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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,088
August 18, 2021
Leaving Afghanistan Is Devastating
By Mike McManus

When President Biden announced the withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan in May, I wrote a column opposing his decision:

"If America is trying to save money from foreign deployment of U.S. troops, why are there still 53,732 U.S. troops in Japan which we conquered in 1945? Why are there 33,959 still in Germany who we defeated 75 years ago? Why not return 50,000 to 90,000 of these troops - rather than worry about the 2,500 still in Afghanistan?" I asked.

I argued, "No one would suffer more than females who were systemically victimized under the Taliban. Girls were forbidden to attend school or to work outside the home or even travel unaccompanied by a male relative.

A hair stylist in Kabul, the nation's capital, Sultana Karimi, 24, who never experienced the rule of the Taliban, worries that her dreams will come to an end if hardline militants regain power: "With the return of the Taliban, society will be transformed and ruined. Women will be sent into hiding. They will be forced to wear the burqa to go out of their homes."

America's exit from the country was horrifying. Thousands of citizens tried to cram on American planes. Some held on the underbelly of the planes, and fell off, killing themselves.

President Biden held a press conference Monday. He noted that no U.S. troops were killed. He asserted that America "did what we went to do in Afghanistan: to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden and to degrade the terrorist threat to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base from which attacks could be continued against the United States. We achieved those objectives. That's why we went."

He noted that we did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. By the time we evacuated all Americans from the country we had trained and equipped 300,000 Afghan troops. We provided our Afghan partners with modern equipment and training - advanced weaponry.

However, the Taliban took over the entire country in a few months. Americans invested a trillion dollars to train and equip hundreds of thousands Afghan Defense Forces. In this 20 year war, 2,448 Americans were killed and 20,722 were wounded and untold thousands came home with trauma to their mental health.

Unfortunately, America's 20-year intervention did not equip Afghan nationals to defend themselves. The Afghan president fled the country with American troops.

President Biden asserted in his press conference on July 8, "The likelihood there's going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely."

In fact, that is exactly what has happened. In a press conference August 16, Biden acknowledged the "gut-wrenching" images after the Taliban takeover. However, he added, "After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces."

What was shocking were images - videos of Afghans clinging to a U.S. Air Force plane and running alongside it as it prepared to take off. Seven people fell from a departing American military transport jet to their death.

Afghans rushed onto the tarmac as thousands tried to escape after the Taliban seized power. Biden said the rapid end of the Afghan government only vindicated his decision, noting the Afghan army surrendered to the Taliban.

"American troops cannot and should not be fighting and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight themselves," Biden asserted.

However, Biden has only himself to blame for the utter collapse of Afghanistan. He wanted credit for ending the country's 20 year war. America could have continued to support the 2,500 U.S. troops that have been in place for years.

If America's goal is to reduce the billions it is spending on military occupation in foreign lands, let's bring home the 34,000 troops in Germany and 60,000 in Japan - who have been there since our 1945 victory of World War II.

The tragic consequence of our removing 2,500 troops from Afghanistan is that the nation's girls will no longer be allowed to go to school or have careers as independent women.

Our pullout will condemn millions of Afghan females to a horrific future.

The return of 100,000 troops from Japan and Germany would not have that impact. And it would reduce the federal deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars. By comparison, the Afghan pullout will have a relatively tiny budget impact.


Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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