Letter

Ending the Afghan War

For years it has been clear that a U.S. departure would not leave a stable Afghanistan

By Bill Cox

Blame for the current debacle in Afghanistan should go not to Joe Biden by rather to George W. Bush, who tragically mismanaged America’s military expedition there from the start. 

The original objective of going into Afghanistan was to punish Al-Qaeda for the atrocities of 9/11 and to reduce its threats of further terrorism. Al-Qaeda and its Afghan hosts were defeated within three months and fled to Pakistan. The Bush Administration should then have forged an agreement with the defeated Afghan government, that America would withdraw so long as Afghans did not permit terrorism against the West to be launched from their territory. My guess is that they would have accepted that agreement. They still may!

It is fundamental that no U.S. president can voluntarily end a military engagement short of resounding victory without facing severe political criticism. Obama wished to withdraw but could not go through with it; Trump evidently wanted to leave but did not. For years it has been clear that a U.S. departure would not leave a stable Afghanistan. Biden finally “bit the bullet,” “pulled the plug” and faces the consequences. Congress must remain aware of this dynamic when considering military interventions.

What are the consequences of this withdrawal? After the dust settles it will leave the United States much stronger than before. It frees the U.S. military from a heavy and fruitless burden and will allow foreign policies of the United States to address objectives far more important than the future of Afghanistan. It also will yield budget savings of several hundred billion dollars per year which, if managed correctly, can help pay for infrastructure and other investments now under consideration.

In summary, this is a strong and courageous presidential decision that will benefit and strengthen the United States of America.

Bill Cox
Kalispell

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