What Does Afghanistan Mean For Our Safety – With Senator Brian Birdwell, Part 2: What was the benefit of our response to 9/11? What happens if you tell your enemies you won’t fight? Is terrorism a criminal act or an act of war? Why can’t we let China become the predominant geopolitical power? How long will it take us to rebuild our military after Biden’s catastrophe? Does the situation at the border show incompetence or malicious malfeasance? Who is congratulating the terrorists? Tune in to hear this important interview with the closest survivor to point of impact at the Pentagon on 9/11, Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell.
Air Date: 08/25/2021:
Guest:Senator Brian Birdwell
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â 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. It’s WallBuilders Live, where we talk about the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. We’re so glad you’re with us. Check out our website today at wallbuilderslive.com. I’m Rick Green, America’s Constitution coach, and a former Texas legislator.
And we’re here with David Barton and Tim Barton. David is America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton, national speaker, and pastor, and president of WallBuilders.
And we’re actually going to pick up right where we left off yesterday with Colonel Brian Birdwell, state senator in Texas, closest survivor to the point of impact at the Pentagon on 9/11. We decided to do this interview with Colonel Birdwell as we’re approaching the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and to just talk about what’s happened the last 20 years.
But of course, we decided to also talk about Afghanistan and all the other things and where things are right now today. And so it’s actually taking two programs to do the full interview, but it is a wealth of information, powerful stuff. We’re going to dive right back in.
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We’re going to jump right back in with Colonel Brian Birdwell, picking up right where we left off yesterday in the interview, as we’re talking about what’s happened over the last 20 years since 9/11.
Hard to Quantify
Okay, I want to ask you this, because as we approach the 20th year anniversary, one of the things I can’t stand to hear from people is, it was all a waste, and we should have done in all these. Nobody seems to recognize, and I don’t think we can quantify how many terrorist attacks on the US did not happen, because of what we did and…
Yeah, you can’t prove the negative. Just like anything that you can’t prove the negative because it didn’t happen.
Exactly. And obviously, the intelligence community and others, they know of many examples. But then there’s also all those that you can’t prove, they just didn’t happen. But speak to that for just a moment, the benefit of the things that we did.
Look, if for no other reason and look as we change administrations, the character, and personality of that new administration permeates into the executive branch in the nature of decisions. But when you tell your enemies you won’t fight, you’ve also told your friends you won’t fight. And so for all the years before September 11th, when we treated terrorism as a criminal act rather than an act of war, we had presidents that didn’t act as decisively.
And for compelling reasons, because the loss of 3,000 people and watching it on national TV is very different than okay, I see a picture of the USS Cole with a hole in it, but we didn’t live the event. Boy, we did September 11th. Sailors on that ship did, but Americans didn’t watch the event unfold.
But President Bush demonstrated that we were willing to fight and succeeding presidents continue to demonstrate that. President Trump when he went after Soleimani, when he went after Baghdadi, there were some different calculations going on in Tehran with a President Trump in office than calculations going on in foreign capitals with a President Biden in office.
Choose Your Battles Carefully
So it’s not that you go fight willy-nilly anywhere. Choose your battles and choose them carefully. But the people right now, other than Americans in Afghanistan that are the most concerned with what has happened right now are the citizens of Taiwan.
And look, I mean, we’ve seen from COVID what’s the susceptibility of our logistics chain, just from China alone? If China becomes the predominant geopolitical power in the far East, I mean, why do you think our vice president is on the way to Vietnam? The Vietnamese have been seeking a relationship with the United States because even though they’re communist, they’re scared to death of being dominated by the Chinese.
So when you look at the geopolitical Australia, New Zealand, Japan, I mean, Japan… I mean, I’m not a history expert the way you know you guys are, but when this kind of thing happens, I mean, I want to give you maybe a more succinct analogy.
You know, I was in the first Gulf War, and everybody says great performance and it was. You know, all you won that war in 100 hours? I and said, no, we didn’t. We won that war in 16 years. And you’re going 16 years? Yeah.
