Boots On The Ground – Important Update On The Crisis In The Middle East – Join us today for an important update on the crisis in the Middle East. David Barton is on site and calls in from Afghanistan to share the sobering situation with us.
Air Date: 08/27/2021
Guest: David Barton
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, where we talk about the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. You can find out more about us at our website, wallbuilderslive.com, wallbuilderslive.com. That’s the place to make a one-time or monthly contribution. We’re a listener-supported program and appreciate all of you out there that support us on a monthly basis. Thank you very much for that.
And by the way, at the website, also archives available. This week, you may want to dive into those archives if you missed some of the earlier programs in the week. We had Rudy Atallah on Monday. He is in charge of so much of the civilian efforts to rescue Christians and others in Afghanistan right now and get them out. So Monday, we had an update from him. And then Tuesday and Wednesday, Colonel Brian Birdwell was with us when we talked about his experience, closest survivor to the point of impact at the Pentagon, on 9/11, and in a lot of really good information about looking back over the last 20 years, and also with regard to the current situation.
And today, and normally, this would be Good News Friday, and there’s a lot of good news we could share. But we’re going to push that to next Friday because David Barton is actually in the Middle East right now in an undisclosed location. He is helping with these rescue missions, and the Nazarene Fund, which he’s on the board of is very, very involved in this. And as you heard earlier this week, nearly $30 million raised to rescue Christians and get them out. And so some really, really important work is being done right now, and David’s actually there, and a part of it. And so he’s going to be calling in when we come back from the break and giving us an update on the situation. It’s descending into more and more chaos.
And so we want to update our listener. So we’re basically replacing our Good News Friday today with a direct report from what’s happening in the Middle East, in Afghanistan. Stay with us, we’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, David Barton will be calling in from the Middle East. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. We’ve got David Barton on the line calling in from the Middle East. David, you’re there right in the thick of things rescuing folks in and dealing with aircraft and the whole nine yards. I heard it’s totally chaotic. But thanks for calling while you’re in the middle of all this to let us know what’s going on.
Yeah, it’s remarkable over here. We’re not saying where we are. We’re moving in various locations. The United States has created a situation over here where that our longtime allies are scared to have any identification of where these Christian refugees and other refugees are going. They don’t want to be mentioned. I don’t know what’s happened.
And if you recall Colonel Birdwell, the closest survivor at the Pentagon when the Pentagon was hit on 9/11, the plane ran over him, he was set ablaze and now after dozens of surgeries he survived. But Colonel Birdwell told me something that’s always stuck with me. He said, you know, prior to 9/11, we had a lot of terrorist attacks on Americans. We had terrorist attacks in Tehran. We had the embassy in Tanzania. We had Torio in Spain. We had the nightclub in Berlin where American soldiers were, there was a blown up. We had the 1993 World Trade Center attacks. We had all these attacks on Americans, and there were thousands of casualties. And then 9/11 hit and we had 3,000 more casualties, 3000 deaths.
He said, what happened was at that time, we said, you know, we’ve got a lot of mosquitoes flying out of the swamp. We can either learn to live with the mosquitoes, which we’ve been doing for 20 years, or we can go in and drain the swamp. And the swamp was Afghanistan. That’s where Osama bin Laden was, etc. And so we went in, and we literally have drained the swamp.
And so what happens now is when you look at the last several years, there’s been stability in Afghanistan. You actually have women holding office here. They no longer have to go down streets covered and afraid of being beaten by showing their face. They’re on high office. Actually, on the Supreme Court, we have women served here. There’s religious liberty in Afghanistan. Way back in 2016, they actually got confident enough, or they said, hey, on your national identification papers, go ahead and put your religion, Christian, or Yazidi, or Sunni, or Shia, or whatever, because we all get along. And so, we’ve gone from that to absolute chaos and turmoil now to where that there are 20 different terrorist organizations that have now moved back into Afghanistan since the fall of Kabul, so just over the last week and a half.
And so all these neighbors around here are saying, oh, my gosh, it’s another swamp and they get super mosquitoes this time. And so as we’re trying to work with these people out of here, these nations, they love America, they’ve been our allies for years, but they don’t want to be identified because they don’t want to be hit by the terrorist. So what we’ve seen just today, in the last, I’d say six or seven hours, is to complete deterioration of what we thought was going on.
