My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Perhaps the news out of Afghanistan today makes this even more pressing. Here’s a part:
With the disastrous end to America’s involvement in Afghanistan, a flood of refugees is surging out of the country. It is America’s responsibility and privilege to welcome these refugees with open arms.
The final withdrawal from Afghanistan could not be going worse. The precipitous abandonment American positions at Bagram Air Base and elsewhere, the desertion of our NATO and Afghan allies, and the poorly planned extrication of American personnel has left Afghanistan strewn with American equipment and honor. It is a disgrace and shame that all Americans will bear for the disastrous actions of our president.
Out of this nightmare, all of the Afghans who helped America over the last 20 years to root out terrorism and protect American lives are trying to escape the inevitable slaughter at the hands of the Taliban. There are also tens of thousands of Afghans who believed America and our promises of liberty, individual rights, and freedom to practice their religion without interference from government overlords. This includes women and girls who know the fate that awaits them under Taliban rule. They bought into the concept of a western- style democracy and are staring down the barrel of another generation of brutal totalitarian butchery.
Not all of these Afghans are going to make it out. Right now, there are thousands of Afghans and Americans fighting and praying to get a seat on one of the precious airplanes still ferrying people out of the country. They know that those flights will end too soon because President Joe Biden has decided that the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and Afghans is a price worth paying to get America out of the country as quickly as possible. He factored the bloodshed into his decision. Of the refugees that make it out of Afghanistan, many of them are coming to Wisconsin. Fort McCoy is one of the places that will serve as a safe haven to house some of the refugees. We do not know how many yet, but that will likely depend on how many people our valiant military can evacuate before Biden or the Taliban ends the mission. Wisconsin should welcome these poor souls into our state with the kindness and generosity for which the people of Wisconsin are known. The refugees did not plan to be here. They believed America and thought they would spend their lives in a relatively free and stable Afghanistan. But in the face of certain oppression or death, they have fled everything they know with little more than the clothes on their backs.