Fox News reported Saturday that “a Taliban fighting unit called the Badri 313 Battalion was spotted patrolling Afghanistan with U.S.-made gear, and posting one photo appearing to mock the iconic World War II photo, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.” If we had a sane political culture in America today, which of course we do not, the Taliban’s Iwo Jima mummery would be cast in bronze and set in some prominent place in Washington, and called the Biden Monument, as an everlasting reminder of the betrayal and fecklessness of Biden’s handlers’ administration.
The Fox report explained that “propaganda videos posted this week on channels affiliated with the Taliban show soldiers in the little-known Badri 313 Battalion carrying U.S. and U.S. ally-made weapons and gear that appear to be stolen from allied militaries while patrolling parts of Kabul. In one propaganda photo, members of the Badri 313 Battalion are seen hoisting a Taliban flag in a similar fashion to the six U.S. Marines who raised the U.S. flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945.”
This is Joe Biden’s legacy: the equipping of the Taliban, the outfitting of the Taliban, the spectacle of the Taliban strutting around bragging that they have defeated the world’s lone superpower – this is what just eight months of the Biden administration have given us. And as journalist Shiv Aroor of India Today observed, “With the Taliban now in power, there is every reason to believe the militia could grow in strength.Expect to see much more of the Badri 313 in the weeks and months ahead.”
Yes. As Fox News noted, “the U.S. gave Afghan forces an estimated $28 billion in weaponry between 2002 and 2017. But now, ‘everything that hasn’t been destroyed is the Taliban’s now,’ a U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters.” That amounts to a great deal, but not even Biden’s handlers are sure of the scope of the catastrophe. The Times of Israel reported Saturday that “Washington is still attempting to gauge the scope of United States weaponry and technology that have fallen into the hands of the Taliban following Afghanistan’s fall to the militants, though it is believed to be considerable. Materiel the Islamist group is believed to have gained includes hundreds of thousands of assault rifles, thousands of armored vehicles, dozens of aircraft, tanks, artillery, sniper rifles, night-vision goggles and much more.”
The Taliban reportedly don’t have the expertise to operate all of this, but they’ll be able to make use of a lot of it. But as with the Iwo Jima parody photo, it’s the symbolic value that counts. Matthew Henman of Janes explained: “These seizures have more propaganda value for the Taliban than any real leveling-up of capabilities.” The Taliban’s capabilities may be being underestimated, but whether they are or not, there is no doubt that the propaganda value of all this is immense.
Are Biden’s handlers really this inept? Or is Lara Logan’s assertion to Tucker Carlson, “the United States wants this outcome,” more likely? Either way, this is the world they have given us: one in which American power is mocked, American wealth is squandered and falls into the hands of our enemies, and even the images of our finest hour become the linchpin for ridicule in one of our worst eras. Back in February, the Associated Press reported happily that “collective sighs of relief could be heard from many European capitals Saturday after U.S. President Joe Biden made clear in his first major foreign policy address since taking office that he rejected the ‘America First’ and transactional approach of his predecessor and urged cooperation among Western allies.” Germany’s Der Spiegel was just as relieved: “Biden gave exactly the speech that many Europeans wanted to hear – an America that pats you on the shoulders, that doesn’t criticize or demand.”
Now we see yet again, in the most vivid illustration of this since the Benghazi jihad massacre, what happens in the world when we don’t have an American president who puts America first.But Donald Trump was an anomaly, which is why the entire political and media establishment ganged up on him and did everything it could to make sure he would leave office on January 20, 2021. On that day, we were promised that “America is back!” But the America that has come back is self-defeating, confused, and justly the object of ridicule. If America survives the Biden era as a free nation, that Biden Monument should indeed be erected in Washington, as a cautionary tale of the costs of departing from the “America First” principle.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins―Revised and Expanded Edition. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.