When we landed here yesterday, we were told that there’s 72 hours before we need to help everybody out of the Kabul airport. And so there were 18,000 on the inside. There were 40,000 trying to get in on the outside. And we needed to get those 18,000 moved out. And so we specifically through a group called the Nazarene Fund, Glenn Beck started that I’m on the board. Over the last week, we raised about $30 million, generous people all over the country gave to help get Christians to safety. And so we vetted these folks, and we’ve been able to get about 2,100 of them out. We have more than we would like to get out as well.
But we thought we had three days. And then we found earlier today that well, State Department is saying you probably really only have about 24 hours. And then we got some text just a few minutes ago, that says, well, it looks like it’s a lot less than that. What we’re seeing is they’re starting to take the night stalkers out. And that is the last line of defense for military. That’s what they really used to keep the terrorists pushed back. So they’re refueling those to get them out. So it looks like even the three days is gone and now we’re down to just chaos.
And so what we’ve seen, even today is Americans are not able to get onto the base to be airlifted out. We have Americans, it looks like we’ll be leaving behind. We’ve had a number of our planes turn back from countries. We have a country lined up to take our folks. And the State Department called them and said don’t take that plane and turned it back. We’ve had two that made it out and return back because the State Department would not give any kind of a clearance.
And so tonight, we actually call some other countries, got diplomatic relationships from countries and they said, no, no, send us we’ll take them, that’s fine. Send us the women and children with no limits. And so even in the night, we’re still working to get these people out of here. But what we’ve seen from the State Department is literally criminal. And I know there’s some good people in the State Department, but that is a really big swamp that we’re dealing with. And they’ve been the biggest problem with what we’ve had in trying to get these folks out of here and trying to get Americans and trying to get Christians and trying to get allies to SIV system trying to get those who have helped Americans, trying to get them to safety. It’s been the State Department that’s been the biggest problem.
David, if the military is out, I mean, would there still be private efforts to try to rescue Christians at that point without any American military protection or coverage?
Well, that’s the problem we have now. There’s a number of veterans organizations and vets who have come back into Afghanistan independently. And independently, they are finding the people that help them. And they’re moving them across the border, sometimes on foot, moving through passes, moving through other places, trying to get them out of this country so they can get into safety. So the number of vet organizations, and I don’t mean organization per se, but the number of vets, and some of their organizations have been very active here on the ground, talking to several of them today and what they’ve been doing, moving some out and they finally had a plane load going out. And then again, the State Department turn that back as well.
We had 222 Afghanistan female judges. And what happened was these are folks that have come to power and been elected and been placed in office over the last several years the stability has kind of come into Afghanistan. And so, some of these women were even on the Supreme Court here, and when the Taliban took control of the city, they opened all the prisons. And a lot of the guys in prisons hadn’t been convicted by these women. And in this culture, no woman is going to keep me in prison, so they’re all looking for these women to kill these women.
So 222 women, list was given to us, can you help save them? Can you help get them out of there? And so we’ve been working with that group. And because the State Department what is done at the airport has been so confusing and so dangerous, actually, we had to go with a different plan. I can’t tell you what that is. But we’re moving some of those women out to safety. I know that I’m speaking to you now that 12 have been moved to safety. And there’s another 210 on their way. And that’s all happened to be secret operations. But I mean, it is just so different to see how quickly the culture changed when the US military got out. And quite frankly, for the last week, I’ve been blaming the State Department for all this. And that’s really a mistake.
One of the things that dawned on me today and talking to some officials, State Department officials and others was, look what’s going on here were supposed to be handled by the military. We know that what they call meals, the military noncombatant evacuation operation, that those have always been handled by the military, always been handled by military because the military can take civilians and get them out of a battle zone and get them through safely, and they can provide the escorts needed and they can keep the enemy back, etc.
