The neocon establishment just can't quit Afghanistan, can they? Former President George W. Bush recently gave his two cents on the Biden administration's decision to end combat operations in the country and end the nearly 20-year-war that began shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In an interview with German media outlet Deutsche Welle on Wednesday, Bush insisted that bringing American troops home from Afghanistan would be a grave error that would result in “unspeakable harm.” When asked whether he believed that withdrawing troops would be a mistake, Bush replied: “I think it is, yeah. Because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad and sad.”
The former president expressed concerns for the plight of Afghan women and girls who he said would “suffer unspeakable harm” from the Taliban. He also said he was concerned about the safety of thousands of Afghan translators and their families if they were left behind. “It seems like they're just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people,” he said. “And it breaks my heart.”
Some, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, have cautioned that removing troops from the region would only allow the Taliban to take over the rest of the country. Indeed, recent developments suggest that this warning is warranted. The terrorist group claims to have already seized 85 percent of the region, and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies reported that it took over about ten percent of the country in the last week alone.
Nevertheless, the U.K., along with other NATO allies, has been recalling its troops from Afghanistan. Deutsche Welle reported:
At the end of June, Germany announced it had withdrawn all troops from the country and closed its consulate general in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan.
Italy has also declared the end of its mission in Afghanistan and Poland has already brought all its troops home.
President Joe Biden initially declared in April that his administration would cease military operations in Afghanistan by Sept. 11. The timetable was later moved up to August. To address concerns over a Taliban resurgence, he said it is the responsibility of Afghan leadership to ensure this does not happen. He pointed out that “they clearly have the capacity to sustain the government in place. The question is, will they generate the kind of cohesion to do it?”
Despite the objections of President Bush and others who support the idea of remaining in Afghanistan, it does not appear that they will get their wish. The idea of bringing the troops home is simply too popular. It was one of the issues on which former President Donald Trump campaigned – and while he was in office, he attempted to put a stop to this 20-year-war.
In the survey, 38 percent said they strongly support bringing the troops home by the Biden administration's announced deadline, while 28 percent said they somewhat support doing so.
It can come as no surprise that the majority of Americans favor a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Indeed, several high-profile individuals have criticized President Bush for suggesting that the U.S. remain in the region. At this point, it has become evident that there is no viable reason for America to keep its troops in this country. The nation-building experiment has proven to be a failure. The U.S. has absolutely nothing to gain by continuing to place our soldiers in harm's way.
If Biden brings the troops home, it will be a significant accomplishment for his administration. It will not be simply an ending of hostilities in an unnecessary war, but it will also signal the end of a bloody era that began on Sept. 12, 2001. Perhaps this will be a step towards an America that no longer becomes entangled in endless and needless military conflicts. One can only hope.