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How To Explain The End Of The Afghanistan War

By: Larry Rueff

In withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan President Joe Biden has accomplished what the two previous Administrations of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and President Donald Trump, a Republican, promised to do but did not do. In fact Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Trump’s direction agreed with the Taliban to release some of the most dangerous war leaders in negotiating unsuccessfully for withdrawal of American troops.

20 years of battles in Afghanistan involved our troops in our longest war. We again had not learned the lessons of history. The Russians, Rudyard Kipling and modern writers (Tobias Grey September 1, 2019 in The New York Times, for example) should have been our instructors on Afghanistan.

Now we Democrats who support Progressive policies at home and abroad will be asked to articulate the reasons for withdrawal to end another war. When you knock on doors, talk with neighbors or otherwise push for Democratic change you will be questioned.

The evacuation of over 128,000 U.S. personnel and Afghani persons by American and Allied military efforts is commendable. Governor Tony Evers announced Wisconsin is welcoming refugees and was part of the advance planning for flights to Fort McCoy. Allies of the United States were consulted and have also accepted refugees. The forces of NATO including Turkish soldiers participated in the withdrawal.

Here are some more talking points to use:

  • The War in Afghanistan cost the U.S. in excess of 2 Trillion Dollars. Estimates are that 300 Million Dollars was drained out of our economy each day. (www.forbes.com August 16, 2021)
  • More than 2,450 U.S. military personnel lost their lives along with over 3,850 “contractors” and 1,150 Allied troops.
  • The Afghani peoples suffered death and destruction at levels which are still not established. At least 47,250 Afghan civilians died. This for the Afghanis was similar to many previous wars in their history; fought on their soil but not supposedly against them, or against their government.

These casualties figures have been verified by the Associated Press News organization. The figures above do not include wounding or other disruption of life during this undeclared war by the United States.

In response to those who still mistakenly believe the U.S. should have continued to “fight to the bitter end” say that this was the only resolution possible:

  • Democrats since our last declared war in 1942 have voted for and otherwise promoted programs such as the Veterans Administration to take care of our military personnel and their survivors.
  • Democrats through the Biden Administration’s efforts honor our Allies and those who interpreted or otherwise assisted us.

Unless we want our economy to continue to be drained, more casualties suffered with no gain on the ground, a continued rallying cry to be raised by terrorists in all parts of the Middle East and the globe, with immense distraction to our diplomatic efforts there and elsewhere in the world the United States had to withdraw from Afghanistan.