Last week, in a separate but equally dangerous part of the world, 13 U.S. servicemembers lost their lives at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Hundreds of other Americans are still in grave danger. The fate of our fellow Americans–and the security of the West–is again in the hands of a Democrat administration more preoccupied with politics than with facts on the ground.
We must honor the heroic sacrifices of our fallen servicemembers and pray for the safe passage home of the American citizens still stranded in Taliban-controlled Kabul. With each passing day, the parallels between Benghazi in 2012 and Kabul today become more striking. Afghanistan is at risk of becoming what Libya became–a failed state and safe haven for terrorists and Islamic radicals.
The deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Glen Doherty in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, were preventable tragedies. America failed them because the Obama-Biden administration sought to minimize the threat of Islamic terrorism during President Obama's reelection campaign. With the election only 56 days away, the Obama-Biden administration could not afford to admit that an orchestrated terrorist attack led to American deaths. And so it deflected responsibility, falsely blaming the attack on a spontaneous uprising in response to an obscure YouTube video.
The chaos in Kabul is likewise a preventable tragedy. President Biden set an arbitrary deadline to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, chosen so that he could triumph the end of America's longest war on the anniversary of its beginning. He announced the withdrawal months in advance and imposed no conditions, giving the Taliban no incentive to negotiate a peace deal with the Afghan government. And after the Taliban took Kabul, President Biden deflected responsibility, blaming not a video this time but his predecessors and the Afghan people–many of whom fought bravely, and died heroically, next to Americans for years.
Benghazi and Kabul are tragic reminders of the danger that liberal internationalists in today's Democrat Party can do with their woke worldview. In fact, many of the same officials in charge of the Biden-Harris administration's Afghanistan policy today were in similar positions of authority when the Obama-Biden administration failed in Benghazi.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken served as then-Vice President Biden's national security advisor at the time of the Benghazi attack. On the campaign trail in 2012, Vice President Biden bragged that the Obama-Biden administration had quelled Islamic terror, famously saying, “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” No doubt he planned to take credit for a similar triumph in Afghanistan on September 11, 2021.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's deputy chief of staff and director of policy in 2012. Sullivan was directly involved in the Obama-Biden administration's failure in Benghazi–both in orchestrating its Libya policy and in crafting and perpetuating the lie that the attack that killed four Americans was because of a video.
CIA Director William Burns served as deputy secretary of state in 2012. As the State Department's second-highest official behind Clinton, Burns too was involved in the Obama-Biden administration's Libya policy, its inaction during the attack, and its subsequent response.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was the department's under secretary for political affairs in 2012. The department's current under secretary for political affairs, Victoria Nuland, served as its spokesperson during the Benghazi attack. Both officials were directly involved in the Obama-Biden administration's response to the Benghazi attack.
And don't forget about Susan Rice. She served as the Obama-Biden administration's mouthpiece on Benghazi, infamously appearing on five Sunday morning news programs to blame the attack on the video. This lie cost Rice the chance to succeed Clinton as secretary of state, but she is back at the White House advising President Biden today.
But the similarities between Benghazi and Kabul go beyond the people involved.
In both Benghazi in 2012 and Kabul today, the administration's desire for a political talking point clouded out its assessment of a deteriorating security situation. Where the Obama-Biden administration delayed rescuing Americans in danger in Benghazi, the Biden-Harris administration today has stranded Americans in Kabul. And in both tragedies, the administrations refused to accept responsibility for the policy failures and, worse, the loss of American lives.
The United States of America is the greatest country in the history of the world. We are the backbone of an international order that depends on our might and our resolve. We must confront our adversaries from positions of strength and with a diplomacy that is clear-eyed and realistic. The safety and security of the American people must always be the highest priority of any responsible administration.
President Trump understood these truths and he had the guts to stand up to America's enemies. He pursued a conditions-based withdrawal from Afghanistan that secured American interests and protected American citizens. President Trump told the Taliban that if it violated the agreements, it would pay a heavy price. And the Taliban knew that President Trump meant business. All across the world, he put America first in every decision he made to provide security for our country.
The same can't be said for President Biden. He has been a leading figure of the liberal internationalist worldview for almost half a century, apologizing for America at every turn and underestimating the risk to those serving as diplomats and servicemembers. Over his decades in office, President Biden has–in the words of former Defense Secretary Robert Gates–“been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue.” He was wrong yet again in Afghanistan, and Americans and others lost their lives as a result. We have seen the tragic consequences of President Biden's mistakes. Now it's time for accountability.
Rep. Jim Jordan serves as ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee. Jordan was a member of the Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, Libya, from 2014 to 2016.