By AFP Staff
On Oct. 7, 2001, former President George W. Bush stood before the nation to announce that he had ordered air strikes on Afghanistan. In his speech to the American people, Bush narrowly defined the attack on that mountainous country as a strategic response to the Sept. 11 attacks and the failure of the Taliban, the regime in power at the time, to turn over the radical Islamic militants he and his administration had accused of setting up shop there to carry out attacks on the West.
For 20 years, the U.S. has been mired in Afghanistan, a country that is smaller than Texas, at a cost of $1 trillion to U.S. taxpayers. Over the course of those years, over 7,000 U.S. soldiers and mercenaries have been killed and tens of thousands have been wounded. U.S. taxpayers paid billions of dollars to arm and train 300,000 Afghani soldiers, but, as we know today, the entire country fell to the Taliban in just 36 hours as the U.S. began pulling out the last of its troops on Aug 16.
Despite being horribly maligned by the mainstream media for his entire term, it was former President Donald Trump, who lived up to his campaign promise and signed a historic peace deal with the Taliban on Feb. 29, 2020 that once and for all would bring our troops home.
In announcing the agreement, Trump told reporters, “It’s time after all these years to bring our people back home.”
Looking back on that four-page agreement, Trump clearly did the right thing. He put the interests of the United States first, ensuring that the initial justification for invading Afghanistan was secured: No stateless group will ever be allowed to use Afghan soil to “threaten the security of the United States and its allies.” What happens next, he said, would be left up to the Afghan people themselves not to the United States, which can’t even keep America’s major cities under control.
Then came Joe Biden. This 78-year-old career politician could have caved under pressure from the media elites, the generals and the U.S. military-industrial complex, who saw their trillion-dollar cash cow coming to an end, but he didn’t. And, while he did move the deadline negotiated by the Trump administration from May to September, he stood by his decision and ordered the complete withdrawal that had been signed off on by Trump 18 months earlier.
By now, most Americans have seen the footage of Afghanis scrambling to flee their country as the Taliban moved on the major cities, including a photograph of 800 Afghanis crammed into the cargo bay of a U.S. military plane as well one video of a person presumably falling to his death from the wheel well of a plane. No doubt these are truly terrible images to witness, but the U.S. military has had a year and a half to prepare for an orderly and peaceful withdrawal that should have included helping Afghan collaborators find safety in other countries. Consequently, the responsibility for the chaos on Aug. 16 lies squarely on the shoulders of the generals and the military contractors not the two presidents, who risked their political careers to do the right thing on behalf of their constituents.
These two presidents had the courage to stand up to the neoconservatives and the neoliberals, who would have had the U.S. continue to occupy Afghanistan for many more years to come at even greater cost to U.S. taxpayers despite the country having no clear strategic interest in Afghanistan.
We applaud Trump for negotiating the deal and Biden for sticking to it.
In his speech on Aug. 16, Biden said, “How many more generations of Americans daughters and sons would you have me send to fight in Afghanistan’s civil war? . . . I will not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past.”
We couldn’t agree more.