And so, you know, I’ve been complaining that this should be done by the military. Well, it should have been, but it was this administration that pull the military out of here. There’s no military here left to be able to do that. And so what you got is an organization not qualified to do it, that’s now put in charge of it. And it struck me today, it’s like having a kindergarten classroom with 30 kids in the kindergarten teacher. And the kindergarten teacher, your adult supervision leaves the room and stays gone, what’s going to happen inside that room? Those kids are going to tear it to pieces. They’re the kids. They’re not adults. And that’s literally what we’re seeing here on the ground, because the military was pulled out by the administration before the civilians were. The folks that know how to handle this are not here.
And so what you got is a bunch of five-year-old kindergarteners trying to run an operation they’re not qualified to run. And so I’ve got to give him a little grace more than I wanted to have. Now, that doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of being malicious, and trying to stop the operations and trying to turn back planes and trying to keep people from being rescued. But at the same time, part of the incompetency has to be blamed totally on the administration, because they pulled out the people that are qualified to do this, and they left behind a bunch of kindergarten kids that are not capable of doing what needs to be done.
Let’s also point out that there is still military there on the ground inside the base. And even though it’s only a couple thousand, that’s still enough that we could go rescue Americans throughout Kabul except, dad, as you mentioned, the Biden administration is telling them you can’t leave the base because that would violate our agreement with the Taliban, which of course then goes back to why are we making agreements? Why are we negotiating with terrorist organizations? There’re still our military personnel in place that we could go do some of these extractions. We could go do some of these operations to safely get Americans into the airport, get them on planes to get them home to get them out of harm’s way. And the Biden administration will not approve the military to leave the interior perimeter of the airport to go and safely escort Americans into safety and on the flight to get them home.
And so dad, as you’re mentioning, obviously, it’s not just the State Department. Certainly, there’s levels of blame that can be thrust upon them, because there are people it looks like intentionally sabotaging some of the operations, some of the clearances for the planes, for the flights, whatever else. But to your point, it should not have been given to them in the first place. This is not what is in their parameter of jurisdiction. This is certainly a military operation Department of Defense among other things. And the Biden ministration is just boxing this on every level.
You know, one of the actions we’ve had in American policy forever, and the police have had this even when dealing with local issues is you don’t negotiate with terrorists, you don’t negotiate with the bad guys. And what’s happened is we’ve got this administration now negotiate with the Taliban. The Taliban is a third world organization, that the only reason they’ve come in is because when they started taking cities up north, they did not get bombed this time. It has been for the last several years through all administrations.
When the Taliban stuck its head up, it was like whack a mole. Well, we were happy to whack the mole. And wherever they stuck it up, we bombed them. And so they started trying a few cities back, is really kind of back in May. They tried a few cities and they didn’t get bombed. And they tried a few more, and now they’re getting organized. And so here they’re a formidable force because we haven’t done anything to them. And so we even have the CIA going into negotiate with the Taliban this past weekend.
So what happens is what I’m seeing is every time this administration sits down with the Taliban, we get less time, we get less time and more restrictions on us. It’s tying our hands. And there is no way in the world that that when, for example, say, hey, we will have everybody out by August 31st. And now it looks like it’s going to be a week before that, but we’ll have everybody out by August 31st. But it may take a couple days later and Taliban said no, we will not accept a couple of days later. You will have them out by August 31st. Okay. Okay. Okay. We’ll have about August 31st.
And then this weekend, we meet with the Taliban again, and suddenly the timetables are moved up. It’s 72 hours now, is all we got. And now it’s 24 hours and that looks like 12 hours. I mean, every time we negotiate with these guys, it’s like they’re the ones with the big stick and we’re the little kids and we just cower in fear before. And it just doesn’t make sense and it’s really embarrassing. We’ve had administrations I’ve disagreed with before.
Right now, this is really embarrassing for America. Our allies see this, and they’re not happy. The British are pulling out because of the Americans are not going to protect… the British aren’t going to stay, the French are pulling out, the Germans are pulling out. All the allies are pulling out because America won’t stay. And they will all willing to stay here and keep these guys today. But we’ve really kind of pulled the backbone out of everybody. And I’m really not happy with America because of what this administration has done. I love America. I love the country. But boy, we don’t look good in the world’s eyes right now. That’s not good.
Guys, see, one of the things that I saw this morning, was that over in the UK, they have acknowledged that they will not partake in any operation with the Americans again as long as Joe Biden or Kamala Harris are the leaders of this nation, because they are seeing the failure of what we are doing. Now, you know, the validity of that statement, it came from a leader who is connected to Parliament and that’s what he said. So that’s what was reported on this morning.
