Gallagher: "This is America. We don't leave anyone behind."

August 24, 2021
Press Release

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) today delivered remarks on the House floor regarding the fiasco in Afghanistan and the need for Congress to pass his bill that would prevent the Biden Administration from withdrawing troops until every American who wants to leave Afghanistan is out of the country. The remarks were delivered after the Biden Administration announced it would not extend its August 31 deadline for withdrawal, regardless of whether it would mean leaving Americans stranded in the country behind.

In part, the congressman said, "Right now the president is doubling down on his August 31st withdrawal date despite strong bipartisan opposition and pushback. Make no mistake, if we cut and run on August 31st we will condemn thousands to die. I don’t care what secret side deal was struck with the Taliban, this is America, we don’t leave our people behind."

 

Click HERE to watch his remarks, or read the transcript below:

Madam Speaker, I rise today to urge defeat of the previous question so that we can consider my bill HR 5071 to ensure no Americans are left behind in Afghanistan.

Over the last week, we have all seen the horrifying images coming from Kabul:

  • Babies passed over barbed wire.
  • 2 year olds trampled to death.
  • Bodies falling from C-17s.

These pictures are now forever painted onto American history. They don’t depict the orderly withdrawal the president promised. These are instead portraits of chaos, tragedy, and dishonor.

And yet the administration assures us they planned for every contingency.

  • Was the plan for America to give billions of dollars worth of US military equipment to the Taliban?
  • Was the plan to put terrorists effectively in charge of security around the Kabul airport?
  • Was the plan to leave over 10,000 American citizens stranded behind enemy lines?

Madam Speaker, if this was the plan, a plan to surrender so incompetently and on such ignominious terms, then our country can’t withstand any more of this administration’s “plans”. It’s time for this Congress to act to hold this administration accountable and save lives. 

This bill would do that by requiring daily reporting to Congress on the number of Americans left in country and the number of Afghan allies seeking refuge. The bill also prohibits the President from withdrawing our forces until all Americans who want out are safely out of the country. Right now the president is doubling down on his August 31st withdrawal date despite strong bipartisan opposition and pushback. Make no mistake, if we cut and run on August 31st we will condemn thousands to die. I don’t care what secret side deal was struck with the Taliban, this is America, we don’t leave our people behind. A great country such as ours takes care of our citizens and our allies.

Our enemies are mocking our surrender. We've all seen the images of the Taliban, for example, mocking the iconic image of the Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima.

It may be too late to save face, but it is not too late to save lives.

This isn’t a news cycle that will blow over, this isn’t a narrative to spin. We are talking about American lives, and we are talking about America’s honor. Let’s act now, before this crisis, and with it America’s standing in the world, deteriorates even further.

 

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