We were preparing to depart Suwan, South Korea, in the spring of 1983. My Air Force unit, the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing out of Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C., was completing a month-long training exercise to deter North Korean aggression. In the event of an attack on South Korea, our A-10 Thunderbolts (some call “Warthogs”) were tasked with suppressing North Korean ground forces, particularly armor.
The day before we departed for home, officials in Suwan opened the base to the local civilian population. They flooded the tarmac, anxious to meet us. We were besieged by hundreds of South Korean children who ran to us, delivering hugs, asking for autographs and to have their pictures taken with their little arms around our necks. It was an incredible scene, one I’ve never again experienced. Those children had been taught that freedom is precious and worth defending – and that they could count on American help to do so. They understood we were there to help protect their freedom from the godless communists of North Korea.
The next day as we boarded a C-141B Starlifter transport jet for the 21-hour flight home, those children were on my mind. It reminded me how much God has blessed America and how He has used us to bless other nations. When we landed in Myrtle Beach, I walked off the plane with my gear, fell to my knees and kissed the magnificent South Carolina soil. We take America for granted.
The memories of that South Korean deployment were on my mind as the gut-wrenching pictures from the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, flashed across the Internet and television. Children being trampled and people clinging to departing American aircraft only to plunge to their deaths rather than face the barbaric Taliban, are scenes that have shaken the world. As I watched the death and destruction in Afghanistan, I was reminded of the more than 2,500 Americans who gave their lives so that Afghans may be free and America safe from terrorists. This is why I hold ideas like critical race theory – which teaches that America was founded on racism – with disdain. Americans are not racists, Americans are liberators, or at least were prior to Vietnam and the Afghan catastrophe. It was American blood that defeated Nazism and communist aggression in two world wars and on the Korean peninsula.
The scenes from Kabul show a cowering America, led by Washington buffoons, not unlike the Edomites that Obadiah described. Our allies, like the British, feel betrayed. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair called President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan strategy “imbecilic.” Biden’s biggest mistake was not understanding that the military has to be last out the door, not first out the door. Civilians and equipment go first and then, when everyone and everything is out, the military goes. One foreign affairs expert predicted it will take 20 years – if ever – for America to regain its world prestige after this fiasco.
Many of those trapped in Kabul are Christians and, if captured by the Taliban, will face persecution, if not execution. The International Mission Board is working with other relief agencies to get Americans and Afghans, who have supported U.S. efforts, out of the country.
As the Biden administration and corporate America, which has benefitted financially in Afghanistan, preside over this disaster, they are not unlike the Edomites of Obadiah’s day. The prideful Edomites betrayed Judah, hoping to ingratiate themselves with Babylon. Edom thought of themselves as dwelling safe and secure in their rocky, Tora Bora-like heights. Their mountain stronghold in the city of Petra seemed impregnable. But not to God.
As the Babylonians burned Jerusalem, the Edomites who had a treaty with Judah, betrayed them in hopes of financial gain. Judah suffered, but ultimately God destroyed Edom for what it had done to God’s children. As Mark Dever has pointed out, the book of Obadiah details the promise of divine justice, encouraging us as Christians. “The day of the Lord is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.”
Our mighty God is sovereign, and He alone commands the world. Like the Edomites, the Taliban are sinning against God. America has run astray, but Christians must stay loyal to God and pray for God’s intervention in Afghanistan – and America.