From the fall of the Saigon embassy and the humiliation of America, and then living through the Carter year [inaudible 05:17], it took getting a Ronald Reagan that said, I will rebuild the military, bring pride to it again, a congress that would fund it, the dollars that went to training out of the National Training Center to combat maneuver trainer center Hohenfels, Germany, I mean, I can go down the list.
The Ripple Effects
We prepared for that war for 16 years. That’s how we want it. And with what’s happened right now, it’ll be another decade or two of rebuilding our military, rebuilding our relationship with our allies. If we ever have to go to another country, do you think anybody that works with us is motivated to do so if we abandon how many thousands of interpreters?
And that’s the ripple effects that you’re talking about, when you say, the people of Taiwan, I mean, that’s the ripple effects all across the world that this embarrassment will have? I’m going to switch gears on you again, Brian, because I really want…
I didn’t mean, I’m sorry…
No. No. This is great. I wish I was Joe Rogan and we could just go for three hours. But I got…
I don’t know if I can hang with you for 3 hours, dude.
Well, I am so curious about your thoughts on the battle ahead. not internationally, but nationally, and how now the Neo Marxist and just the left wing ideology that has so permeated our culture, for you as a warrior for freedom, speak to a little bit of that, and how the focus has shifted a little bit. We have to do both. We’ve got to fight this international war and at the same time, restore our own culture.
How does a guy like you approach that? You’re on the front lines. Man, you’re in the trenches.
A Great Awakening
Well, I’m in the trench in the legislative side. But I think there’s great hope for our country. When you look at, like, you know, the bills that we’ve done in the state senate related to the critical race theory and keeping that out of our schools, but you look at the people that have been informed and awakened as to what their local school boards are doing.
We were talking before the formal portion of the interview began about choosing righteous men, such that fear God, that hate dishonest gain, to be leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, I mean, you’ve got to choose the right people at the school board level, your city council, county commissioners, state legislatures, we elect our judges in Texas. Whether it’s district or appellate judges Supreme Court, your chief executive, you’ve got to be engaged in all those places.
And I think this has been a great awakening for those folks that we tend to get in engaged in the affairs of our business, and just trying to live day to day life making your business run, whatever your profession is, teaching, whatever it might be. And as we see these things happen, and we understand the cultural battle that we’re in, and that desire for liberty and freedom, you’re seeing the pockets of people going we’re not going to tolerate this anymore.
Whether it’s the school board and lab and county, and you see people coming, I mean, right now, the Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina is the Lieutenant Governor because he went to a city council meeting two years ago where the city council was talking about taking their guns from them.
It really does begin at the local level.
So there are people out there ready to be energized and ready to be led. And it’s not that they’re ready to be led by Brian Birdwell as the state senator. They’re ready to go lead their local community as it relates to the school board. They’re ready to go lead the local community as it relates to the city council or the county commissioners office.
If You Can Keep It…
Yeah. And when I see what you guys have done, I got to visit with David and Tim at the Irving location some months ago with the classes that they teach up there, it really was inspiring to see younger folks that are desiring that appetite for the original intent of the country and how that was founded. And yes, while we’ve got bad marks on our report card as a guide, it’s been to those other foreign countries-
I mean, this is still with all of our challenges, the greatest place on God’s green earth. And the question is, can we keep it that way? I like when Franklin tells the lady, you know, we’ve given you a representative republic you can keep it.
And so there’s exciting news out there as local people are getting energized to the concerns of their government. What’s that Daniel Webster? You know, I fear no foreign enemy. But our demise will come from the internal, the inattention of the people are the concerns and cares of their government. And a lot of people were waking up going, you wanted my attention, congratulations, you have it.
Yeah. Oh, man, it is and they are fired up. I mean, I love watching the videos of all of these parents testifying in school boards, and all the different things just engaging for the first time. That’s a really, really good sign. That’s a healthy, healthy sign that literally the battle for the heart and mind and soul of America that we’ve got the troop. There’s an army out there that wants to engage in this intellectual warfare if you will.
Understanding Where We Are
Good stuff, man. Good stuff. Well, I think it was so important to have you on at this time and talk about these things. Because, I mean, look at how many people out there weren’t even born when 9/11 happened and they have no concept. Yeah.
