Patterico's Pontifications

4/13/2021

President Biden To Announce American Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:10 pm



[guest post by Dana]

President Biden is scheduled to make the announcement Wednesday:

President Joe Biden intends to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that started the decades-long conflict, congressional officials confirmed Tuesday.

..Biden had faced a deadline set by the previous administration of removing all U.S. military forces from the country by May 1, but publicly admitted meeting that deadline was unlikely.

Still, White House officials have said Biden remained committed to ending the ongoing U.S. military presence there. In March, during a press conference, Biden said he did not see a scenario where U.S. troops were still in Afghanistan in 2022.

Contradicting the Defense Department’s claim that 2,500 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, the New York Times released a report two months ago claiming that the actual number is closer to 3,500.

Clearly, the withdrawal of American troops will be problematic for Afghanistan:

In March, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction warned in congressional testimony that despite billions spent on fortifying local security forces in the war-torn Asian country, “Afghan security forces are nowhere near achieving self-sufficiency, as they cannot maintain their equipment, manage their supply chains or train new soldiers, pilots and policemen.”

Officials also noted that there is little evidence in recent months that the Taliban fighters are prepared to lay down their arms and take up diplomatic posts with the new government, which was supposed to be a key part of the peace deal and May 1 withdrawal.

Mitch McConnell harshly criticized the decision, saying from the Senate floor:

Precipitously withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake. It is a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished and abdication of American leadership.

Other Republicans echoed his criticism:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called it a “disaster in the making” and “dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous.”

Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters that the decision was “outrageous.”

“You know, we’re talking about making a political decision on something where there isn’t any justification,” he said. “It should be conditions-based. … It’s the wrong thing.”

House Republicans were similarly incensed, with Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas) saying the withdrawal plan “shows a complete disregard for the realities on the ground, and will not only put Afghans at risk, but endanger the lives of U.S. citizens at home and abroad.”

Rep. Liz Cheney expressed similar criticism:

Wars don’t end when one side abandons the fight.

Withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan by September 11 will only embolden the very jihadists who attacked our homeland on that day twenty years ago. By declaring that this withdrawal is not based on conditions on the ground, the Biden Administration is sending a dangerous signal that the United States fundamentally does not understand—or is willfully ignorant of—the terrorist threat.

President Biden’s decision hands the Taliban and al Qaeda a propaganda victory, abandons our global leadership position, and plays into our adversaries’ hands. As we saw with President Obama’s reckless decision to pull troops out of Iraq in 2011, retreat does not end the fight against terrorism. It merely gives our enemies more room to reconstitute and plot attacks against the homeland.

Breaking ranks, however, was Rep. Peter Meijer from Michigan. Meijer is an Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq and also worked as a civilian conflict analyst in Afghanistan. He applauded the Biden administration for the decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan:

Untitled

Additionally, Concerned Veterans for America released a statement, saying:

While we still believe a full withdrawal by the May 1st deadline in the Doha agreement best serves America’s interests, we are pleased to hear President Biden is firmly committed to bringing our troops home within the next few months. America has more pressing priorities at home and elsewhere, and President Biden must keep his promise to end our endless war in Afghanistan.

Since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001, an estimated 2,300 American troops have died.

–Dana

59 Responses to “President Biden To Announce American Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan”

  1. Hello.

    Dana (fd537d)

  2. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called it a “disaster in the making” and “dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous.”

    Nobody wants to hear about your sex life, Lindsey.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  3. Would these Republicans have criticized this withdrawal announcement if Donald Trump had made it?

    The Taliban, I mean the Pakistani military, are likely to try to make it look like the United States was militarily defeated.

    Talking about somebody else taking responsibility is nonsense.

    There was victory but after the success of al Qaeda in Iraq, tactics were imported into Afghanistan.

    And it’s easier to negotiate with and bribe MS-13 than the Taliban but they;re not trying with MS-13 and other C.

    Sammy Finkelman (6975b4)

  4. …Central American gangs,

    If Biden shows he;s really committed to the September 11 date, the Taliban will strive mightily to make it look like the fall of Saigon but worse, attacking American soldiers on their way out.
    (how better to consolidate their hold on Afghanistan? What do you think was the motive for attacking the Pentagon?

    A. to get the opposition in Afghanistan to give up hope of American intervention. That target didn’t come from Osama bin Laden. It’s been attributed to Khalid Sheik Muhammad, still awaiting trial in Guantanamo Bay but he may not have been the one who thought it up..)

