Congressman Jason Crow is the kind of person you want in your foxhole when things get rough.
Crow, a Democrat from Colorado, was on the House of Representatives floor when an angry, politically charged mob of insurrectionists broke through the security perimeter and stormed into the Capitol on January 6th, disrupting the electoral college certification. Crow observed the Capitol Police closing and locking doors and then stacking furniture against the doors.
The former Army Ranger swung into action when he heard gunshots and flash-bang grenades going off. Rangers are the Army’s elite, large-scale fighting force and some of the best-trained soldiers in the world.
Crow immediately began assisting his colleagues and the SWAT teams, re-checking the doors and helping his colleagues put on gas masks. He made sure everyone got out of the gallery safely before he left.
One of the most iconic images of the insurrection showed Crow comforting his distressed colleague, Rep. Susan Wild, who was laying on the floor.
Those that know Crow understand why he is bringing that same intensity to protect United States citizens, interpreters and other allies trying to get out of Afghanistan now.
Crow understands Afghanistan better than most of his colleagues in Washington.
Crow enlisted after 9/11. He was angry and shocked and felt a calling. Crow has said he is averse “to asking others to do the fighting for me.” He saw heavy combat while being deployed in Afghanistan in 2004 and 2005. He also had been deployed to Iraq in 2003.
And, since being sworn in, he has brought his experiences and knowledge to Washington.
He has thought long and hard about Afghanistan policy and passed legislation aimed at protecting Americans and our interests there.
Last year, Crow and Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that required the administration to engage with Congress on any effort to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The amendment required a comprehensive interagency report detailing that the withdrawal would neither impede our counterterrorism mission nor endanger our national security interests.
After President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in April, Crow immediately got to work to ensure our Afghan partners were not left behind. Just over a week after the announcement, Crow created the bipartisan Honoring Our Promises Working Group — a group of 30 Democrats and Republicans — focused on honoring the promises made to Afghan citizens who have worked to support U.S. operations in Afghanistan.
Over the next few months, Crow focused steadily to draw attention to the moral and national security imperatives to ensure the U.S. provides a path to safety for those who worked alongside U.S. forces at great personal risk to themselves and their families.
He also passed two bills in June and July to protect Afghan interpreters and other partners to improve and expedite visa processing so that they could safely leave in an orderly fashion. Crow urged his colleagues to support the bill, saying, “We cannot allow a slow bureaucracy to cost the lives of Afghans that served alongside our men and women. In combat and in a war zone, every hour matters. Minutes seem like hours, days like weeks. A month will save many, many lives.”
Crow supported the decision to end America’s combat mission in Afghanistan. “Clearly, there is no military solution and there never has been one. Another one to three to five years, wouldn’t change that.”
However, he has publicly criticized the operational planning and execution of the civilian evacuation. Crow expressed “ardent disagreement” with the Biden administration, saying that the civilian evacuation should have started months ago and tens of thousands of people could have been brought to safety. And, he had lobbied the Biden administration to do just that.
Whether it’s protecting Americans and our allies in Afghanistan, standing up for his colleagues or pushing the Biden administration to do the right thing, Colorado should be proud to have Congressman Crow in this foxhole.
Doug Friednash is a Denver native, a partner with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber and Schreck and the former chief of staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper.
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