Despite what you have been told, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger negotiated an honorable exit to Vietnam.

After decades of being handcuffed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. military was finally allowed to do their jobs when President Richard 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 U.S. combat troops left Vietnam peacefully two months later.

The “Fall of Saigon” happened two years later in April 1975. After the U.S. Congress refused to help our former allies in South Vietnam, these patriots stood alone and were outnumbered four to one against the North Vietnamese and the Chinese Communist Party. The famous rooftop helicopter evacuation was of embassy personnel, not the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Weeks ago, President Biden promised us we would not see another “Saigon moment” as he unilaterally withdrew U.S. armed forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) mission.

Actually, this is not Saigon; it’s more like Dunkirk. Afghanistan fell in just two days, not two years, after our state department assured us it would not happen.

For years, the media obsessed over every nuance of the former president and his many tweets. But, it is undeniable that he fulfilled his most sacred obligation: he kept America safe. During the Trump Administration, the U.S. annihilated ISIS, kept China in check, stopped the Russian pipeline and negotiated the historic Abraham Peace Accords in the Middle East.

Biden stopped the Keystone pipeline in the U.S. and then invited the Russians to build their own pipeline into Europe. Then, he begged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to provide more oil, which we could have been producing for ourselves. China is now officially threatening Taiwan, saying that if they are accepting the U.S. 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. Even worse, he abandoned the heavily fortified Bagram Air Base to terrorists, along with billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. military equipment.

The Taliban now has an air force.

Biden claims the Afghans refused to fight for their own country. Actually, over the past year, some 80,000 Afghans gave their lives to suppress the Taliban. During that same time, not one U.S. soldier lost their life. The odious disaster that we are currently in started when Biden told the Taliban that we were leaving before the 9/11 anniversary. We also stopped providing air support. Like the South Vietnamese, the Afghans were alone.

Biden ignored and then blamed his own U.S. intelligence. He has put tens of thousands of Americans in mortal peril who are now trapped in a hostile country. The White House admits they do not even know how many Americans they have left, but they think it is around 15,000.

Think about that. There are thousands of Americans left behind to fend for themselves in the most dangerous place in the world.

Biden promised to pull out the Afghans who have helped America over the past two decades. We have already received more than 50,000 applicants, but very few have been saved. In the meantime, the Taliban is reportedly going door to door, murdering allies we have left behind.

America’s friends are being slaughtered. Girls are being turned into sex slaves. Women who enjoyed years of education and optimism are being thrown back a thousand years. The humanitarian disaster, especially to women, is at biblical proportions. Yet, we have heard nothing from the first female vice president about this disaster.

This is not the end of our troubles. This is a new beginning. Twenty years after 9/11, Afghanistan is a more dangerous haven for terrorism than it ever was before. The Taliban is already bragging about their historic victory, vowing to form a new “cradle of jihad.” Thousands of terrorists have been released from prisons. These murderers will form a new hive of hatred that four presidents have been trying to avoid. We have spent a trillion dollars, sent almost a million of our sons and daughters, thousands of whom never came back and tens of thousands that came back with missing limbs, to be chased away in a humiliating defeat.

Further, the southern U.S. border is completely out of control. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas privately admitted that the situation is “unsustainable” and that “we’re going to lose.” Now, Al Qaeda has a safe haven to train terrorists and an open 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-19 patients are illegal immigrants. At a time when we are being asked to mask up again, we are importing tens of thousands of COVID-19 positive people into our country. Worse, record amounts of deadly drugs, especially fentanyl, are pouring into the U.S. across our undefended border. In just one year alone, more than 93,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, a figure that is “huge, historic, unheard-of” according to health officials.

Everything is worse now. There is record violence in our cities and record spending. Surging inflation. Half of the nation will not take the COVID-19 vaccine, and we are now battling a new, more deadly outbreak of the virus. To top it all off, we are spending trillions of dollars that we do not have to pay people not to work, but then we wonder why businesses cannot find workers.

And, we are literally relying on the tender mercies of terrorists to get our people home safely.

Afghanistan was a NATO mission, yet, according to multiple reports, Biden pulled out unilaterally, shocking our allies. 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 Angela Merkel said, “For those who believed in democracy and freedom, especially for women, these are bitter events.” The German president said, “We are experiencing a human tragedy” and that the “images of despair at Kabul airport shame the political West.” A British member of parliament (MP) called it “the biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez. We need to think again how we handle friends.” French President Emmanuel Macron is openly discussing a European “strategic autonomy” that does not rely on the U.S. anymore. Another German foreign policy expert said, “One can only hope that the damage to America’s foreign policy leadership can be quickly contained.”

Yet, Biden seems unconcerned, displaying a shocking callousness to the human suffering.

There is hope. Like the early days of World War II, America has been down and out before to later accomplish amazing victories. But we need to stop our self-defeating social distractions and focus on the real threats that surround us.

Our military is still the best in the world, but China is quickly catching up, and the Middle East just got a lot more dangerous. We need to finish the Keystone pipeline and take immediate steps to, once again, become energy independent like we were just a year ago so that we will not be dependent on OPEC. We need to secure the border. More importantly, we need to re-invest in our military, stop interfering with their culture and listen to their military advice so that they can accomplish their mission to “provide for the common defense” as written in the very first line of the Constitution.

British MP Tom Tugendhat, a veteran of Afghanistan who was decorated by the U.S. 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.” While noting that it is nations and not armies that win 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.”

“This doesn’t need to be defeat. But at the moment, it damn well feels like it.”

Rep. Dave Belton represents the citizens of District 112, which includes Morgan County and the eastern side of Newton County. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 2014 and currently serves as Chairman of the Special Rules Committee. He also serves as Secretary of the Interstate Cooperation and Education committees and as a member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and on the Economic Development & Tourism, Creative Arts & Entertainment and Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications committees.

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