    Sammy Finkelman (6975b4)

  5. Clearly, the withdrawal of American troops will be problematic for Afghanistan:

    “In March, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction warned in congressional testimony that despite billions spent on fortifying local security forces in the war-torn Asian country, “Afghan security forces are nowhere near achieving self-sufficiency, as they cannot maintain their equipment, manage their supply chains or train new soldiers, pilots and policemen.”

    Where have we heard this light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-rationale before- oh yes, 1975, Vietnam.
    If they can’t run their country after 20 years of the U.S. taxpayer carrying them on the cuff, they never will. So long, Charlie.

    Rep. Liz Cheney expressed similar criticism: Wars don’t end when one side abandons the fight.

    Except they do, dear. Ask Daddy Darth about his service in Vietnam. Oh. Wait.

    Withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan by September 11 will only embolden the very jihadists who attacked our homeland on that day twenty years ago. By declaring that this withdrawal is not based on conditions on the ground, the Biden Administration is sending a dangerous signal that the United States fundamentally does not understand—or is willfully ignorant of—the terrorist threat.

    President Biden’s decision hands the Taliban and al Qaeda a propaganda victory, abandons our global leadership position, and plays into our adversaries’ hands. As we saw with President Obama’s reckless decision to pull troops out of Iraq in 2011, retreat does not end the fight against terrorism. It merely gives our enemies more room to reconstitute and plot attacks against the homeland.

    So the Homeland is unprepared after 8 years of the attack on Daddy’ watch- the heney-Bush years, dear? The unpaid for wars, dear???

    Perpetual-War-On-A Credit-Card-charged-to-Daddy’s-Halibrton-Lizzy is a broad with her head so far up her azz she’s snorting out her snout.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  6. Republicans are sounding like Democrats when Trump announced he was removing troops from Syria and Iraq.

    It’s like both sides see it as a sound bite to seem like a tough foreign policy hawk – and also line their political coffers with money from the military/industrial complex.

    We should have left Asia – Afghanistan, Iraq, all of it – years ago.

    Hoi Polloi (b28058)

  7. It served to provide a live fire training ground for Special Ops and “fraternization” with combat pay for homely POGs, as well, Hoi Polloi.

    nk (1d9030)

  8. Would these Republicans have criticized this withdrawal announcement if Donald Trump had made it?

    There was a deal signed in February 2020 to do so by May 1 of this year. What did they say at the time?

    The Taliban, I mean the Pakistani military, are likely to try to make it look like the United States was militarily defeated.

    So what if they think that? Our mission ended ten years ago when Bin Laden’s head was ventilated. Operations there for most of the last 20 years have been nothing but a gigantic money pit for contractors to fleece American taxpayers. If we were serious about “changing the country,” we would have made it a de jure rather than de facto American colony, because at least then we could somewhat justify the expense.

    Perpetual-War-On-A Credit-Card-charged-to-Daddy’s-Halibrton-Lizzy is a broad with her head so far up her azz she’s snorting out her snout.

    Don’t forget as well that Liz worked with Democrat Jason Crow to block funding for troop drawdowns through most of last year.

    Factory Working Orphan (f916e7)

  9. nk, did you mean to say PAWG?

    urbanleftbehind (d36fb0)

  10. POG. Person Other than Grunt, i.e. rear echelon. (But PAWG POGs are the ones I primarily had in mind, to be honest.)

    nk (1d9030)

  11. The Taliban had their chance in power.
    It was a bad decision when Trump wanted a full withdrawal, and same for Biden.

    Paul Montagu (26e0d1)

  12. Afghanistan, the Graveyard of Empires, and Afghans, have defeated the three largest empires of the last 200 years: the British (1842), the Soviets (1989), and the United States (2021).

    Rip Murdock (3e2319)

  13. It was a bad decision when Trump wanted a full withdrawal, and same for Biden.

    What do you propose that would change the outcome? Outside of permanent occupation, there is no policy I can think of that would achieve a different result. The typical Afghan doesn’t want us there and are uninterested in a Western-style democracy, and the elites are hopelessly corrupt.

    I doubt you will find my politicians running on a platform of “who lost Afghanistan.” There is no political constituency supporting that.

    Rip Murdock (3e2319)

  14. Nothing stoping you from going over their and taking their place. Private contractors (mercenaries) are all over the place.

    asset (47fa4b)

  15. Let liz cheney and the neo-cons defend a bunker in front of kabul if they think its so important.

    asset (47fa4b)

  16. What do you propose that would change the outcome?

    There’s no need to change the current “outcome”, which greatly favors us.

