Once upon a time, President Joe Biden advocated for a vastly smaller military footprint in Afghanistan. We can only hope that, as President, he has the courage to follow through.
When Dan Bershinksi was a high schooler, Al Qaeda attacked our nation. By 2009, he was a United States Army infantry platoon leader deployed to Afghanistan. This was eight years after 9/11, and 68,000 American troops had already been deployed to the country as part of the “surge.” Today, our nation is approaching its 21st anniversary of war there. Whether this year is the last is up to President Biden.
“The Biden administration now faces a tough dilemma: Does it stick with the Trump administration’s plan to withdraw all U.S. troops by May 1? Does it backtrack on recent negotiations with the Taliban and extend the timeline for withdrawal to an unknown later date,” writes Dan Bershinksi. “Or does the Biden administration capitulate to a national security establishment that over two decades has proved unable to achieve anything more than “a modicum of success” and is unwilling to consider doing anything other than more of the same: more years, more money, and more lives?”
It is worth considering why America is still fighting this endless war. Bershinki argues that there are a few reasons. First, because no one wants to be the president or the general who loses the war. Another is the false premise that a weak Afghanistan will be a haven for terrorists to play and successfully carry out another attack on the scale of 9/11. The truth is that our country has been spared another major terrorist attack not through invasion, but because of the tireless work of our intelligence services, our police agencies, and our special operations forces. Perhaps the weakest reason, Bershinksi writes, is “the sunken cost fallacy: To walk away now would be to disrespect the sacrifices — in limbs and lives lost — that our military members have made over the past two decades.”
This rationale could not be more wrong. And the billions of dollars poured into a failing war could be put to far better use caring for America’s veterans. It’s up to President Biden to make this crucial shift.
Read the full piece here.