What Biden Left Behind – With Former Congressman Steve Russell: A billion-dollar base, advanced-electronic equipment, enormous amounts of vehicles and airplanes, etc. … all abandoned in Afghanistan.  What happened to it all? Should Congress investigate how this increases the risk of attacks on our nation? Was our work in Afghanistan really too expensive? Was there ANY strategic advantage to leaving? What are the Afghan people really like? Tune in to this eye-opening interview with former Congressman Steve Russell!

Air Date: 10/19/2021

Guest: Steve Russell

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.

Faith and the Culture


Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live, we’re talking about the hot topics of the day. We always look at those topics from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective, you can find out more about our program at wallbuilderslive.com, it’ll tell you about all three of us that host the program. David Barton is America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders, Tim Barton, a national speaker, and pastor and president of WallBuilders, and I’m Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach.

So wallbuilderslive.com also has the archives, you can go back and listen to programs from the previous weeks, and you can make that one-time or monthly contribution. We greatly appreciate all of you out there that have come alongside us, lock shields with us, and help us to amplify this voice of truth.

Later in the program, Steve Russell will be with us. He’s a former congressman from the state of Oklahoma. And of course, David, you’ve known Steve for a while. He’s going to be talking to us about some of the debacle in Afghanistan, but this is a guy you’ve worked with before.


Yeah, we’ve worked with him and he is a great, great guy. He is number one, a unique military figure. It was his group that captured Saddam Hussein. So go back to that point in time, I mean, that’s a pretty special group that did that. And he’s a colonel. And man, he was in so many firefights, and, and Tim and I spent time with him in Poland.

We all went over a congressional delegation in Poland and went through a lot of the stuff over there with the Concentration camp, the Death camps, the Jewish Holocaust, and really had some quality time over there meeting some of the Christians who saved Jews during that period of time, went through and toured the Holocaust camp. So it was a remarkable time.

An Expert

But Steve is such a quality guy, such a class act, unique, and that as a congressman, he’s still only member of Congress who runs a gun manufacturing company. So in Oklahoma, he literally has a gun manufacturing company. But he is also just an unbelievable military historian.

I remember talking to Steve and he’s one of only like five or six guys that can walk on to any military base, any Military Museum, point at something and say change that out, take that out, put the sand and it doesn’t have to go through a committee. I mean, he is so elite in his knowledge of history, particularly World War II history. And he is an elite level military historian that has just special authority because he knows so much about the things.

He did get involved in Congress. He ran for Congress, was a member of Congress, was a great spokesman for the military, really gets surprised in his reelection, nobody saw coming. He was in what was considered an extremely safe district in Oklahoma, and he was taken out narrowly. And nobody, nobody saw it coming. He was considered a very safe seat. So he spent one term in Congress and he’s now back in private life.

And by the way, let me just throw out a lot of commercial here. One of the videos that’s available, one of the mp4 is available on WallBuilders website is called America’s Hidden History Volume 1. And Volume 1, we go through the various holidays. So we’ll go through the special stuff that you may not know about Black History Month or about Constitution Day or about the 4th of July, the signers on the Declaration and Independence, etc. And then there’s two military programs, one on Memorial Day and one on Veterans Day.

And we had Steve Russell, great interview that we did at a museum in Oklahoma, which actually that museum houses a lot of things he had from the war in Iraq, has the actual uniform he was wearing when they capture Saddam Hussein. So he’s a big Oklahoma hero. But on that DVD mp4 on America’s Hidden History Volume 1, Steve is there and talks about things related to Memorial Day, guys that he lost, what happened as well, as what happens on Veterans Day. So, really great interview with Steve that people will enjoy.

Former Congressman Steve Russell Joins Us Today


He also might have come back with a few classified things and he showed us some things and I’m not tipping anything off. I’m sure all these have been turned down, but he’s like yeah, he’s like I’m not sure that people really know I have this. And he started going through some of the bad guy paraphernalia and he’s like, oh my goodness. So, really remarkable stories, remarkable insight, and absolutely someone who has been an American warrior and hero on so many levels. And so he really is a good guy to get perspective on just some of this debacle of what we’ve seen.