    For a small commitment of troops, and an average loss rate of about 1 serviceman per month, we deny our enemies a base they previously used to inflict grave losses on our civilian population and will again.

    A sustainable low-risk stalemate is infinitely better than any realistic alternative. We learned that lesson the hard way after creating a power vacuum in Iraq, and we’re going to get a refresher course soon.

    Dave (1bb933)

  17. Off-topic, but cool:

    Hope Trautwein, a pitcher for the University of North Texas women’s softball team, threw a seven-inning perfect game on Sunday. But it was more perfect than perfect: she struck out all 21 of the other team’s batters.

    Dave (1bb933)

  18. Shortly after the attack in 2001, a co-worker suggested we put an H-bomb on Kandahar. Maybe next time.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. …… we deny our enemies a base they previously used to inflict grave losses on our civilian population and will again.
    Our enemies can use any country as a base. Much of the planning for 9-11 took place in Germany, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, not in Afghanistan. There’s nothing special about Afghanistan.

    Rip Murdock (3e2319)

  20. If we didn’t withdraw, what would the endgame be? We’ve been in Afghanistan for 20 years, an entire generation, and it’s been the current stalemate situation for most of those years. If 20 years of our training and help couldn’t provide enough of a foundation for them to figure out how to build a stable government and military, what would our time frame be at this point?

    Nic (896fdf)

  21. We should have left Afghanistan shortly after teaming up with the Northern Alliance to kick Taliban a$$ and drive Osama and Al Queda from the country (you know, circa 2003), telling the Taliban that we would be back at the drop of a hat if they again sheltered terrorists. Who knows, the Northern Alliance may have been able to hold their own from that point. No, Afghanistan wouldn’t have had a democracy, but they aren’t suited to one anyway.

    That was the wisest course if we weren’t prepared to stay for eons. Instead, we decided that 20 years would be a nice number.

    All we have to show for those 20 years is a coddled and corrupt Afghan government, with the Taliban just outside the gate, chomping at the bit. It’s Vietnam all over again.

    norcal (01e272)

  22. The cost: we have about 2,500 troops there of about a 9,000 NATO deployment at a cost of about $10B/yr with 10-20 casualties/yr. We leave they leave.

    By being there, we have some leverage on reducing the violence and power sharing. When we leave, expect ethnic cleansing, mass slaughter, and Taliban payback. The Taliban will continue to side with Al Qaeda and will control more of the country, giving those that hate us rent-free access to plan attacks and train. Yes, the democracy in Afghanistan is imperfect….and the warloads corrupt…..but giving up will lead to a humanitarian nightmare….and a safeplace for terrorism. Supporters of retreat will need to accept those consequences…..and as is customary these days…own it

    AJ_Liberty (a4ff25)

  23. What do you propose that would change the outcome? Outside of permanent occupation, there is no policy I can think of that would achieve a different result.

    One, leaving would “achieve a different result”, most likely, and not a good one, so why leave? We have a small footprint there, just a few thousand troops, and we’re primarily involved in training/bolstering Afghan forces and conducting spec ops. We’re already doing the least unpalatable thing, and decisions on force levels should be based on conditions on the ground, not an anniversary date. Biden is being just as short-sighted on this as Trump.
    Two, it’s not an “occupation”. We are there with the blessing of the legitimately elected Afghan and internationally recognized government. In the latest polls I saw (which was a while ago), only a tenth of the Afghan people wanted a Taliban return to power.
    Three, the Taliban never disassociated from al Qaeda or the Islamic State. We shouldn’t be negotiating with terrorists, especially the kind who give safe harbor to terrorists. From what I’ve seen in the last two decades, there are no “good” Taliban. Why cut and run when we’ve prevailed against militant Islamism in practically every other country.

    Paul Montagu (26e0d1)

  24. There are a fair number of Republicans who have been pushing for departure for some time now and probably a majority of Democrats. Departure is looking inevitable. If the departure leads, as seems likely, to a Taliban takeover and severe repression of women and American allies, then U.S. should accept the refugees, though my guess is that Republicans will resist it.

    When I look at the history of the U.S. accepting (sometimes reluctantly) those fleeing persecutions, like the Jews before WWII, or the Vietnamese in the 70’s, or Cubans, I think in every instance the country was better off for doing so. I hope we do the right thing this time too.

    Victor (4959fb)

  25. This isn’t a good idea. That’s clear. But I have no clue if this is a less bad idea then staying. I do know that if you think this is a worse idea and waited until it was politically convenient to say so you’re a coward.

    Time123 (b4d075)

  26. I don’t believe we “lost” anything in Afganistan.

    We did our job and now it’s time to get out.

