We Now Know Who the Heckler Was at the SOTU

News & Politics

On August 26, 2021, 13 U.S. servicemen were killed while guarding the Abbey Gate at the Kabul International Airport. An ISIS bomber easily bypassed the Taliban guards who were supposed to be protecting the Americans and set off a single explosive device, killing 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghan civilians.

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The Department of Defense report is considered a “whitewash” by the families. They claim that service members stationed at the gate knew of the bomber’s presence but were forbidden by their officers to take action.

Voters have short memories, and asking a voter about Abbey’s Gate is likely to get a blank stare in return. And that’s exactly what the Biden administration wanted.

Steve Nikoui, the father of a U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, will never forget. He came to the State of the Union address as a guest of Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.). 

“I am honored to have Steve Nikoui as my guest to the State of the Union. He is the father of Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, who was KIA due to Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Mast said in a social media post. “Joe Biden may try to turn the page on Afghanistan after his incompetence cost American lives, but NOT ON MY WATCH.”

There was a clear double standard at work.

“Well, you know it’s interesting because I just walked by Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who intentionally pulled the fire alarm — which is a felony in the District of Columbia, and he was not arrested,” Rep. Derrick Van Orden (R-Wisc.) said of the arrest. “If Gold Star families are being arrested and a member of Congress was not arrested for committing a felony, that’s not right.”

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        Related: Media Spin Word of the Night for the SOTU: ‘Fiery’

The Abbey Gate bombing is so far in voters’ rear-view mirrors that it’s easy to forget the blatant stonewalling by the brass and the Biden administration during the congressional investigation.

“ISIS-K was plotting this bombing attack in a hotel in Kabul, and [American military personnel] had to go to the Taliban to beg them to take out this ISIS-K threat,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said at the time. “They wouldn’t do it, so then they go to the intelligence community and military leaders and asked permission for an air strike. That was denied.”

The reason was cynical and cowardly. Biden wanted nothing to slow the withdrawal. The last thing Biden and the brass wanted was to be forced to reengage with terrorists. Trying to remain quiet during the withdrawal was of paramount importance.

The ISIS bomber wouldn’t allow America that luxury.

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