But I think that that tone certainly does seem to be accurate, that if you are one of these other nations, why would you ever want to engage with a nation that is doing what America is doing right now, that doesn’t keep our word, that it really is abandoning allies in the moment of crisis when they would need us the most? Why would you trust this government, this regime? Why would you want to do operations with them when they negotiate with the bad guys and then leave their people behind? It makes no sense. And dad, to your point, it does make America look really bad on a world stage.
Yeah. And David, I mean, I know what we would probably see a Donald Trump do right here, if he was in charge, he wouldn’t have allowed this mess to happen in the first place. But if thrown into this mess, they’re smart things to do. They’re obviously not doing that. So when you’re over there right now and seeing it and talking to people, what is the hope that would be the best we could get from this incompetent president? I mean, what could we be pushing for that we think might actually happen to improve the situation as long as they are in office?
Well, if we could get to Walter Reed Hospital and have a backbone transplant, that’d the first thing we would want. If we can get somebody that would actually stand up and say, no, we’re going to set the deadline, not you. We’ll do this on our timetable, not yours. That would change the entire complexion of what’s gone on here. We have given them boldness. They know that we’re backing down when they make demands.
And so simply having a change in attitude, it’s like, what we used to do, back in my day was, you know, the thing was here, knock this chip off my shoulder, and that was a dare. I dare you to do that. Because if you do, I’m going to punch you right in the face. And so nobody would knock the chip off the shoulder unless they were sure that they were stronger than the kid who had the chip on the shoulder. And so, that’s an old school game from 40-50 years ago, however long it’s been.
Well, that’s the kind of attitude you need from a leader. And that’s not what we have. Now, talking to military guys today, they say, you know, we still could salvage this. We still could drive the Taliban back. They still are a bunch of third world thugs, and they can’t be driven back. We have more technology, more devices, more everything. Even though the report came out today of how many weapons, 600,000 weapons that we have left that they now have, so we have armed them with our weapons. We have left, I think, was it 750 planes we left behind. I mean that they have an Air Force now because we gave it to them. They have weapons because we gave it, so it would be tougher.
But these guys pointed out that we could do it, it would have higher casualties than it should have had. But it can still be taken back and turned around. But at this point, you just got to have somebody with enough backbone to say, you’re not going to push us around. We’re not Third World thugs like you guys are. We’re first world power, and we’re going to act that way. But we don’t have that. And that’s a real disappointment that we’re not finding that.
And you know, even it’s been to be on the ground over here and see what’s happening and get the reports that we’re getting every 15, 20 minutes, whatever, and to sit back at the White House, Joe Biden talking about how he really needs praise for how well they’ve handled the situation over here, I mean oh, my gosh, you know, how disconnected from reality are you? And that’s what has to change in the attitude back home with leaders we’ve got.
We’ve been talking to congressmen throughout the day, and they are so ticked off. We’ve actually had a lot more information than they’ve had. We talked to one of the guys who got briefed. There’s a briefing for Congressman, he said it was dog and pony show, there was no briefing that we gave him more information than what he got out of a classified intelligence briefing, which was a dog and pony show. So all that to say it can still be turned around, but it’s unlikely to happen with this administration because of what they’ve already demonstrated.
David, before we let you go, let me ask you about while you’re on the ground, and you’re witnessing the chaos, how important has it been to have Rudy and the Nazarene Fund team that has been doing this type of, not like exactly like this, but this type of rescuing Christians for so many years in the Middle East? How important has that played into them doing the best they can with this situation?
You know, the military guys who are very sympathetic to what’s going on, because they know how an operation special run, they’ve seen how it’s been run and they’re as frustrated as anybody else. And so some of the military command folks today actually properly said, hey, look, we’re in charge of getting the American personnel out, we’re in charge of getting diplomats and others out. But if it hadn’t been for you guys, this thing would have been an absolute disaster. You’ve been able to get thousands of folks out of here. You’ve been able to get good guys out, SIVs and J-1, J-2 passports, you’ve been able to get so many out.
