In what was considered the supreme insult to the U.S., the Taliban signaled last week it would inaugurate its interim government in Afghanistan on Saturday – the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the terrorist attack on American soil that sparked the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.
But sources in Kabul let out the news Friday the controversial ceremony would be postponed.
One of those who received early reports of the postponement was Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who told reporters, "there will be no inauguration. I think it is an obvious problem that [the Taliban] are still undecided about what they should do first."
As the Taliban was letting the world know it would not "rub it in" about their return to power two decades after deposed by American forces, several U.S. Marine Corps veterans who spoke to Newsmax they were less concerned about the new government in Kabul than they were about the U.S. government's handling of its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
"What the Taliban does or does not do on Sept. 11 is its business – we don't have a vote," said retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Orson Swindle, a Vietnam prisoner-of-war for more than six years and Reagan Administration official. "Biden and minions forfeited our options. Our feckless president and senior military leaders made it all possible."
Citing the deaths last month of 13 U.S. service members in Kabul, Swindle told Newsmax "the deaths of those Marines rest squarely with the inept actions of a mentally incompetent president and his 'elite' staff that proves time and time again that 'they' are not up to the challenges of competent leadership."
Swindle's words were strongly seconded by Bill O'Sullivan of Houston, Texas, a retired Marine captain who served in Vietnam and founder of the largest "tea party" chapter in the Lone Star State.
"Basically, the way the withdrawal from Afghanistan was handled was a betrayal," O'Sullivan told Newsmax. "If it wasn't for the administration wanting to 'spike the ball' on 9/11, they would have not had the problems they had if they had accepted the Trump date of withdrawal on May 31.
"Neither [Secretary of Defense Lloyd] Austin nor [Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark] Milley were ready for this. They are desk warriors not battlefield warriors. This led to abandoning Bagram."
O’Sullivan warned the tragic circumstances of the U.S. withdrawal would deal a harsh blow to the morale of the future military.
"You can't imagine what this does to our company-grade officers and their enlisted men," he said. "They're the backbone of our military. Many will leave rather than fighting for the 'political circus' in the Pentagon."
Retired Sgt. KayAnne Riley, onetime Marine combat correspondent and broadcaster, told Newsmax: "I served on active duty from 1984-1993, and I can tell you unequivocally that this is not the Marine Corps I was in. Officer's heads would have been rolling within 24-hours back then."
She added, "as far as I know, nobody has been fired for this senseless loss of the lives of our heroes. Where is accountability in this administration and this military? When this many troops die, somebody screwed up big time. Somebody needs to go to jail."
As for the 20-year U.S. mission in Afghanistan, Riley had nothing but contempt.
"So, we fight a stupid, useless war over there for 20 years for no reason other than to bolster the Military Industrial Complex – and possibly protect the opium trade," she said. "Thousands of honorable U.S. troops needlessly died thinking they were serving their country. After all that, we depart like thieves in the night.
"The Afghan 'army' we were so proud of training and equipping cut and run, and we left a bunch of Americans and all of our booty behind. Then the Taliban rolls in and declares 9/11 as the inauguration of their new government — and then postpones it. You can't write this stuff!"
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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