Former Congressman Steve Russell, our special guest today, we’re going to be talking about what President Joe Biden left behind in Afghanistan. It’s an unbelievable list of military equipment. I mean, it’s hard to even quantify how much is there, at least for somebody like me that’s not used to dealing with numbers this big, to be able to comprehend how much we left behind. Stay with us, folks, Steve Russell, when we return a WallBuilders Live.


This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American History. Too often today history education excludes great black heroes from the American founding, such as Lemuel Haynes. Haynes, abandoned as a baby, pioneered churches across upper New England. He became the first black American to pastor a white congregation, to receive an honorary master’s degree, and to be ordained by a mainstream Christian denomination, the Congregationalists. He was a soldier during the American Revolution.

And in his churches on George Washington’s Birthday, he regularly preached sermons honoring George Washington. Even late in his life, he expressed his willingness to go back to battle if necessary to protect America, which he called a Sacred Ark. American history is filled with numerous examples of black heroes who are largely ignored by mainstream education today.

For more information about Pastor Lemuel Haynes and other colonial patriots, go to wallbuilders.com.

Welcome Steve Russell


Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today. Excited to have Congressman Steve Russell with us, former state senator out of Oklahoma, and just a great friend of the program. Good to have you on, sir. Thanks for your time.


Thank you, Rick. It’s great to be with you.


Well, David, definitely wanted to get you on to talk about, of course, the fiasco in Afghanistan, and specifically, the military equipment that was left behind. You know, you’ve had an incredibly distinguished career as an Army Ranger. You were there, in fact, part of on the Iraq side of things, capturing Saddam Hussein.


Well, yeah, so it was involved in that, commander of one of the task forces involved in hunting, captured and served in Afghanistan, actually very early on in the war, prior to the time in Iraq. And it’s been really hard to watch as we have seen the suffering going on with the Afghan people right now. And I think all of us are moved by that. Certainly, those of us that serve there, we’re processing an awful lot of emotions on it.


Yeah. And Congressman, actually, our topic is the equipment and all of that. But I got to ask you about that, because we’ve made a point, the last month or so to be very specific on our program and as we speak places, and specifically speak to those who did serve a lot of men and women feeling, like what was I there, for a lot of emotional challenges at this point, and just saying, hey, we don’t know how many lives were saved as a result of what was done there, how many terrorist attacks were prevented from happening here in America. We know that every one of you served to keep us safe as Americans and you did that.

A Great Wrong to Our Troops and Allies

And I just think we have to keep repeating that right now. Because the administration, they’ve done such a horrible job with it that in some people’s minds, it’s put a negative image on the whole operation from day one. So anyway, I didn’t mean to go down that rabbit trail, but I just want to say thank you to you. And I know that’s what you’re saying to all the folks that served with you that they did…


Well, it’s just really hard because our nation asked us to go, and we served with gallantry, and giving so much of our lives and we’re sitting there cross-legged on carpets drinking Chai, telling them, hey, don’t quit, no, we’re going to stick this out with you and we can do this. And then they turned us all into liars and we quit and left. And that’s very hard to process.


Yes, it is. Yes, it is. And, again, somewhat off topic, but Steve, how does that affect our future relations in other countries? I mean, I can’t imagine the damage being done…


Well, people won’t believe us anymore. I mean, almost every war I’ve fought, three of them, you know, just like that too hard. And what’s been hard to take, Rick, is I served in Congress with many of the people that were undermining the operations from day one, and then you have this attitude of well, it’s too hard, the cost is too much. We wrote a $6 trillion check in the last year for unfunded things, and now we’re getting ready to do it before we even have a budget reconciliation of any kind.

