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Biden defends ‘forever war departure’

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WASHINGTON — Addressing the nation, a defensive President Joe Biden on Tuesday called the U.S. airlift to extract more than 120,000 Afghans, Americans and other allies to end a 20-year war an “extraordinary success,” though more than 100 Americans and thousands of Afghans remain behind.

Twenty-four hours after the last American C-17 cargo plane roared off from Kabul, Biden vigorously defended his decision to end America’s longest war and withdraw all U.S. troops ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline.

“I was not going to extend this forever war,” Biden declared from the White House. “And I was not going to extend a forever exit.”

Biden has faced tough questions about the way the U.S. went about leaving Afghanistan — a chaotic evacuation with spasms of violence including a suicide bombing last week that killed 13 American service members and 169 Afghans.

He is under heavy criticism, particularly from Republicans, for his handling of the evacuation. But he said it was inevitable that the final departure from two decades of war, first negotiated with the Taliban for May 1 by former President Donald Trump, would have been difficult with likely violence, no matter when it was planned and conducted.

“To those asking for a third decade of war in Afghanistan, I ask, ‘What is the vital national interest?’” Biden said. He added, “I simply do not believe that the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops and spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan.”

Asked after the speech about Biden sounding angry at some criticism, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the president had simply offered his “forceful assessment.”

Biden scoffed at Republicans — and some Democrats — who contend the U.S. would have been better served maintaining a small military footprint in Afghanistan. Before Thursday’s attack, the U.S. military had not suffered a combat casualty since February 2020 — around the time the Trump administration brokered its deal with the Taliban to end the war by May of this year.

Biden said breaking the Trump deal would have restarted a shooting war. He said those who favor remaining at war also fail to recognize the weight of deployment has come with a scourge of PTSD, financial struggles, divorce and other problems for U.S. troops.

“When I hear that we could’ve, should’ve continued the so-called low-grade effort in Afghanistan at low risk to our service members, at low cost, I don’t think enough people understand how much we’ve asked of the 1% of this country to put that uniform on,” Biden said.

In addition to all the questions at home, Biden is also adjusting to a new relationship with the Taliban, the Islamist militant group the U.S. toppled after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in America, and that is now once again in power in Afghanistan.

Biden has tasked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to coordinate with international partners to hold the Taliban to their promise of safe passage for Americans and others who want to leave in the days ahead.

“We don’t take them by their word alone, but by their actions,” Biden said. “We have leverage to make sure those commitments are met.”

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Biden has faced tough questions about the way the U.S. went about leaving Afghanistan — a chaotic evacuation with spasms of violence including a suicide bombing last week that killed 13 American service members and 169 Afghans.

Source: https://www.altoonamirror.com/uncategorized/2021/09/biden-defends-forever-war-departure/

Donovan Larsen

Donovan is a columnist and associate editor at the Dark News. He has written on everything from the politics to diversity issues in the workplace.

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