Yeah. I mean, when I’m in schools now, Rick, it really is a textbook event to them. And I’ve got couple of staffers that were in diapers. You know, kind of like I was 2 when Kennedy was assassinated, but I don’t remember the event. And I’ve got people on my staff in Austin that are in similar circumstances that they’re 23, 24 years old, and don’t remember it, or don’t fully understand the whole context of why we are where we are.
But as we end, I would simply look, as much as I think that these have been terrible decisions, terrible circumstance, we still owe it to our president, pray for him, pray for those that are Americans in Afghanistan, and that the Lord guides our president, everybody in the national command authority and get those folks home. Because ultimately, if America can’t be respected, and I’d like to be feared. And I want to make sure that if any future enemy ever thinks about trifling with an American soldier or an American citizen, they’ll do it at the peril of their life.
And that’s what I want from the safety and security of these people because they’re from here. It doesn’t matter what party they’re in, didn’t matter what color they are, didn’t matter what state they call home. They’re an American citizen. And I’m getting emotional…
A National Security Question
No, I hear you, brother. I hear you, brother. Well, and actually, I do have to ask you one of the thing, because as we watch all this stuff unfold, and we think about the 20 years and all of those things, I mean, the open border situation just flies in the face of any logic that if you want to defend America, and you don’t want to see terrorist acts happen on our soil here, this seems to me 216,000 last month?
Yeah, I mean, that is a nearly a quarter of a million people a month. And for all your listeners across the country, go to your state Atlas and find the county that has a quarter of a million people. And that’s what’s coming across every month right now.
And at this rate at a million in six months, that’s 2 million a year, you’re looking at 8 million if this break continues for four years of the Biden administration. You know, I wear the scars and not knowing who’s here, and they came lawfully with a visa for going to flight school.
And the other thing it’s doing is it’s not just the national security question. Right now in Texas, we know that about 40% of the people coming across, at least with what federal government sharing with us and what our local service organizations are telling us, is about 40% are already coming infected with COVID. And how many have tuberculosis? How many…
Yeah, while they demand them asking our children, they turn around and have the open border for people that we know are coming in, like you said with at least 40%. It’s insane.
So from that strategic view of public safety as it relates to national security, there’s the public safety as it relates to public health. But let me tell you what, and as a state legislature, you know exactly what I’m about to tell you, what does this do to our school districts that now have to bring in all these individuals that the federal government says through the Plyler v. Texas case back in 1981, when the Supreme Court said, yes, you must provide anything compulsory, you have to provide that to the illegal aliens…
And that’s not just Texas now, right? I mean, we’re all over the country?
It’s never been just Texas. And then what’s it going to do to our Medicaid expenses? So all those states out there that oh, this is a border problem, Texas budget is what this is going to do to our budget over the coming decade is going to… I mean, it’s just immense.
You almost couldn’t write a plan for destruction of the country.
That’s why I say this isn’t incompetence. This is malicious malfeasance.
Pushback from Parents
There you go. There you go. Yeah. Yeah. That’s why the pushback and the wake-up in the parents getting involved at the local level, and all of us paying more attention, I mean, it’s critical mission now. I mean, this is mission critical now. I mean, this is not optional. People have got to get informed. Colonel, I wish we had more time, man. We’re going to create the Rick Green/Brian Birdwell trying to be Joe Rogan program soon.
I love you, brother. You are always a blessing. And we’re thankful for your service and your dedication and your sacrifice. And please thank Mel for us as well. And look forward to having you back again soon.
My treat, I miss talking with you guys, seeing you guys. Rick, I greatly appreciate it. I’ll give Mel your greetings. You do the same with Kara. Okay?
God bless you, man. Appreciate it very much.
You too, buddy.
Folks, stay with us, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
The AMERICAN STORY
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at WallBuilders called The American Story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today.
And we would say very providentially in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil, and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true or things, like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not out the statement Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on, and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America.
