Rep. Mike Cheokas shares Rep. Dave Belton’s words on Afghanistan
Published 11:39 am Wednesday, September 8, 2021
I have had the distinct honor of serving with State Representative Dave Belton for over 10 years. He is currently Chairman of the Special Rules Committee and is an strong advocate for our military at the State Capitol. Representative Belton Chaired the Study Committee on improving the quality of life for our military families in the state of Georgia. I had the opportunity in 2017 to join Chairman Belton on a Study Committee trip to the Pentagon. The following article by State Representative Dave Belton is not only thoughtful and insightful, it comes from the heart of a man whose service to our Country and our State is motivated by his love of our Nation.
State Representative Mike Cheokas, District 138.
Lance Corporal David Lee Espinoza, 20, of Rio Bravo, Texas
Sergeant Nicole Gee, 23, of Roseville, California
Staff Sergeant Taylor Hoover, 31, of Salt Lake City, Utah
Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss, 23, of Knoxville, Tennessee
Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, 20, of Bondurant, Wyoming
Corporal Hunter Lopez, 22, of Indio, California
Lance Corporal Dylan R. Merola, 20, of Rancho Cucamonga, California
Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, 20, of Norco, California
Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo, 25, of Lawrence, Mass.
Corporal Humberto Sanchez, 22, of Logansport, Indiana
Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page, 23, of Omaha, Nebraska
Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, 20, of St. Charles, Missouri
These brave fallen gave “the last full measure” so that no American would be left behind.
Almost of them were too young to remember 9/11.
Despite what you’ve been told, Kissinger negotiated an honorable exit to Vietnam. After decades of being handcuffed by LBJ, the US military was finally allowed to their jobs when Nixon authorized Operation Linebacker; the widespread bombing of Hanoi. Stunned, the North Vietnamese immediately came to the negotiating table, which resulted in the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. All US combat troops left Vietnam – peacefully – two months later.
The “Fall of Saigon” happened two years later, April of 1975. After the Congress refused to help our former ally, the South Vietnamese – outnumbered four to one – stood alone against North Vietnamese and Chinese Communists. The famous rooftop helicopter evacuation was of embassy personnel and South Vietnamese; not the withdrawal of US forces, or of US citizens.
Weeks ago, Biden promised us we wouldn’t see another “Saigon moment” as he unilaterally withdrew US armed forces from the NATO mission.
This isn’t Saigon…it’s more like Dunkirk. Afghanistan fell in just two days – not two years – after our State Department assured us it wouldn’t happen.
For years, the Media obsessed over every nuance of Trump. But it is undeniable that he fulfilled his most sacred obligation: he kept America safe. During the Trump administration, the US annihilated ISIS, kept China in check, stopped the Russia pipeline, and negotiated the historic Abraham Peace Accords in the Middle East.
Biden stopped the Keystone Pipeline in the US, and then invited the Russians to build their own pipeline into Europe. Then he begged OPEC to provide more oil…that we had been producing for ourselves. China is now officially threatening Taiwan, saying that if they’re expecting the US to protect them, they should look at the current debacle. Our NATO allies are stunned by our fecklessness. Russian and Chinese Embassies are happily open in Afghanistan, while America’s lost embassy is flying a Taliban flag.
Biden overruled his generals. Instead of focusing on protecting America, he forced our military to concentrate on social studies experiments. Worse, he abandoned the heavily fortified Bagram Air Base to terrorists, along with over $80 billions of dollars of US military equipment.
The Taliban now has more attack helicopters than any of our NATO allies.
Biden claims the Afghans refused to fight for their own country. Actually, over the past year, some 60,000 Afghans gave their lives to combat the Taliban. During that same time, not one US soldier lost their life. The odious disaster we’re currently in, started when Biden told the Taliban that we were leaving before 911. We also stopped providing air support. Like the South Vietnamese, the Afghans were alone.