And we’re complaining about $1 trillion over 20 years, and then they say, well, the cost is too high. And I’m like, well, what, maybe I missed it, maybe the President did serve there, maybe these senators that were saying that the war is lost and it’s too hard and we had to quit.

What We Left Behind

Maybe they were there, maybe there was some exertion or sweat or emotion that they had poured into in service of their country. I don’t know what was so hard about it that they personally could not endure. But those of us that did endure it, the absolute vast majority believe that we should have stuck it up for those people.


Well, and like you said, I mean, even just a simple comparison, a trillion over 20 years, all of that’s already been spent the cost to maintain 2,000 or 3,000 troops over there, and to give up a billion-dollar base, I mean, it just seems like there was no real strategy or thought put into this.


Wrapped up into that is a lot of the abandoned equipment, as you mentioned: just enormous amounts of vehicles, airframes, advanced electronics, small arms, of course, but those are relatively allied on the economic scale. We’ve seen episodes of that before. And yes, the cost of getting some of that out would exceed the value of the item. And then a great majority of the equipment that was left was actually belonged to the existing government aid packages that we gave them so that they can defend themselves.


The numbers are staggering when you see them listed out the tens of thousands of vehicles, hundreds of thousands of weapons, hundreds of airplanes, helicopters, all of those things. With the Taliban taking over, it seems like it puts them on par with some of the largest most powerful militaries in the world?

Rendered Inoperational


Well, you have to also give credit to our military, they rendered a lot of it inoperational.


Oh, they did?


And that was certainly true of the aircraft. And then you have to applaud many of the Afghan pilots, I can’t remember the exact count, but it was in the neighborhood of about four dozen aircraft that they actually flew out of the country and they flew it north to some of our allies that are there. And you can’t blame the pilots that have been trained. And this is another thing that people don’t appreciate about the Afghan people.

They’re not of a Middle Eastern Arabic type of culture. They’re Indo-European. They’re very different in mindset and makeup. They are very technical people. They can train and learn to do all kinds of things. So the Soviets in their excursion in Afghanistan, they found the same thing. They could train them to operate sophisticated equipment, fly aircraft, do all of those things.

And we were able to do the same. And I applaud those young Afghan pilots that said, yeah, we’re doing this and they took their aircraft and they flew them out of the country.


Yeah, that’s good. Yeah. Most of the things you just mentioned. No reporting on that. We don’t hear those stories.

Stories You Don’t Hear


Yeah, it’s there. It was in the neighborhood of 4648 aircraft, somewhere in that number that I’m aware of that actually made it out. But there was a lot left behind and those things were rendered completely inoperative, smashed, instruments, smashed electronics, damaged critical portions of the airframes that would be necessary for strength of flight and a lot of that, all of that was done by our Forces before they departed.


That was one of the things I wanted to ask you about was the technology itself, the risk of any of the more advanced technology, not just falling in the hands of the Taliban, but to others. What risk is there and will that be something Congress investigates or tries to find out?


I don’t know. You know, I guess somebody that served on battlefields and served in the halls of Congress, both… I’ve never been surprised that the contemporary outrage of Congress in demanding investigations, but yet, if they want to point an accusing finger, really all they have to do is go and find a mirror. Because if the Congress was truly behind the efforts that it committed our military to, then they would have had the wherewithal and the support to just get the job done.

And even the narrative now, where people are saying, well, look, we had General after General year after year come in and say things are going one way and then it was a lie and it goes go south, that’s a false narrative. Yes, Generals would come in and they would have the vision and the capacity to say how it could be accomplished, but then you have to look at was there the support, was the nation behind it, was it truly our priority?

South Korea

We’ve had, in the history of our nation accomplish great things, even over long durations of time. And I think one of the comparisons that you have to make is with South Korea. Okay. We’re still there. We’ve been there 70 years. We’ve got 30,000 troops. We’ve had as many as a million. You have to look at where’s the commitment level? Not only say, well, was all of that really worth it? Well, I said to South Korea. Ask that to your neighbor who’s driving a Kia or a Hyundai automobile Yeah, I think it was worth it. And sometimes we get really shortsighted that, well, we’re not over there to donation, they’re older.