Well, is America worth defending? What is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story starting with Christopher Columbus, going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as the story of a perfect nation of a perfect people. But the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out wallbuilders.com, The American Story.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Special thanks to Colonel Brian Birdwell, two days with him today. If you missed the first part, it’s available right now on wallbuilderslive.com. But certainly appreciate his service, not only in military, but as a state senator, and continuing to fight for our constitutional republic. We are back with David and Tim. And guys, a lot there, I’m just going to toss it back to you.
So many good things that he had to say about the 20 years, the fight, the sacrifice, why we do what we do, and why it’s important for us to keep those things in focus.
Oceans Mean Nothing
You know, some of the things he was talking about, even over the last 20 years how things have changed, that was really, really significant. I really picked up on the comment, he said, well, the oceans now provide less and almost no protection, and it changes the threats we face because of technology. And I thought that’s really true. Because for the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor, they couldn’t get to America, but they get their fleets close enough to Pearl Harbor.
But we had protection on the west coast and the East Coast because enemies back then didn’t have the technology and couldn’t travel the distance without being seen. So we really are in a position now where that the oceans really mean nothing anymore. And particularly, the way we run our borders and our immigration, I mean, we’re just wide open for all sorts of stuff.
And so that the threat has changed significantly, and I thought it was really key what he said we no longer define success; we didn’t give a definition of success. If our definition of success had been kill terrorist, if that was what we were trying to do that, if that had been how we defined the operation, it’d been significant. And when he said that I remember talking to a special forces guy, that time one of the first guys in Afghanistan, and he said the Taliban manages to drive them crazy.
And at that point in time under the precedent that was there, the rules for engagement were such that even if he got shot at he couldn’t go chase those guys down. And so he said that they learned that they could come to the perimeter of the camps, and they could shoot at us and lob mortars and we wouldn’t go after them because we had to call them say, hey, we’ve been attacked by mortar. Can we go get these guys? And by the time we were going after them, they were all well-hidden.
And he said when he finally got clearance ahead of time that they could do that, what he did was he got, he and his guys, they strapped on the outside of the helicopter. And outside of the helicopter where the missile pods are, they just tied themselves onto there, they had the helicopter go get in front of the Taliban and they got in front of them and lay down in front with their machine gun, says Taliban came running away from the fort, they knocked them all out.
He said, we finally got permission to start killing the terrorist. And they said, when that happened, everything changed. He said, you know, I see at that time, all the national things, national news networks were running at the ticker scroll before Obama of how many people have been killed in Afghanistan, what Bush has done, how many has killed.
And then suddenly, when Obama got elected, they took down the ticker scroll of all the people who had been killed. Even though more were killed under Obama than under Bush, they didn’t put that scroll up anymore because that wasn’t where the media was.
So at that point, there had been several 1000 Americans killed there in Afghanistan. So I looked at a Special Forces guy, and I said, surely, I know we’re not hearing for the media. But you guys got to be taken out more than that.
I said what are you taking out? Like 10:1 or something? He said, 10:1? He said no, more like 100:1.
I got oh, my gosh! I mean, if Americans knew how many terrorists were being taken out, it would change our definition of success. We were defining it as failure because Americans are being killed.
And I look at that definition, and look at 75,000 Taliban that have surrounded the airport there in Kabul, and say, you know what, we stopped about 75,000, too short. Because now that these guys are back in control of the city, the atrocities have begun again. And we now have been told that because they’re back in and China and Russia were there to congratulate them, and now we find that the Taliban is saying Afghanistan, hey, China, you’re welcome to have our rare earth metals.
We know you guys need that for your bombs. We know you need that for your satellites. So, and that’s why China wanted to be there. They needed those rare earth metals.
So now we’ve emboldened our enemy, China even more. And so they’re all there. And this has turned into a haven for terrorist groups.
The Kabul Airport
There are now 20 terrorist organizations that have moved back into Afghanistan. I mean, if we thought Bin Laden was a problem, this is going to be the new seedbed for terrorism because we did not use our right definitions, and we did not go in for the purpose we should have gone.
