We have all watched as the seemingly never-ending debacle of America’s 20-year failed experiment in Afghanistan comes to a new chapter of policy failure and stupidity with no accountability from the United States government.
The core lesson? Competence and integrity in government matters; we have neither.
Recently, it was discovered that as many as 60 Taliban fighters in possession of at least one hand grenade boarded a flight from Afghanistan en route to an unknown location in the United States. That flight, upon discovery of a hand grenade by an air marshal, landed somewhere, and passengers were deplaned.
The State Department quickly announced that evacuation flights were being suspended because of a measles discovery. The measles cover story evaporated like flash paper at a bookie off-track betting office.
The State Department opened the accountability and responsibility deflection and blame game so skillfully practiced in Washington. They said the contractor, the pilots and crews of the contract aircraft are responsible for this mishap, and is it their fault these unauthorized, poorly searched and improperly documented people were allowed on the flight for America.
That, my friends, is chutzpah on an Olympic level!
Let’s unpack this latest lie.
First, the State Department should release and publish the aviation lift contract, the task order and statement of work to be performed. What is the contractor responsible for?
Here are just some of the big issues that must be addressed when setting up evacuation flights from a conflict zone. First, contract pilots and aircraft crews are not responsible for identifying passengers, vetting travel documents or searching passengers before or as they are boarding the aircraft, nor is providing security on board during the flight. Why? Because these are sovereign state responsibilities.
Aviation contracts provide properly inspected (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration standards of safety for flight operations) and U.S. certified and licensed pilots and crews.
Whose job is it to identify passengers, vet travel documents, search and organize secure boarding procedures? The United States government. Is there a trusted, responsible host country liaison service assisting the government on the ground in the conflict zone with vetting passengers and secure boarding procedures? It’s safe to say, no, this does not exist in Afghanistan. So, is the State Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the U.S. military on the ground doing this? No.
Second, why are these emergency flights coming directly to America? This is a question the State Department should be asked. Historically, the United States government has locations and agreements with allied nations for stopovers and thorough vetting of people fleeing conflict zones. One example from recent history: the processing operations run from Guam. The government has lifted thousands of displaced American citizens and Iraqis out of Iraq since Desert Storm in 1991. Guam has been used many times. It’s a safe, secure and supportable layover location to get fleeing citizens and refugees settled down, properly identified and properly clothed, with infrastructure to properly identify and replace missing or destroyed travel documents and to do medical checkups and quarantining when required.
Why is this not being done for Afghanistan? Because the secretary of state decided not to do it. It’s much easier and cheaper to blame a problem on an aviation contractor and then cancel their contract and stop the evacuations.
Contract pilots have been commenting about the incredible disorganization of this process since the flights commenced. They have begun to really complain now since Secretary of State Antony Blinken decided to blame them for the hand grenade incident. Turns out the pilots have been raising the security and boarding process as a major unaddressed issue since the first contract flights. How does the pilot and crew assemble an accurate manifest without someone from the government telling them who is boarding the aircraft?
President Joe Biden’s administration has displayed a breathtaking level of arrogance and ignorance, and now that something has gone wrong and their initial measles lie unraveled, Blinken throws the aviation contractor and pilots under the bus, washing his hands of the issue. Hm, this looks a lot like the U.S.-Mexico border chaos. Is there a pattern here?
Here are the facts: The government has no plan, no secure process and no interest in dealing with the continued fallout of the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle, so they are moving on. Afghans and American citizens are left behind on their own.