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.
There are issues that the Biden Administration must address. In the mad rush out of Afghanistan, many of the refugees are coming without paperwork to verify their identities. It is probable that the Taliban, ISIS, or other terror groups have sent some of their agents of terror through the loose sieve of refugee evacuation much like the drug cartels are moving people across our open southern border. Federal authorities must take the time to properly vet the refugees before relocating them into the interior of the nation.
Also, while some of the refugees have some exposure to American values and American standards, many of them do not. They are coming from a nation that has been in a state of war for as long as any of them can remember. We must make a concerted effort to educate them on America’s respect for individual rights, equality, representative government, the rule of law, and all of the other pillars of America.
Finally, while some of the refugees are educated, bilingual, and highly skilled, others are coming to America unprepared to be successful in the American economy. Thankfully, we are at a time in our history when jobs are plentiful in Wisconsin and elsewhere. To be successful in those jobs, the refugees need to be taught to speak and read English, job skills and employment norms, personal financial management, and skills with which to earn a living. This investment will also help protect the refugees from being exploited and ensure that they can become full participants in their new country.
President Biden has left some of our nation’s honor in the blood-caked mud of Afghanistan. We can reclaim some of that honor with how we treat the refugees who are able to make it to our shores.