Well, and this is something that too we see when anytime a war becomes a political talking point, you have a lot of issues. And dad, even as, if you look at you mentioned that the ticker with counting the casualties, the fatalities of Americans of soldiers in this war on terror, well, you know what’s interesting, the news medias had a few different tickers it’s run recently.
If you look, for example, with the Trump administration when COVID happened, and they’re counting all of these COVID death numbers, and all of a sudden Biden gets in, they don’t really don’t count COVID numbers anymore, or they want to count the COVID numbers only from Florida, but not from New York, not from California, not from places where Democrats are in charge, where liberals are in charge.
And if this is the kind of hypocrisy that we’ve seen for a long time from the media, we are seeing it now again. Interestingly, though, this is one of the very few times when we’ve seen the media actually be semi-honest in some of their coverage. But even what it was leading up to this whole scenario has just been utterly ridiculous with the level of failure.
Because as we talked about even the Kabul airport, where we hear the media saying that Americans are controlling the Kabul airport, well, that’s only kind of true. They control the interior of the airport. But the Taliban has a perimeter set up around the airport where the Taliban has checkpoints and they’re able to filter and monitor who is actually making it to the airport.
And the Kabul airport is pretty much the only airport in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is kind of a third world kind of nation, they don’t have a lot of things going on. And actually, that airport is something that America largely helped them build over the last couple of decades.
The Military Did a Great Job
However, there was another major airport that was there. And that was the US Air Force Base. And this is where Biden said, hey, we want all of our troops out, go ahead and pull them out, and then we’ll worry about the Americans, the civilians, we’ll worry about our Afghan allies.
The Air Force military base was a much more secure location where it would have been a lot easier to run people through checkpoints, it would have been a lot easier to secure that perimeter than it is right now, the Kabul airport. This is a failure on so many levels.
One of the things that even Brian pointed out, overall, we should not view Afghanistan as a failure. Now, President Biden certainly has made decisions that were failures of a decision. However, if you look at Afghanistan, I mean, Rick, you pointed this out in the interview, you can’t factor in the negative, right?
We can’t say how many American lives were saved because attacks didn’t happen. But what we do know is that attacks didn’t happen.
Over the last 20 years, we’ve been able to live with a different level of safety insecurity than arguably would have been there had these terrorists had free will and free rein in Afghanistan, which it looks like now President Biden is handing that back over to them. Which again, this is not a failure of the Afghan operation for the last 20 years. This is a failure…
That’s right. Military did a great job.
This is a failure of the Biden administration. And actually, even with military doing a great job, this is when also we can talk about the reality of elections have consequences. This is true with military because you see there are different rules of engagement with different presidents and different leaders.
Mighty Oaks Foundation
Under President Bush, the rules of engagement for terrorists, for bad guys were different they were under Obama.
It was killed terrorists then.
Right. When Trump comes back, Trump changes the rules of engagement again of hey, guys, if we’re going to win this war, we’re going to kill terrorists. And now Biden’s there, we’ve said literally for decades, elections have consequences. And people are seeing, again, more and more firsthand than we’ve ever seen before of elections having consequences.
But the bottom line is, as we look back at September 11th, we can still celebrate the military, the men and women who have served this nation, who many of whom laid down their lives to protect us and keep us safe. And even though this is an utter failure of the Biden administration, it was not a failure of our troops. And we are so grateful for the men and women who have put on that uniform and to those who are still serving today who have helped keep America a free and a safe nation.
What Does Afghanistan Mean For Our Safety – With Senator Brian Birdwell, Part 2
And if you’re a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, and you’re wondering why don’t do that. You did the right thing. And if you’ve got any kind of doubts, here’s a great place where you go.
Yeah, we mentioned it before, mightyoaksprograms.org. Mighty Oaks is a program of Chad Robichaux. Mightyoaksprograms.org, definitely if you need someone to talk to, if you need some encouragement, mightyoaksprograms.org.
Alright, we’ll have that link today at wallbuilderslive.com. And folks, we encourage you to let your friends and family know that if they served, now is a great time to say thank you to them and remind them that their service was for a good cause and that they helped to save American lives over the last 20 years.
Thank them and let them know because it is a very difficult situation right now for them. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.