October was an eventful month in the sense that it was filled with events, most of which weren’t consequential. Those that were — the White House’s amnesia about the Americans still held in Afghanistan, President Biden’s continued border crisis, the death of former secretary of state Colin Powell and a few others — already seem to have slipped from our nation’s consciousness. They require a few footnotes to help us remember.
When we left Afghanistan at the end of August, it was obvious that Biden and his military leaders were comfortable with leaving an unknown number of U.S. civilians behind. How dare they?
A footnote to this debacle was the confusion we saw last week between the State Department and the Defense Department over how many Americans we’d abandoned. State said there were 363 and Defense said there are 429. In truth, neither State nor Defense really knows. More importantly, the Biden administration apparently doesn’t care enough to do anything to get these Americans out of the Taliban’s hands.
The media is scrupulously ignoring the story. Where are the reports of anguished relatives worrying about their family members’ safety? Where are the published demands that Biden get these people out of Afghanistan?
All those U.S. civilians and green card holders are relegated to a footnote in history. And the media is comprehensively ignoring the connection the Afghanistan debacle has to the man who convinced George W. Bush that his principal strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq had to be nation-building.
As I have written before, Colin Powell was a great military commander. After the first week of our First Gulf war in 1991, Powell said we would handle the Iraqi army by cutting it off and killing it. And he did. But when he became Bush 43’s secretary of state, he changed.
Remember Powell’s “Pottery Barn rule”? Powell insisted that if you break it, you own it. Powell, along with then-CIA director George Tenet, convinced Bush that he had to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan long enough to rebuild those nations into something like a democracy. It was a historic mistake for which we will still be paying many decades from now. Just as historic a mistake is Biden’s admission of millions of illegal aliens into the U.S.
At last count, over 1.7 million illegals have been caught and released by the Border Patrol. That number obviously doesn’t include the “gotaways,” those illegal aliens — drug smugglers, other criminals, and plain illegal aliens — who may be in an equal or greater number. Biden created a border crisis that just won’t go away.
The drug cartels, taking advantage of Biden’s open borders, are smuggling in deadly drugs such as fentanyl, methamphetamines, and heroin, at a tremendous rate. The addictions and deaths that result, as well as the demographic changes to our population that also result, are another footnote to October’s — and the year’s — history.
As I wrote last week, China’s two tests of hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles are a clear threat to U.S. national security for several reasons, not the least of which is that we have no defense against them. Last week, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated the obvious, that those tests might be a “Sputnik moment” for us. It is, but the footnote to October is that the Biden administration is doing precisely nothing to develop and deploy a defense against those missiles.
Perhaps the best comment on the Chinese tests came from California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes who, in criticizing Milley and the “wokeness” that has infected the White House and the Pentagon, said, “Unfortunately, we can’t counter hypersonic missile launch with better pronoun usage. And a deeper understanding of white rage won’t rescue Americans stranded in Afghanistan. I’d argue that woke obsessions are the proper jurisdiction of faculty lounge Marxists, not our national security agencies.”
What Nunes said portends future disasters and comprise a bitter footnote to October. Another is Biden’s continued pursuit of renewing Obama’s dangerous 2015 nuclear weapons deal with Iran. Last week, the Iranians announced that they were ready to rejoin negotiations — albeit indirectly — with the U.S. next month to restore the deal.
Even the Wall Street Journal has it wrong on the Obama deal with Iran. In a report last week, the Journal wrote that the deal would have “strictly but temporarily constrained Iran’s nuclear work in return for lifting sanctions.” It didn’t do any such thing. The UN inspectors were barred from several of Iran’s nuclear weapons development sites so we had no idea what the Iranians were doing. And, having broken the agreement wholesale — even before former President Trump canceled the deal — Iran is now within a month of the “breakout point” at which it will have enough enriched uranium to manufacture one or more nuclear weapons.
Biden insists that Iran will not be allowed to obtain such weapons but its behavior — and his — says otherwise. The Iranians — Muslim Shiites — believe that the return of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and his creation of a Muslim paradise can be precipitated by some sort of apocalypse. Biden’s relentless pursuit of the deal’s renewal is another footnote in October’s history.
Last and not least, there’s a footnote to October defining the effect that Biden’s vaccine mandate — and those imposed by several governors and mayors including New York’s Bill de Blasio — are having on defense and public safety.
The vax mandates — justified or not — are taking their toll on federal, state, and local workers. Tens of thousands of U.S. military members are reportedly refusing the vaccine and can be thrown out of the military because of their refusal. Defense contractors are having to fire many of their employees to comply with the Biden mandate.
Meanwhile, New York City has about 245 fire stations. Twenty-six of them are reportedly closed because too many of the firefighters who usually staff them have refused the vaccines. Firefighters, cops, EMTs, and garbage collectors who refuse the vaccine will be on unpaid leave as of today.
The only good news is that four “Let’s Go Brandon” songs were among the iTunes top ten this week, two of them topping the list. There will be plenty of footnotes to November.