The Southern Border is completely out of control. DHS Secretary Mayorkas privately admitted that the situation is “unsustainable” and that “we’re going to lose.” Now, Al Qaeda has a safe place to train their terrorists, and an open US border they can easily access to bring their violence home to our shores.
Hospitals in Texas are reporting that virtually all of their recent COVID patients are from these new illegals. At a time when we’re being asked to mask up again, we’re importing tens of thousands of COVID positive people into our country. Worse, record amounts of deadly drugs, especially fentanyl, are pouring across our undefended border. In just one year alone, 93,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, a figure that is “huge, historic, unheard-of,” according to health officials.
This week, Biden angrily addressed the nation, demanding praise for his “extraordinary success”. Attempting to take a victory lap for the mess that he’s made, he doubled-down on the false narrative that chaos couldn’t have been avoided.
Yet, we’re still in Germany, and Japan, and Italy, and Korea, and 70 other nations including Syria and Iraq. Those 800 bases – some of them very small – have kept the homeland safe for the past 75 years, giving us the intelligence we need to use “over the horizon” targeting. Without them, we are blind, just like we were before 9/11.
The one place where we don’t have intelligence anymore…is Afghanistan.
A few days ago, nearly 90 retired generals and admirals signed a letter demanding accountability for the “tragic and avoidable debacle.” Noting that we’ve given these terrorists a historic victory, they said, “The consequences of the disaster are enormous and will reverberate for decades, beginning with the safety of Americans and Afghans who are…hostages of the Taliban.”
This is not the end of our troubles. It is a beginning of a new and more dangerous era. “The damage to the US is indescribable,” said the generals. “We are seen, and will be seen for many years, as an unreliable partner… Trust in the US is irreparably damaged.”
“China benefits the most,” they said, “followed by Russia, Pakistan, Iran, North Korea and others.” They also warned that, “terrorists around the world are emboldened and able to pass freely into our country through our open border with Mexico.”
China is threatening Taiwan, Putin is ordering the US not re-position forces in Central Asia, and North Korea is revamping its nuclear weapons program. In the meantime, the US is openly discussing using American tax-payer money to bribe terrorists to allow us to rescue our stranded Americans…in a country where we don’t have an embassy.
Of course, the Chinese and Russia embassies in Kabul are still open and functioning.
We don’t leave Americans behind.
Afghanistan was a NATO mission. The reason our allies were there at all, was to show solidarity with the US after we were attacked on 9/11.
Yet, without telling our allies, we unexpectedly pulled out of that NATO mission, leaving American citizens – and our allies’ citizens – in mortal peril.
NATO responded with an emergency meeting, stating, “For the last 20 years, we have successfully denied terrorists a safe haven to instigate their attacks.” They begged Biden to remain until everyone was evacuated, calling the situation “dire”. Biden refused, sticking to his arbitrary deadline. Now, our allies are openly wondering if they can, “proceed in an alliance when Europeans and Americans have, not opposite, but different interests.” A British security advisor said, “NATO has been completely overtaken by American unilateral decisions.” A high level German official stated, “The early withdrawal was a serious and far-reaching miscalculation by the current administration,” and that “this does fundamental damage to the political and moral credibility of the West.” German Chancellor Merkel said, “For those who believed in democracy and freedom, especially for women, these are bitter events.” Another German foreign policy expert said, “One can only hope that the damage to America’s foreign policy leadership can be quickly contained.” And French President Macron is openly discussing a new “strategic autonomy”, because Europe no longer trusts America.
Our closest partner is the most shocked. The British Parliament also called an emergency meeting, imploring Biden to “hold the line for freedom.” Former Prime Minister Tony Blair – a long-time loyal friend of the US – called our retreat “imbecilic”. And the British press is mourning the death of the “special relationship” between our countries.
