In the aftermath of the terrorist attack which took the lives of at least 13 US soldiers and over 170 Afghans, the response from the Biden administration has waffled between underwhelming and outright offensive. The president's speech on the matter gave comfort to no one, with him responding angrily as the questions got more intense. To the extent that he was able to remain somewhat sentient, that was about the only positive thing you could say regarding the scene that unfolded.
For their part, the State Department, Pentagon, and other administration officials seemed to downplay the loss of life at times, proclaiming the continuation of the mission, claiming that casualties were expected, and glossing over the fact that the administration had outsourced security of American servicemembers to the Taliban's Haqqani network, a literal terrorist organization. Further, it was Biden's decision to abandon Bagram Air Base, leaving behind thousands of ISIS fighters who were promptly freed. The Pentagon admitted that to be the case yesterday.
The failures and outright dereliction of duty by the president and so many others in the administration were not lost on Steve Nikoui, the father of Kareem Nikoui, a US Marine who lost his life during the attack.
“The Marines who came to deliver the news of Kareem’s death were 'more choked up than me… I was actually trying to console them…'”
Dad of Marine Slain in Kabul Vents Anger at Military, Biden: https://t.co/DwnUc5M5DV
— Lyndsey Fifield (@lyndseyfifield) August 27, 2021
The Marines who came to deliver the news of Kareem's death were “more choked up than me,” Nikoui said. “I was actually trying to console them. But at the same time, I just wanted them to get out as soon as possible so that no one from my family came back and saw them. I thought it appropriate that I be able to tell them.”
“I haven't gone to bed all night,” Nikoui continued. “I'm still in shock. I haven't been able to grasp everything that's going on.” As of right now, Nikoui's plan is to go to Dover, Delaware, and pick up his son's remains…
…Through tears, Nikoui expressed flashes of anger along with his anguish. He said he wants to “respect the office” of the president, but doesn't have much love for President Joe Biden at the moment. A Trump supporter, Nikoui was happy that Trump was in office when Kareem joined the Marines. “I really believed this guy didn't want to send people into harm's way,” he said.
“They sent my son over there as a paper pusher and then had the Taliban outside providing security,” said Nikoui. “I blame my own military leaders… Biden turned his back on him. That's it.”
Mothers and fathers send their children off to war knowing there are risks involved. But they don't send them off to be cannon fodder in order to protect the political machinations of a cowardly president, and that's essentially what Joe Biden did by allowing a terrorist organization to handle security for US soldiers.
Pictures have been released showing the Abbey Gate, and they show Marines left exposed, congregating out in the open street. They were just doing the job they were asked to do, but it was up to the administration and its military leadership to not be so operationally idiotic.
But for Biden, he thought he could thread the needle by not securing a wider perimeter and instead, allying with the Taliban. How did a car bomb and a suicide bomber make it through multiple layers of Taliban checkpoints? The answer is that they were probably let through, and 13 US servicemembers are now dead because of that weak, asinine decision.
In short, Steve Nikoui is right to be angry here. This wasn't just a surprise attack that came out of nowhere. Intelligence reports from the days prior showed ISIS was likely going to strike. Why were soldiers still being put in the position they were put in?
Where's the accountability — not just for the top military leaders, but for the president who appointed them to their respective positions? This was a disastrous situation wholly created by the administration's incompetence and politicization of the withdrawal. I can't imagine what it must feel like to have lost a son or daughter as a result of that and to then see Biden and others so clearly absconding from responsibility.
Lastly, why is The Daily Beast describing Nikoui's father as a “Trump supporter”? Was that really necessary? I'm sure it's a given he supported the former president's foreign policy vision, but the man just had a son die under the Biden administration. His political persuasion is completely irrelevant.
Regardless, heads need to roll, and the fact that no one has even been fired yet compounds the shame of this situation. There has to be accountability, and thus far, there's been none.