Profound Incompetence

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“Like many of you, the rage just boils over,” radio host Dan Bongino admitted when discussing the profound incompetence of America’s evacuation of Afghanistan.[1] Indeed, we are witnessing an unprecedented failure of American leadership with devastating results. Even if President Joe Biden made the right decision to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, he certainly failed in his execution of this mission. While our anger appears justified, we may be better served to learn from President Biden’s mistakes by questioning whether we are executing our own mission with a similar level of incompetence.

 

Misplaced Confidence

President Biden was repeatedly warned of the likely consequences of evacuating Afghanistan in the way he did, but he chose to act according to ideology, unfounded optimism, and political expediency rather than the facts.[2][3][4] Ultimately, his misplaced confidence in his preferred narrative met reality in a disastrous way.

Are we succumbing to the same tendencies? It is natural to want to believe that God will not bring judgment—whether it be national judgment or personal judgment. Moreover, we can readily find religious leaders who will affirm our feelings and assure us that God only has blessings in store for us and for our nation. After all, God loves us too much to bring punishment. However, our confidence in this preferred narrative will inevitably meet reality. At that point, it will be too late, and the result may be far more disastrous than anticipated.

 

Ignored Counsel

President Biden ignored the counsel of the Afghan president,[5] U.S. diplomats, military generals, and intelligence officers.[6][7][8] Rather than heed the advice of experts, he chose to trust his own gut. The consequences of this decision have been catastrophic.

How many of us are similarly refusing the advice of those who are better suited to gauge spiritual and cultural threats? God has provided us with watchmen in all areas of culture, politics, and religion—people who not only have exceptional insight in these fields but are also sounding the alarm. Perhaps we are overly confident in our gut instinct and personal knowledge. Perhaps we consider them to be alarmists. Perhaps we don’t like what is being said or how it is being communicated. Whatever the reason, by ignoring these watchmen, are we headed for our own catastrophic failure?

 

Lost Sight of Original Mission

The original mission in Afghanistan was to depose the Taliban and to ensure that Afghanistan would no longer harbor America’s enemies and enable terrorist attacks upon our country. Considering that, despite the Taliban once again ruling,[9] that America is taking orders from the Taliban,[10][11][12][13] and that the Taliban is now well equipped with American weaponry,[14][15][16] President Biden has declared this to be an extraordinarily successful mission, it appears that President Biden lost sight of the mission objective.

How many of us have lost sight of our own mission? Rather than instruct others in all that Jesus taught, winning souls and baptizing them, how many of us have become social justice warriors, or distracted by the American dream, or content to simply foster our own relationship with God?

 

Failed to Warn

Apparently, President Biden made the decision to withdraw American forces overnight from Bagram, the largest airfield in Afghanistan, without notifying the bases’ new Afghan commander.[17] According to Afghan military officials, the departure was discovered two hours after the Americans had left.[18] One day the Afghan military was entirely reliant upon the U.S. for operational support, and the next day the U.S. was gone. Without advanced warning to make the necessary operational adjustments, the Afghan military was wholly unprepared to resist the enemy invasion. Likewise, the government and Afghan civilians assisting U.S. forces were unprepared to stand firm in the face of enemy attacks. Mass chaos and devastation—supposedly anticipated according to President Biden and His Pentagon officials—descended upon the Afghanis, literally overnight.

Are we, likewise, failing to warn those we care about of the difficulties that lay ahead? The day is likely coming when God will vacate our nation as an ally and stand against it in judgment. The protection and blessings we have come to depend upon will be removed, and we do not know, but it is possible this could happen overnight. Are those of us who are anticipating such a moment warning our loved ones today to help ensure they will not be caught off guard and incapable of standing firm through the difficulties that will ensue?

 

False Hope

President Biden provided false hope. Only two weeks ago, he said we wouldn’t leave Afghanistan until all Americans had been evacuated: “If there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”[19] Nevertheless, he left hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans stranded.[20] According to a report by Josh Rogin, about 600 State Department journalists, contractors, and family members were left behind after having been promised safe evacuation.[21]

How many of us are providing false hope by promising that everything will be fine because God loves us enough to overlook our lifestyles. Essentially, God loves us too much to judge us. Or perhaps we are promising that we still have plenty of time.

 

Poor Planning

Despite telling the American public that he had planned for every contingency, President Biden’s evacuation strategy was poorly planned. For all intents and purposes, it seems that he did not have a well thought-through plan to evacuate people.[22][23] Consequently, Americans and allies were left behind, people died needlessly, and America was shamed.

How many of us think we are more prepared than we truly are? We anticipate increased times of national difficulty as a consequence of ignoring God’s moral commands, but have we thought about how we will stand firm and minister through times of greater difficulty? Will we, likewise, find ourselves unable to rescue souls, help our allies, and potentially bring shame to our Lord as we succumb to the pressures of the moment?

