A U.S. Chinook helicopter flies over the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. Credit: Rahmat Gul / AP

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Demi Kouzounas is chair of the Maine Republican Party and a U.S. Army veteran.

Last week in a radio interview, veteran and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden was asked what he thought about the possibility of the Taliban being in control of the U.S. embassy in Kabul on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11.

Golden said: “It’s a building. [Laugh]. You know, it’s a building.”

As a fellow veteran, this reckless reply left me outraged. Golden served as a U.S. Marine in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I served in the U.S. Army in Germany during the Cold War. I believe every member of our military knows that our embassies aren’t merely buildings; the Taliban certainly understands that.

The thought of the Taliban in complete control of Afghanistan with a full takeover of our American embassy is no laughing matter.

Our embassy is a beacon of hope for Afghans who are being crushed under a horrific regime. It’s a place for Americans to take shelter from the storm. It also contains countless security risks if exposed. Yet, Golden thinks it’s merely a building and the thought of it being occupied by the Taliban is, apparently, a laughing matter. Does Golden think that Joe Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal is a joke?

Because of failures by the Biden administration, the Taliban is in control of Afghanistan, and as a result, our country and our allies are less safe. Making matters worse, as the crisis was unfolding, Biden spent the weekend vacationing at Camp David. He was apparently shamed into addressing the nation on a crisis he’s partially responsible for, with the American people hearing from the Taliban before they heard from Biden. When he finally showed up last week, he made an 18-minute speech blaming past administrations and the Afghans for his failures, he ran from questions.

That’s not leadership.

Biden and his administration are failing Americans and our allies who are trapped in Afghanistan. This administration could not account for how many Americans remain in Afghanistan, how they will bring them home, or even guarantee their safety to get to the airport in Kabul. This is a crisis, and Biden isn’t showing leadership when it matters the most.

According to reports, the Taliban has seized helicopters, Humvees, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), drones and even “anti-aircraft guns, armored tanks, and artillery.” Billions of dollars in United States military equipment, paid for by American taxpayers, is under the control of terrorists.

Some Democrats were willing to quickly speak up on the Biden administration’s failures. Former President Barack Obama’s CIA Director David Petraeus said, “The situation is absolutely heartbreaking. It is tragic … This is a Dunkirk moment or, perhaps, a Saigon moment.”

Democratic U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton said, “All the scenes of total chaos that we saw play out on the TV yesterday could have been avoided if the [Biden] administration had planned for this in advance.” Obama’s ambassador to Afghanistan, James Cunningham, said, “This tragedy was completely preventable.”

Americans are still trapped in Afghanistan. The Biden administration has inadequate plans to evacuate them safely. Taliban fighters are beating women and children at checkpoints in Kabul.

Does Jared Golden think this is a laughing matter?