And specifically, we went in from Nazarene Fund standpoint to specifically get Christians out and get Christians out that are being persecuted or being targeted, and that was our objective. And that’s why folks gave $30 million, which has been used with, I mean, it’s saved, I don’t know how many countless lives have been saved as a result. But the military guys today told us to the end, than for you guys coming in, this would been an absolute debacle, disaster, and there will be so many more deaths.
So for those who gave to the Nazarene Fund, thank you for doing so. We’re still using your funds. We’ve got these guys now trapped in I’ll say trap mess, because of the State Department. We have them out of the country, but they’re trapped in places that they don’t want to be in, we don’t want her to be. There were countries that were willing to receive them, and we’re still going to get them there. And that’s part of what the Nazarene Fund is going to do, is helped get them relocated to a place of safety where they can have a permanent life somewhere.
So, it’s still a lot left to do, and still a lot left to do on the ground with the Nazarene Fund, still a lot of work in front of us. But nonetheless, thanks to everybody who gave. And for those who want to give, go to wallbuilders.com/contribute and you see the Middle East button there. And when you get to Middle East area and contribute there, 100% of what you give this downrange to help folks, help persecuted Christians to help get them to a place of safety, get the kids there, and give them a different chance of life.
So, good question, Rick. And the answer is the Nazarene Fund has made an incalculable difference in what’s happened in a really, really disappointing situation. But had it not been for the Nazarene Fund, it certainly would have been a lot worse than it has been.
Well, let’s also point out that when the US does pull out, when Biden finally follows through and the troops are gone, the Nazarene Fund will not stop its operations. Obviously, strategy will change at that point, because you don’t have American allies you’re working with, you don’t have the government to help you cover and concealment. I mean, literally for years, we’ve been going in, and we’ve been doing human extractions, rescuing people that were caught in human trafficking or sex slavery. And so this is still something that we will continue to fund operations to help rescue these Christians, these Afghani Christians, obviously, the American has have a lot of work still going on. It’s just, unfortunately, we will be working without the aid and assistance of the US government, which should be the primary force in what’s going on.
But dad, as you mentioned, the really good news is that more people are being rescued because of the Nazarene Fund, because of the people that have given after hearing some of these programs. We’ve been able to fund these planes in these operations, these operators to get work done that simply the federal government was not getting done. Had it not been for Nazarene Fund, there would still be multiple hundreds more people who would be stuck in Afghanistan before the thing is all said and done.
And Tim, I would say not just hundreds, but we know literally have several thousand we have already moved to safety. And we think that even in the remaining time, we may be able to get another 1,000 or 2,000 out of here. So it will be really good numbers. But my gosh, our heart is so broken for those that we won’t be able to get out because of what’s happening here. But God knows and we’ll keep trying to do everything we can. And Tim, as you said those operations they’re going to continue to go on in places across the world. So Nazarene Fund mission doesn’t change.
But again, thanks for all those who’ve been playing. Continue to pray now. There’s a lot that looks like it’s going to happen next 12 to 24 hours. So, a lot of danger flooding around and a lot of our guys over here, so pray for them. Pray for those that won’t be able to make it out. Pray for the Americans that are going to be left behind. Pray for their safety, that we can perhaps still get them out. Maybe there’s a way to get the Taliban not to kill the Americans. Because if they do, they’ll make the American public really mad, and if they make us mad, we’ll come back. You know, whatever it is, whatever it is that the scares those guys, just pray that they get the message and the lives are spared as a result.
I can only imagine being on the ground there, David, and seeing all this firsthand, I’m sure makes you appreciate the years of rescues, and also even become more dedicated to doing this in future years because this kind of evil does take place in places all over the world. And so what Nazarene Fund is doing is incredibly, incredibly important.
Folks, we encourage you to go to wallbuilders.com today and make that donation. 100% of those funds will go to this project. So make sure that you choose that Middle East option and rescuing Christians, and be a part of this today. David, thanks so much, man, for calling in. I know you got to get back to it. Please thank Glenn, and the whole team and let him know that our listeners are praying for him.
We’ll do it. Thanks, guys. Good to talk to you.
Alright, folks, we are out of time for today. We’ll have more updates next week when David gets back to the States. Thanks so much for listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.