 

Waited Too Long

There is a general consensus that President Biden waited too long to begin evacuating American citizens and allies.[24][25] This endeavor was only seriously begun after America had already lost control over strategic supplies and locations. Consequently, hundreds, if not thousands, of American citizens were left behind, along with countless allies.[26]

How many of us are squandering the time we have to prepare for what is coming? Will we too wait until we’ve lost our strategic resources and platforms to prepare ourselves and others to stand firm through the difficulties that lay ahead? How many will collapse under the pressure of what is coming because we have chosen to believe everything is fine, and we have plenty of time?

 

Indifferent to Those in Need

White House Press Secretary Jan Psaki lauded the evacuations, saying they cannot be called “anything but a success” because of the number of people airlifted.[27] Never mind that only 5% of the 120,000 evacuees were American citizens,[28] that the mission was only partially successful,[29] or that thousands more Afghan allies were abandoned. Likewise, Admiral John Kirby dismissed the gravity of Americans being abandoned in Afghanistan by saying, “We have Americans that get stranded in countries all the time.”[30] However, unlike those who merely lost their passport, overstayed their visa, or were hospitalized while traveling, those stranded in Afghanistan were abandoned by their country and now face the threat of being captured by a hostile enemy or killed.

How many of us are also indifferent and prone to make excuses rather than truly caring about the people we are tasked to rescue? It is our job to evangelize the lost and to disciple believers. How many of us are content to instead throw around meaningless numbers indicating our successes as if they justify forsaking so many others?

 

Feared Angering the Enemy

The State Department prevented retired soldiers from rescuing stranded Americans for fear of angering the enemy and out of concern over optics.[31] Consequently, far more Americans were needlessly left behind when the evacuation deadline arrived.[32] Moreover, the Department of Defense had foreknowledge of the Kabul suicide bomber who killed over 180 people but denied permission to fire to the Predator drone that had a lock on the bomber, according to the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.[33]

How many of us refuse to take a strong stand on truth because we are concerned that it may make us look bad or anger our increasingly militant, cultural opposition? How many people are needlessly succumbing to cultural lies because we refuse to fully engage? Worse, how many people are embracing spiritual lies because we choose to interfere with those who are ready to fight by critiquing the methods and messaging of fellow Christians rather than speak truth to those in need?

 

Refused to Fight

President Biden refused to use the strength and advantages that America had because he feared the consequences of fighting. Instead, he effectively gave our weapons, money, and advantages to the enemy. Even when the enemy openly mocked us[34] and attacked and killed more than 180 innocent Afghanis, American citizens, and U.S. soldiers,[35][36] President Biden refused to engage the enemy.

How many of us would rather run than fight? We readily relinquish our advantages in an effort to avoid engaging the enemy.

 

No Clear Understanding

From all appearances, President Biden had no clear understanding of the extent of the problems occurring in the Afghanistan evacuation. The facts he relayed to the American public were consistently wrong, outdated, or in conflict with the facts relayed by his staff.[37] Without a clear understanding of the situation, President Biden didn’t seem to know how to handle the crisis at hand.

Are we informing ourselves today of the threats to our faith and our culture? Will we know how to handle the crises that are coming our way?

 

No Clear Message

In the midst of exceptional chaos and danger, President Biden had no clear message for those in need of hope. He repeatedly contradicted himself and his spokespeople. Moreover, his messaging focus continually shifted.

Are we prepared to provide people in crisis with the hope of the gospel and with the unshifting answers of God’s Word? Can we readily apply the truth of God’s Word to real world difficulties? Or will we find ourselves groping for hope and answers along with the rest of society?

 

*****

Angry journalists and political commentators have been quick to call our president inept and feckless throughout this Afghanistan debacle. To what degree do each of us mirror President Biden in the execution of our own mission? Are we just as incompetent? Would it be fair to say that we too are inept and feckless? I hope not, but let us honestly evaluate our own competency before we crash and burn in a similar manner as President Biden did during the Afghanistan withdrawal and evacuation.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. Bongino, Dan. The Dan Bongino Show, MNC 95.3, August 31, 2021.

2. Thomas, Ken and Vivian Salama. “Biden Wanted to Leave Afghanistan. He Knew the Risks.” Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2021, 11:40 a.m., ET. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/just-bombshell-leaked-transcripts-reveal-biden-pressured-afghan-president-ghani-lie-taliban-advances-downplay-crisis/.

3. Mazzett, Mark, Julian Barnes and Adam Goldman. “Intelligence Warned of Afghan Military Collapse, Despite Biden’s Assurances.” US. New York Times, August 17, 2021. Last updated August 27, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/17/us/politics/afghanistan-biden-administration.html.

