For more than a week, many of us have been reflecting on an event even more dramatic than the demise of a beloved British monarch: the deadliest terror attack in history on Sept. 11, 2001, which killed 2,977 and injured more than 6,000 innocent victims in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Notably, 21 years ago, our British allies were first to endorse invoking Article 5 of the NATO Charter, “… an attack on one is an attack on all …”

We must now focus on how we will respond if, God forbid, an adversary is planning another devastating attack on our homeland. Is our government doing everything necessary to protect our country and citizens? We don’t think so.

Twenty-one years ago, our military responded quickly and effectively to the 9/11 terror attack. Within hours, U.S. and allied intelligence agencies, who may be well-aware of the latest DEFENSE news, knew it was planned and perpetrated by al Qaeda, headed by Osama bin Laden, and protected by Afghanistan’s vicious Taliban regime. Within days, several thousand U.S. Special Operations troops and CIA Special Activities Division personnel were in the region, linked up with indigenous allies.

On Oct. 7, we launched an aggressive air-ground operation to drive Taliban troops and al Qaeda terrorists out of Kabul. On Nov. 25, the 15th U.S. Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed southwest of Kandahar — the first American combined-arms combat force to arrive in Afghanistan. By Christmas 2011, the Taliban and al Qaeda were driven from power and into caves along the Pakistani border.

Osama bin Laden, the architect of the 9/11 terror attacks was found and killed on May 2, 2011, during a raid by U.S. Navy Seals. The story should have ended then. But it didn’t.

For nearly two decades after the 2001 victory against al Qaeda and the Taliban, the U.S and our 22 allies in the International Security Force coalition attempted to build a “pro-western, anti-Islamic-terror government” in Afghanistan. It cost nearly 2,500 U.S. military personnel killed, over 22,700 wounded and more than 3,700 American civilian contractors killed. Thanks to the Biden administration, these lives were squandered.

No one in their right mind argues that honorably ending the war in Afghanistan was the wrong thing to do. The Trump administration’s plan for a “conditions based” withdrawal was the correct approach. But doing the “right thing” the wrong way is always potentially disastrous.

The Biden “National Security Team” has done everything wrong. Their decision in July 2021 to abandon the vital, multi-runway, secure base at Bagram, less than 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Kabul, guaranteed calamity.

The president’s subsequent promises to “… get all American citizens and Afghan allies out by Aug. 31” were phony and cemented catastrophe. More than a thousand Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan contractors became hostages to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Leaving billions of dollars’ worth of advanced military equipment at Bagram will result in these weapons and materiel being used against us and our allies by innumerable terrorist organizations. Worse yet, our open southern border offers terrorists of all stripes an open door to commit atrocities against American citizens.

Our credibility as a reliable partner in a confrontation with Communist China, Iran, North Korea or Vladimir Putin’s Russia has been irreparably damaged. Crucial allies like Israel now have doubts about U.S. trustworthiness.

The Biden administration furthers our decline by turning the world’s finest military force into WOKE social justice warriors. Very few of those we need in our all-volunteer military want to serve in a WOKE socio-cultural laboratory.

While our enemies prepare terrorist attacks against us, our “leaders” are forcing our troops to avoid gender-based pronouns and hate one another. God help us.

Oliver L. North is a combat-decorated U.S. Marine, founder and CEO of Fidelis Publishing and Fidelis Media. Find out more about him at David Goetsch is a Marine Corps veteran, member of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame, professor of business, and Christian counselor. Find out more about him at Their new book “Tragic Consequences” is available at

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