British MP Tom Tugendhat, a veteran of Afghanistan who was decorated by the US 82nd Airborne, said he was sad to criticize America, but, “To see their commander in chief call into the question the courage of men I’ve fought with…to claim that they ran…shameful. Those who have never fought for the colors they fly, should be careful about criticizing those who have.” Noting that it is nations and not armies that wins wars, he implored NATO to unite together “to hold the line” for freedom. “We know that patience wins. We know, because we have achieved it.” He then mentioned our decades long commitments to places like Germany, Japan, and South Korea. “Let’s stop talking about forever wars. Let’s recognize that forever peace is not bought cheaply…but hard, through determination, and the will to endure.”
Feeling left out, Nancy Pelosi also called an emergency meeting…but not about Afghanistan. Instead, she implored Congress to vote for a colossal $3.5 Trillion spending package that we can’t afford.
The G-7 nations of the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan also held an emergency meeting. Again, Biden told them that he had contingency plans to delay the deadline until we got everyone back home. But when the Taliban heard about the President’s promise, they told him no. “It’s a red line.”
So…a week after telling the world that we wouldn’t leave our people behind, the Leader of the Free World broke his promise to his nation – and his allies – and cowered to terrorists. Abandoning hundreds of Americans, and thousands of our allies, he hustled our nation into a shameful defeat.
There are already reports of door-to-door executions of America’s friends. Girls are already being forced into unwanted “marriages”. Women who’ve enjoyed years of freedom and education are being thrown back into the Middle Ages. Some 2 million Afghans orphans are facing the cruelty of the Taliban. And a stranded Afghan interpreter said, “We have been left to die. We will be found by the Taliban and killed.”
This is not who we are. We don’t leave Americans behind.
The Washington Post calls this “a moral failure”. The United Nations is warning of a “humanitarian disaster”. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that an interpreter that risked his life in a blinding snow storm in a dangerous valley to save Senator Biden back in 2008 was also left behind. We also abandoned 500 US-sponsored journalists of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. And we still don’t know how many Americans we’ve betrayed.
The military should be celebrated for successfully airlifting 124,000 people out of the hell-hole Biden created. Over the past score of years, we’ve spent a trillion dollars, and sent almost a million of our sons and daughters to Afghanistan – thousands whom never came back, and tens of thousands that came back with missing limbs –to keep America safe.
Their sacrifice was not in vain. For twenty years, America has been safe.
The sacrifice of veterans of Korea and Vietnam and the Persian Gulf was also not in vain. With the sad exception of 9/11, for seventy-five years, America has been safe. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines faithfully completed their mission.
This war wasn’t lost by our military. It was lost by 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
We now know that Biden knew the Taliban would conquer Afghanistan after we retreated. At the same time he was telling US reporters that it was “highly unlikely” that the Taliban would prevail, he told the Afghan President to change “the perception” that the Taliban was winning, “whether it is true or not,” said Biden.
Weeks later, Biden unceremoniously left the Afghans to their fate. He also left over $83B worth of US weapons; including 200 helicopters, 75,000 vehicles, 600,000 guns, and hordes of ammunition, night-vision goggles, and medical equipment; in terrorist hands. Even if they don’t know how to use that new equipment, they can easily sell it. Worse, China will reverse-engineer our technology to make weapons of their own. Not only that, but we left highly-sensitive biometric data of the people who helped us, and Biden admitted that we gave the Taliban lists of our hidden friends.
We literally left “kill lists” to help the terrorists murder our allies.
On the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, the Taliban is back in control, celebrating their improbable victory. Far more dangerous than ever before, they are vowing to form a new “cradle of jihad.” A day after we left, they mocked us with huge coffin-draped “funerals” for the US and our NATO allies. “The world should have learned its lesson,” said a Taliban spokesman, “this is the enjoyable moment of victory.”
And we’re still relying on the tender mercies of terrorists to get Americans safely home.
Representative Dave Belton
Representative Belton is a US Navy and Air Force pilot who retired at Robins AFB at Warner Robins, Georgia. He has fought in 5 different conflicts and decorated over twenty times.