Okay, well, here’s what we did then. We handed over one of the most strategically placed bases, as you alluded to earlier, in Bagram. That’s gone. It’s now in the hands of those that would do America harm, not just the Taliban, but it will now be accessible to the Chinese and to the Russians and others. That’s going to be a problem. It was very strategically placed prior to that.

We had for a couple of thousands troops the ability to provide a stable Afghanistan. But when we leave, these same politicians are saying, well, look how quickly they folded. Okay. So imagine this that, you’re playing junior varsity, right, and all your star players and your coaching staff saying, hey, man, you’re ready for the big game that we’ll see away and play and no more, what is that going to do for you when you’re out there on the field? And so the Afghans thought there’s no way we can sustain this. There’s no commitment, no spare parts, no fuel, no long term.

We played that same scenario in the 1974/75 timeframe with the South Vietnamese government. And it’s almost like this divisive, self-indulged baby boomer generation of which I’m a part on the tail end of it that is, like, hey, great, we can repeat the glory days of quitting. And we did just that.

No Strategic Advantage


Yeah, and all the while being promised by the President that it wasn’t going to be like that…


Well, of course, as if he had the capacity to guarantee that. And then, against all of advice, and I know Scotty Miller, and I know a lot of the great warriors that were out here trying to make it happened, and I know the advice that they rendered in the back rooms of Congress also in classified briefings, which in my time in Congress I’ve received many of those.

And those are frank discussions. They weren’t painting any rosy picture about one way or the other. They were giving honest assessments.

And so now, we see politicians patting themselves on the back about how much exertion they went through to try to rescue a few people out of Afghanistan, and I’m like, okay, grateful for that. But if that same intensity would have been rendered in support to the nation, in support to the military’s efforts, we wouldn’t have the scenario to begin with.


That’s exactly right. Exactly. Right. I think Jeremy Boreing over Daily Wire said it best when he said no one has yet articulated any strategic advantage to leaving, to taking that handful 2,000 or 3,000 troops in that base and can just make it all go away. What’s the strategic advantage?

There’s tons of strategic disadvantages in doing it. But I haven’t heard anybody articulated strategic, especially like you said, with South Korea, you look at the number of troops around the world that we maintain, this had become a very manageable situation on a troop loss since what February of 20th. And anyway, just makes no sense other than the photo op that Joe Biden wanted. He wanted to be able to say that he ended the war in Afghanistan, the last troop…

The Purpose for Those Who Served


Well, he certainly did. And history will be what history is. But it’s hard for all of us that served there, and we’re veterans there and lost friends there, and know many the spouses of our friends that were lost and were watching their kids, those that were privileged enough to have offspring, we’re watching those kids grow up without their dads and in some cases, moms.

And you know, what do you tell him? I mean, in World War II, it’s like, okay, Johnny lost his life in a burning bomber, and he went down, but by golly we freed Europe, and we stopped the Holocaust, or we ended the crimes against humanity and suffering in the Pacific, or whatever it would be. There was some meaning attached to that loss.

But now, how do you attach a warrior who was lost to, well, the cost was just too high, and it was just too long, and we’re tired and so we quit shooting? That’s going to be a tough recruiting tool for the future.


No doubt, no doubt. Well, Congressman, we appreciate you, both for your service on the battlefields around the world, but also for right now and what you do in Congress, what you did in the State Senate in Oklahoma. Just thank you, thank you for staying in the fight. And wherever God has you in the coming years, we’re just thrilled to be locking shields with you. Thanks for all that you’re doing for us.