4. Dilanian, Ken, Mike Memoli, Courtney Kube and Josh Lederman. “CIA Warned of Rapid Afghanistan Collapse. So Why Did U.S. Get It So Wrong?” Politics. NBC News, August 17, 2021, 6:57 p.m., EDT. Last updated August 18, 2021, 4:51 p.m., EDT. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/cia-warned-rapid-afghanistan-collapse-so-why-did-u-s-n1277026.

5. Conradson, Jordan. “Psaki: ‘That’s 120,000 Lives That We Have Saved, Including 6,000 Americans… I Would Let You Evaluate That for Yourself’ – Only 5% of Evacuees Were American.” Gateway Pundit, August 30, 2021, 7:41 p.m. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/psaki-120000-lives-saved-including-6000-americans-let-evaluate-no-evidence-isis-k-taliban-can-attack-u-s-homeland/.

6. Thomas, “Biden Wanted to Leave Afghanistan. He Knew the Risks.”

7. Mazzett, “Intelligence Warned of Afghan Military Collapse, Despite Biden’s Assurances.”

8. Dilanian, “CIA Warned of Rapid Afghanistan Collapse. So Why Did U.S. Get It So Wrong?”

9. Associated Press. “The Taliban Is Celebrating Its Takeover Now That the U.S. Withdrawal Is Complete.” NPR, August 30, 2021, 8:11 p.m., ET. https://www.npr.org/2021/08/30/1032656612/taliban-afghanistan-american-forces-withdrawal.

10. Wilkie, Christian. “U.S. Consulting with Taliban on ‘Every Aspect’ of Kabul Evacuation, Says Biden National Security Advisor.” Politics. CNBC, August 23, 2021, 4:09 p.m., EDT. Last updated August 23, 2021, 6:11 p.m., EDT. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/23/us-is-consulting-with-taliban-on-every-aspect-of-kabul-evacuation.html.

11. Keene, Houston. “Biden Admin Depends on Taliban to Give Americans ‘Safe Passage’ 6 Weeks after Biden Said He Doesn’t Trust Them.” Politics. Fox News, August 17, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-afghanistan-taliban-safe-passage-kabul-airport.

12. Losey, Stephen. “ISIS Threats, Taliban ‘Red Line’ Against Extension Complicate Afghanistan Evacuation.” Military.com, August 23, 2021. https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/08/23/isis-threats-taliban-red-line-against-extension-complicate-afghanistan-evacuation.html.

13. Ehrman, Fred. “The Taliban Demands and Biden Acquiesces.” Opinion. Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2021, 1:55 p.m., ET. https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-afghan-allies-citizens-withdrawal-taliban-deadline-11629928167.

14. Ali, Idrees, Patricia Zengerle and Jonathan Landay. “Planes, Guns, Night-Vision Goggles: The Taliban’s New U.S.-Made War Chest.” Aerospace and Defense. Reuters, August 19, 2021, 12:59 p.m., EDT. https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/planes-guns-night-vision-goggles-talibans-new-us-made-war-chest-2021-08-19/.

15. Horton, Alex. “Taliban Show off U.S.-Made Weapons and Gear in Bid to Intimidate, Project Authority.” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, 5:15 p.m., EDT. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/08/25/taliban-us-military-weapons/.

16. Hoft, Jim. “It’s Worse Than We Thought: Complete List of Armaments US Is Leaving to Taliban and Islamist Groups – Enough to Fortify Them for Years – Secret Warehouse of US Equipment Captured?” Gateway Pundit, August 23, 2021, 9:31 a.m. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/worse-thought-complete-list-armaments-us-leaving-taliban-islamist-groups-enough-fortify-years-secret-warehouse-us-equipment-captured/.

17. Gannon, Kathy. “US Left Afghan Airfield at Night, Didn’t Tell New Commander.” Associated Press, July 6, 2021. https://apnews.com/article/bagram-afghanistan-airfield-us-troops-f3614828364f567593251aaaa167e623.

18. Gannon.

19. Chasmar, Jessica. “Biden Breaks Promise to ‘Stay’ in Afghanistan Until Every American Evacuated.” Politics. Fox News, August 31, 2021. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-breaks-promise-stay-afghanistan-every-american-evacuated.

20. Jakes, Lara. “Stranded in Kabul: A U.S. Resident Runs out of Options.” US. New York Times, August 31, 2021. Last updated September 1, 2021, 8:20 a.m., ET. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/31/us/politics/usa-residents-in-afghanistan.html.

21. Rogin, Josh. “Opinion: The U.S. Government Left Its Own Journalists behind in Afghanistan.” Global Opinions. Washington Post, August 31, 2021, 6:04 p.m., EDT. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/31/us-government-left-its-own-journalists-behind-afghanistan/.

