their withdrawal.  During that withdrawal, the proper security perimeter should have been maintained, and the last phase, the most critical of all, when that perimeter was collapsed to the heart of the airport, sufficient overhead assets should have remained on station to ensure any terror or military attack would have been blunted, and those who launched it forced to pay a severe price.

It should not have mattered at all whether the completion of that sort of withdrawal mission was on 31 August, or any day that followed.  Duty demanded that this be done, and duty also demanded the immediate resignation of every single senior military commander who was given orders they knew would risk defeat and tragic loss of life.  At some point, those honorable resignations would have forced the Biden administration to abandon their headlong efforts to put politics ahead of sound military strategy.

Yet, no one resigned, except a single Marine Lt. Colonel, and everything as done was precisely the opposite of sound military doctrine.  Bagram was abandoned months before the final evacuations.  The military and diplomatic teams were withdrawn before all American civilians were withdrawn.  We not only abandoned these Americans, not only left behind the handful of Afghanis who truly worked in partnership with our military mission, but we also handed the biometric data of those remaining Americans and Afghan allies to the Taliban, who can now use that data to hunt down, identify, and perhaps murder all these people.

As far as the 13 service members who were killed, Biden thought so little of their service, that in an infamous camera shot, Biden went instantly from rendering honors to looking at his watch.  To add further insult, he spent the valuable time he had with surviving family members, speaking more about his eldest son's death from brain cancer, than in speaking to the recent deaths of those service members. Biden's actions were so lacking in sympathy, that most of the families were openly hostile to him.

Finally, we learn that back in July, when there was still time to reverse the situation, in a private phone call with the former Afghani President, the American President clearly asked his Afghan counterpart to lie, to fabricate a positive narrative.  The Afghan President refused to do this, and instead pointedly informed Biden that his nation faced the combined threat of the Taliban, Pakistani military and intelligence assistance, and between 10,000 to 15,000 terror fighters.  Biden chose to ignore that threat entirely and instead remained focused on political goals to the exclusion of basic morality and duty.

To conclude it all, the current President gave a recent speech where he boldly declared a great victory, an effort that seems to have galvanized a level of disgust long overdue.  Polls now shown Biden six to ten points under water in overall job approval, and even a great number of Democrats now believe it is time for the Biden administration to be forced out of office.

Absent Biden's resignation, he should be impeached and removed from office for the various high crimes of colluding openly with avowed enemies of the United States, providing material aid and military equipment to those same enemies, abandoning thousands of American civilians, obligations to protect that President Biden abandoned, and finally for profligating, lying, and denying the American people the truth of the emerging disaster, an action that directly resulted in needless American deaths, by a terror attack the President had the means to prevent, but refused to order defeated.

It's a terrible national price to pay just because some Americans didn't like how the previous President wrote social media posts.  Well, the truth of Donald Trump's tweets were never accompanied by the tragic deaths of American soldiers, nor by the wholesale abdication of essential duty.  As it is now, Biden should resign from office.  But, he won't.  Such resignation requires integrity, something Biden and his team have never possessed.  We should remove him and them from office.

-- Ken Stallings

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