The Afghanistan disaster continues, even after the last U.S. troops left the country earlier this week, and yet no one in the Biden administration has resigned or been fired.
President Joe Biden himself is not going to leave, or be impeached. But every day that the senior officials responsible for the bungled withdrawal remain in their jobs, America’s credibility and military deterrent declines even further. If we do not hold our leaders accountable, we are placing national security at risk.
So the first step in rebuilding, in the wake of Afghanistan, must be to clean house — in the military, the Pentagon, the CIA, the State Department, the National Security Council — everywhere. Gen. Mark Milley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should be dismissed, as should National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, CIA director William Burns, and Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Not one performed as Americans had the right to expect they would.
But rebuilding means more than replacing personnel.
It means ending the politicization of the military, through the ongoing purge of so-called “extremists,” which ignores the left and demonizes the right. Critical Race Theory must be barred from military education, as a bill proposed by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) would do. The push for transgenderism in the military should also be reconsidered; at the very least, the military should not be required to subsidize gender transition surgeries.
We also need a strategic shift.
Americans have largely rejected the idea of “nation-building.” But we will continue to be threatened by terrorists who operate from failing states, and from regimes that pursue terror as a deliberate strategy. The Iran deal is dead, and we should maintain pressure on the regime. We also need creative thinking about future threats; it won’t be sufficient to have “over-the-horizon” capabilities — not when dealing with a rapidly militarizing Chinese rival.
Our national security is also threatened by our increasing indebtedness.
When the War on Terror began, twenty years ago, our national debt was less than $6 trillion, and there was hope that we could pay it off entirely by the end of the decade. Today, it is nearing $28 trillion. Politicians are currently squabbling over differences in defense spending that are dwarfed by Biden’s huge domestic spending proposals. And our ability to pay for defense could one day be severely constrained.
It was fitting that as the U.S. left Afghanistan, the Social Security Administration announced that it would no longer be able to pay full benefits in 2034 — i.e. for anyone roughly 50 years old today and younger. We need to have an adult conversation about how to repair our balance sheet without raising taxes in a way that will hurt economic growth that is itself crucial to solvency. Long-term bonds; entitlement reforms; and changes to domestic spending need to be in the mix.
Finally — and perhaps most important of all — we need to revive our faith in the nation itself.
We cannot defeat enemies when we lack moral self-confidence — when our president says we are beset by “systemic racism,” and our role models kneel to protest the American flag. Young people are abandoning religious faith — and having fewer babies, too, which is like a vote of no confidence in the country’s future. We are long overdue for an awakening of patriotic and religious feeling.
During the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, it was common to hear candidates talk about “revolution” — including Biden, who adopted the radical rhetoric of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). What we need, instead, is a “restoration” — a return to the basic principles that made our country great.
We need, in short, to start over. And the first step must be to remove the leaders who brought us here. Nothing more should happen in Congress until those responsible for Afghanistan are gone.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.