22. Tracy, Abigail. “‘I Really Suspect There Was No Plan’: Congress and Diplomats Want Answers to Biden’s Chaotic Afghan Withdrawal.” Hive. Vanity Fair, August 20, 2021. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/08/i-really-suspect-there-was-no-plan-congress-and-diplomats-want-answers-to-bidens-chaotic-afghan-withdrawal.

23. Nichols, Hans. “Biden Officials: Trump Left Bare Cupboard on Afghanistan.” Politics and Policy. Axios, August 17, 2021. https://www.axios.com/biden-trump-afghanistan-evacuation-blame-d96c09bb-a440-4335-9b4a-3b7688fab2ea.html.

24. Shear, Michael and David Sanger. “Biden Stands behind Afghan Withdrawal, Despite ‘Hard and Messy’ Final Days.” US. New York Times, August 24, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/08/16/us/politics-news#biden-afghanistan.

25. “Why Didn’t Biden Start Evacuating Americans Sooner? We Asked Him.” The NPR Politics Podcast, August 20, 2021, 5:17 p.m., ET. Transcript. https://www.npr.org/transcripts/1029810671.

26. Jakes, “Stranded in Kabul: A U.S. Resident Runs out of Options.”

27. Bowden, John. “Psaki Says Afghanistan Evacuation Cannot Be Called ‘Anything but a Success.’” News. Independent, n.d. Accessed September 1, 2021. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/jen-psaki-kabul-evacuations-success-b1908193.html.

28. Conradson, “Psaki: ‘That’s 120,000 Lives That We Have Saved, Including 6,000 Americans… I Would Let You Evaluate That for Yourself’ – Only 5% of Evacuees Were American.”

29. Reuters. “Joe Biden Hails ‘Extraordinary Success’ of US Afghanistan Evacuations.” US Politics. SBS News, August 31, 2021. https://www.sbs.com.au/news/joe-biden-hails-extraordinary-success-of-us-afghanistan-evacuations.

30. Sekulow, Jordan. “Admiral Kirby’s Response to Americans Stranded in Afghanistan? ‘Americans Get Stranded… All the Time.’” ACLJ, August 31, 2021. https://aclj.org/foreign-policy/admiral-kirbys-response-to-americans-stranded-in-afghanistan-americans-get-stranded-all-the-time.

31. Hoft, Joe. “Retired US Soldiers Attempted to Save Americans in Afghanistan but the US State Department Stopped Them.” Gateway Pundit, August 30, 2021, 5:15 p.m. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/retired-us-soldiers-attempted-save-americans-afghanistan-us-state-department-stopped.

32. Phillips, Jack. “Pentagon Acknowledges Americans ‘Stranded’ in Afghanistan after Pullout.” US News. Epoch Times, August 31, 2021. Last updated August 31, 2021. https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_breakingnews/pentagon-acknowledges-americans-stranded-in-afghanistan-after-pullout_3973233.html.

33. Hoft, Jim. “REPORT: DoD Had Foreknowledge of Kabul Airport Bomber – Denied Permission to Fire Predator Drone That Had Lock on Him – 13 US Heroes Dead.” Gateway Pundit, September 1, 2021, 10:44 a.m. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/09/breaking-dod-foreknowledge-kabul-airport-bomber-denied-permission-fire-predator-drone-lock-13-us-heroes-dead/.

34. Hoft, Joe. “ULTIMATE INSULT: Taliban Mock Joe Biden and US – Recreate Iconic Iwo Jima Photo Wearing Military Uniforms with Islamic Flag.” Gateway Pundit, August 21, 2021, 2:57 p.m. https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2021/08/ultimate-insult-taliban-mock-joe-biden-us-recreate-iconic-iwo-jima-photo-wearing-us-military-uniforms-islamic-flag/.

35. Express Web Desk. “Kabul Airport Blasts Highlights: Pentagon Says Airport Attack Carried out by One Suicide Bomber; Death Toll Rises to over 180.” World. Indian Express, n.d. Last updated August 28, 2021, 7:59 a.m. https://indianexpress.com/article/world/afghanistan-taliban-crisis-live-updates-india-kabul-news-7471261/.

36. Brown, Lee. “Heartbreaking Scenes of Chaos Morning after Suicide Blast in Afghanistan.” News. New York Post, August 27, 2021, 9:01 a.m. Last updated August 27, 2021, 11:48 a.m. https://nypost.com/2021/08/27/heartbreaking-scenes-of-chaos-day-after-afghan-suicide-blasts/

37. Ben Shapiro. “WATCH: Brutal Timeline Leading Up to Biden’s Catastrophe.” Youtube video, 12:37. August 27, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqJnajjjpY0.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.