Well, it was an honor to serve in Congress when I did, and it was an honor to serve in the military what I did, and I love my nation like so many of us still do. But God’s on his throne, He hasn’t changed. And we can still have hope to the future in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Biographical Sketches


Amen. Amen. Amen. That is a great way to wrap it up. Thank you, Congressman. Appreciate you coming on today.


You bet.


Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.


Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.

And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.

I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History.

In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman; friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.

The Nazarene Fund


Back with David and Tim Barton, and guys, while we’re on Afghanistan, I know we’ve only got a few minutes and you’ll probably have a lot you want to say about what Steve had to say, but we haven’t had a chance to get an update on missions. I just want people to know that’s still taking place, and Nazarene Fund is still hard at work rescuing folks in Afghanistan, and all throughout the Middle East.


Yeah, and just as you could hear the hurt and disappointment in Steven talking about what’s happened, and how that we’ve turned the American military into liars, we told we’re going to be there and we aren’t. We got some of that same tone that’s going in Afghanistan. But despite that, we have been able to find remarkable ways of getting so much done. And over the last eight weeks or so, we’ve been able to get about 6,000 people out of Afghanistan, thousands of persecuted Christians, hundreds of Americans, lots of military interpreters, and allies of America. 

So, we’ve been able to get a whole lot out, and there’s still a lot left to get out. Ongoing operations, we’ve been very blessed. The Prime Minister of Pakistan was willing to jump in when the Biden administration was not willing to jump in. And so the Prime Minister of Pakistan wanting to have a very different country from what the pattern past to what’s been a Taliban country, he actually got the Taliban to release the planes and let folks go.

A Long Way to Go

So it’s been a very good story, still a lot of struggles, still a lot of things not going the way they need to go, still not having the support we need from the United States. But nonetheless, thousands and thousands have gotten out and you can go to the Nazarenefund.org, you can see some videos, you can see some of the footage, you see some of the stories of what’s happened there. It’s really tremendous stuff. And for those folks who gave, thank you, thank you, thank you. Still, we got a lot going. We think it’ll be going still four months more.

And now we’ve got to take them now that we’ve gotten out of Afghanistan, we have to get them on to their country of final destination. So, still a lot of work to do. And for those who want to give, it’s Nazarenefund.org, or you can go to wallbuilders.com and under the donation page there, “Gift to the Middle East fund”, all of that goes downrange strictly to help those who need help in Afghanistan.


Yeah, and even if just go right now to wallbuilders.com, you can scroll down to the contribution button, and then there’s an option to help with these rescue missions in the Middle East. And David, Tim, I got to say, man, thank you for serving on Nazarene Fund, for helping to make this happen.

What Biden Left Behind – With Former Congressman Steve Russell

I run into people all over the country that want me to pass that on to you. And I know a lot of our listeners feel the same way. But to Rudy Atallah and just the whole team out there, just incredible, incredible work. And a lot of people we’re really thankful to get to be a part of it by donating.

And we all know I can’t get on a plane and go over there and do a rescue mission, but I can donate to help fund a rescue mission. And everybody that’s listening right now can be a part of it in that way. So it’s a really neat way to be a part of these rescue missions. So, check that out today at wallbuilders.com.

We’ve got more at our website wallbuilderslive.com. Don’t forget you can get archives of the program there. So if you’ve missed any shows or the last couple of weeks, maybe you need to pick me up, go listen to Good News Fridays. I love David and Tim talking to people across the country. When I go speak, they’re always like, oh, thank you for those Good News Fridays. I need those every week.

So, all that good news does very much help. So check that out at wallbuilderslive.com today. And please consider making a contribution there as well, it helps us to add stations, reach more people, train more pastors and young people and legislators, and all the different things that we’re doing at WallBuilders.

You can be a part of the solution. In fact, you should be hosting one of our classes and doing Biblical Citizenship or Constitution Alive or Foundations of Freedom right there in your living room, there’s something special about getting friends and family together and being able to talk about these things and then take action steps right there in your community. So check all of that out today at wallbuilderslive.com. We sure appreciate you listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.