For most Americans, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) was all but anonymous until he appeared on Saturday Night Live to accept the apology of a “comedian” who had mocked his eye patch. Crenshaw wears that patch in place of the eye he lost while serving in Iraq, but he didn’t respond to the SNL cheap shot with anger. His reaction to our president’s latest Afghanistan blunder was a different story. Upon learning of President Biden’s pathetic capitulation to the Taliban’s latest demand that all U.S. troops be withdrawn by August 31 even if some Americans and allies had to be left behind, Crenshaw responded as follows during a Politico Playbook interview:
We need to send a very clear message to the Taliban: We’re not negotiating about our deadline. That should be the message. We should laugh at them when they say, ‘Oh well that’s a red line for us [and] you need to be out by August 31.’ No. And if you get in our way when we are extracting Americans, we will kill you. That is the only message that Biden should be delivering to the Taliban.
Later in the afternoon, Crenshaw provided a frank appraisal of Biden:
The world just witnessed the President of the United States take orders from a band of barbaric terrorists while ignoring the pleas of our international allies and Americans he will leave behind … Joe Biden is a coward.
One reason Crenshaw objects to the precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan involves what he calls the “endless wars fallacy” that has been promoted by politicians on the Left and the Right. He insists that the United States is not locked into a binary choice between nation-building and throwing in the towel. Crenshaw reminds us that, despite frequent claims that Afghanistan was “our longest war,” the last American combat deaths occurred 18 months ago. Indeed, it’s probable that Biden’s decision to suddenly pull out without proper preparation will get more Americans killed than have died there since 2019.
Crenshaw is at pains to point out in the Wall Street Journal that we haven’t been engaged in “nation building” for years. We have instead maintained a small residual force that conducts occasional counter-terror operations, and fulfills the original strategic goal of denying a safe haven for terrorists, gathering intelligence, and preventing another 9/11. And that is a very real danger if the Taliban permit al-Qaida and ISIS to set up shop in Afghanistan with a huge cache of American weapons left when Biden decided to cut and run. Crenshaw also raises a query that doesn’t seem to have occurred to Biden or his handlers. What was the rush?
Mr. Biden’s decision was reckless and unnecessary. Policy aside, there wasn’t even political pressure to take such thoughtless action. The facts on the ground didn’t warrant a hasty withdrawal, and intelligence predicted the Taliban would eventually take over. Even worse, this decision was made as the spring fighting season began, all but guaranteeing a Taliban offensive emboldened by the knowledge of an imminent U.S. withdrawal and a collapse of morale.
Crenshaw advocates sending U.S. forces to retake certain bases, particularly Bagram Airbase, the most important strategic outpost in Afghanistan. During the Politico interview, he said, “I’m strongly advising the administration, you need to retake airbases. Not just Bagram, but possibly other air bases as well that we abandoned. You need points of contact for people to go to.” Crenshaw believes that there are about 10,000 to 15,000 Americans left in Afghanistan and about 80,000 contractors, interpreters and other allies that need to be transported out of the country. The Biden administration has no plans to pursue any such policy.
Crenshaw added that Biden’s actions have placed us right back to where we were before 9/11. Meanwhile, his congressional office is aiding Americans in Afghanistan to reach Hamid Karzai International Airport in order to escape the country before the Taliban halts all evacuation efforts: “This idea that any American who wants to get to the airport can is a flat out lie.” According to a new USA Today poll, “President Joe Biden’s approval rating has dropped to a new low of 41 percent following his regime’s recent handling of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan . . . just 26 percent approve of his handling of the withdrawal.
A lot of Americans agree with Crenshaw. President Biden is a coward.