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There’s no better time to leave Afghanistan

Melvin B. Miller

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was just passed in the House 219 to 212, but not one Republican voted in support. Everyone knows that the right to vote is the fundamental principle of democracy. Nonetheless, several Republicans have hypocritically asserted that President Biden should leave troops in Afghanistan in order to establish a democratic government there. Biden was determined to remove U.S. forces from these questionable foreign wars.

Biden has every reason to be concerned about the nation’s mishaps in foreign wars. From 1955 to 1975, America was embroiled in the Vietnam War that was stimulated by the Gulf of Tonkin attack in 1964 which reportedly never happened. And then from 2003 to 2011, the country was at war with Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein over mythical weapons of mass destruction.

Now we have been at war with Afghanistan because Afghanistan provided shelter to Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist group as they planned the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the U.S. So America retaliated against the Taliban who controlled Afghanistan, while bin Laden left for a quiet life in Pakistan, where U.S. special forces eventually hunted him down and he was slain by Navy Seals 10 years ago.

Over the years the U.S. spent an estimated $2.2 trillion in Afghanistan to train and equip its military force and to help build a nation. However, Afghanistan seems to desire a nation run by competing warlords. It seems to work for them. They kicked out the invading British in 1842 and the British were defeated again after another invasion in 1878. When the Russians tried to control Afghanistan 100 years later, they experienced defeat in 1980.

Perhaps some leaders in the industrialized world have not gotten the message. Certainly Biden has. He knew it was time to leave. And Biden knew that it was a bad idea to leave with Afghans feeling like whipped dogs. Biden’s predecessor in the White House had promised to leave, and there was no way to back off that commitment gracefully.

Biden played the hand he was dealt with extraordinary skill. Everyone saw the Taliban moving through smaller cities with no resistance. Kabul has no medieval wall to bar the entry of invaders. Those who are unwilling to keep company with the Taliban should have left on their own. Biden had made it clear that the war was over.

Republicans should use their political skills to enhance American democracy. If they choose not to do that, they should certainly not publish provocative ideas that might damage the international status of America at what is still a time of war.

Afghan war, Afghanistan, Biden, editorial