14 April 2021   1 comment

US President Biden announced that the US will be withdrawing all of its combat troops from Afghanistan by September of this year. When asked, he noted that it was not a difficult decision but it was one that eluded both Presidents Obama and Trump even though both ran on a platform of ending the war. The war is a paradox: it has continued for the entire lifetime of many Americans, yet citizen awareness of the war is negligible. The Washington Post has a stunning graphic in one of its articles today which I cannot reproduce here, but the essence of the graphic is clear:

“What’s staggering about the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan is how many of those currently serving there were children when 9/11 occurred. Data on those killed in the country since 2001, compiled by the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count, show that about half of the Americans killed in Afghanistan since the conflict began were under the age of 18 when the terrorist attacks happened. On average, those killed in Afghanistan in the past five years were about 12 years old on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.”

Looked at another way, I am 71 years old but the US has been at war (Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan) for 47.9 years of my life.

The US departure will leave many in Afghanistan vulnerable to the policies of the Taliban, and conservatives in the US will accuse the Biden Administration of abandoning those in Afghanistan who subscribe to liberal values. After 20 years of war there will be many personal vendettas to pursued and those who refuse to submit to the theocracy of the Taliban will undoubtedly be persecuted. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is one of the least believable politicians in the US, made this comment to Fox News:

“Sen. Lindsey Graham warned that President Biden is ‘paving the way’ for another 9/11 with his commitment to fully withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by September. 

“‘With all due respect to President Biden, you have not ended the war, you’ve extended it,’ the South Carolina Republican said during a Capitol Hill press conference. ‘You have made it bigger, not smaller.'”

With all due respect to Senator Graham, his comment is ridiculous. The US has lost more than 2,500 soldiers and tens of thousands physically and mentally traumatized by the war. It has spent more than $2 trillion on the 20-year war. More than 100,000 civilians have been killed in the war and there is no one in the country that has not been dramatically affected by the war. But there is absolutely no evidence that the US has realized any of its goals in the war (remember–Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 11 September 2001 attack on the US. was killed in Pakistan by a Special Operations Team, not by any military action in Afghanistan). President Biden is absolutely justified in ending the futile war. I just hope that he allows those Afghans who sided with the US to leave Afghanistan if they wish to, and welcome them to the US

Posted April 14, 2021 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “14 April 2021

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  1. Great post. It really puts the country’s tendency toward war in perspective when you describe the U.S. being at war for 47.9 out of 71 years of your life. Thanks for contextualizing it in that personal way.

    Like

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