Here at home, on Memorial Day, we exercise the freedoms bequeathed to us by the fallen, while bearing in mind that the debt that enables our backyard barbeques can never be repaid. For the best amongst us, Memorial Day is made more personal by their having witnessed the heroism and sacrifice of the greatest of our fellow citizens.

Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knaus

During Israel’s Memorial Day, the Prime Minister lays a wreath on the grave of the last soldier to have been killed in action in the preceding year.

We believe every fallen warrior’s story should be told. Sadly, we have lost far too many for such an endeavor. So, we’re going to borrow from that Israeli tradition and in honor of the those who have sacrificed so much so that we may live in peace, this week we begin with the story of the last American to fall in America’s longest war: Afghanistan.

Hailing from east Tennessee, and serving in the U.S. Army’s 9th Battalion, 8th Psychological Operations Group, Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knaus was gravely injured during the August 26th, 2021 bombing of Kabul airport. He was 23 years old when he succumbed to his wounds. According to reports, Sgt. Knaus was the last of the 2,461 American fatalities in the Afghan War.

According to his widow, “He was one of those people that anything he wanted to do, he could have done, he was brilliant. But he just wanted to serve his country, it's all he wanted, he thought that was the best way he could help people.”

Tragically, yet perhaps fittingly, helping people, was what Sgt. Knaus was doing at the airport that day. Helping Americans and Afghan refugees escape the looming takeover of the country by the Taliban.

For his sacrifice, and for all his brothers and sisters who fell before him, we are grateful. And to those Sgt. Knaus and all of his fellow warriors have left behind, we wish to express our most profound condolences. As we said, some debts can never be truly repaid. We will relish our freedom and never forget that it is the furthest thing from free.


We recognize that we could’ve concluded our Action Update here. But our job is to honor our American traditions and ensure morality informs American policy.

On Saturday, a CUFI Action Fund staff member, Boris Zilberman, published an op-ed addressing Turkish President Recep Tayip Erodgan’s “not so charming offensive.” Erdogan, as of late, has been trying to rehab his image a bit in the West. Simultaneously, he has continued to play host to terrorists and undermine the NATO effort to confront Russia’s aggression.

In his piece, Zilberman provides a clear and concise description of what Erdogan is doing, how the U.S. is falling for it (proposed weapons sales to Ankara) and the folly of the Biden Administration’s relevant position.

Zilberman’s conclusion could not be clearer: “Until Erdogan makes permanent and verifiable changes to Turkey’s support for jihadists and terror groups, flouting of U.S. sanctions on Russian arms purchases, destabilizing actions against allies in the eastern Mediterranean, and undermining NATO unity, the United States must take a step back.”

Check out the full piece at The National Interest.


Speaking of not so charming… Last week, Robert Malley, the U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the ongoing pseudo-negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Both Republicans and Democrats expressed concerns with the Biden administration’s approach to Iran.

The committee’s Chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), spoke plainly in his remarks: “A deal under which Iran has far less than a six month breakout time, with sanctions relief in return that will unlock millions of dollars, and no sunset extensions, is definitely not longer and stronger. It is shorter and weaker.”

For his part, Malley, who would personally make a deal with Iran at any cost, has come to recognize that a deal with Iran at this stage is “tenuous at best.” This shouldn’t make anyone happy. A longer, stronger and comprehensive agreement between the world powers and Iran would have been a net positive. But any chance of that happening went out the window the moment Team Biden decided to open negotiations from a position of utter weakness.

In the fourth century, Roman General Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus wrote a book called Epitoma Rei Militaris in which he left us a succinct axiom of conflict that remains unchanged: “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum,” which means, if you want peace, prepare for war.

We want peace, and if the Biden Administration wants the same, they must ensure the Iranians believe that capitulation is not (or at least is no longer) in the American policy lexicon. Sadly, the proof of the Biden Administration’s failures has just been brought into stark relief: According to reports, Iran has now stockpiled enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb.

We will continue to push the Administration and Congress to remember, accept, and act on the Roman General’s advice. We don’t want conflict and have never advocated for a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. But the only way to avoid such a calamity is for the U.S. to prepare for such an action and make clear to Iran that all options are indeed on the table.

We hope you had a blessed and meaningful Memorial Day. See you next week.

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