    Good for Biden.

    If Afganistan becomes a staging ground in the future, we can go back. But, we’re not a permanent occupying force outside something like the Marshall Plan. And that wasn’t the Marshall Plan chief.

    whembly (ae0eb5)

  27. Bernie Madoff (82) has reportedly died.

    Rip Murdock (3e2319)

  28. Good for Biden.

    More plagiarism; it was Trump’s idea and policy.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  29. If we didn’t withdraw, what would the endgame be? We’ve been in Afghanistan for 20 years, an entire generation, and it’s been the current stalemate situation for most of those years.

    And how many successful mass-casualty attacks against our cities have been launched from Afghanistan in that time?

    Also: “When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they will naturally want to side with the strong horse.”

    Dave (1bb933)

  30. B.I.H. Bernie Madoff

    Cashed in his Blue Chips on a 150 yr., prison sentence for ‘running the world’s larges Ponzi scheme’ on Wall St. At the time of his death, he had approximately 138 years remaining on his sentence. He was at one time non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, before being revealed as and later confessing to having been the operator of the largest Ponzi scheme in world history, and the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. Prosecutors estimated the fraud to be worth $64.8 billion based on the amounts in the accounts of Madoff’s 4,800 clients as of November 30, 2008.

    “Voodoo economics”, eh George?… 😉

    https://abcnews.go.com/Business/bernie-madoff-ran-worlds-largest-ponzi-scheme-dead/story?id=68802753

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  31. Remember that ex- Green Beret Michael Yon thought the Pentagon and DC would try to run Afghanistan as a “Hunting Lodge” for Special Forces for as long as possible.

    steveg (02d731)

  32. And how many successful mass-casualty attacks against our cities have been launched from Afghanistan in that time?

    As if Afghanistan is the only place mass-casualty attacks can be launched from.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  33. Nice touch, DC…R(ot) IH is usually used in local parlance by gangbangers celebrating rival gangbangers’ deaths, but BIH certainly applies, especially if you’re a fan of New York’s AAAA baseball team.

    urbanleftbehind (56f0af)

  34. If the US isn’t in Afghanistan to win (i.e. defeating the Taliban so they don’t threaten the Afghan government) then we should have gotten out a decade ago. A few thousand troops won’t be able to do it.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  35. As if Afghanistan is the only place mass-casualty attacks can be launched from.

    As if training camps in the suburbs of Berlin wouldn’t be conspicuous

    AJ_Liberty (ec7f74)

  36. As if Afghanistan is the only place mass-casualty attacks can be launched from.

    Meh. Seem to recall a group financed by Saudis, trained in the U.S. and “launched” from Boston and Newark. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  37. After all these years, why still wait until 9/11 to withdraw just 3,500??

    It only took a day to put 25,000 troops into Normandy, Joe.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  38. Why is September 11 the best date for the Biden Administration, but May 1 was deemed completely unacceptable?

    Another James (2012a8)

  39. And how many successful mass-casualty attacks against our cities have been launched from Afghanistan in that time

    Foreign mass casualty attacks in the US are extremely rare. Not having one for 20 years isn’t unusual, it would be the normal expected pattern.

    I don’t know if our presence in Afghanistan is protecting us from mass casualty attack or if it isn’t, but I do know that after 20 years of US presence there hasn’t been a lot of progress on the part of Afghanistan itself and it hasn’t been sold to the American citizen as a permanent mission.

    Nic (896fdf)

  40. The neocons, Bill Kristol, Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin, are all aghast, so I know that withdrawal is the right thing to do.

    What do they think we can accomplish that we haven’t over the past 19½ years?

    If the Taliban take over, so what? If we have been unable to turn Afghanistan into a Western-style by now, maybe, just maybe, they don’t want that.

    The Dana in Kentucky (811f17)

  41. Max Boot likened the withdrawal from Afghanistan to our withdrawal from Vietnam, and in that, I think he’s right. But so what? President Nixon spent a couple of years seeking peace With Honor™ after he learned that we couldn’t defeat the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese militarily, with what we were willing to do, and we had the spectacle of April of 1975, but at least we were out.

    An old professor of mine said, about the Vietnamese Communists, they were more willing to die for their country than we were willing to go on killing them. The same is true of the Taliban.

    How successful have we been? There are Taliban fighters today who hadn’t even been born when we invaded the place.

    The Dana in Kentucky (811f17)

  42. Why is September 11 the best date for the Biden Administration, but May 1 was deemed completely unacceptable?

    Not sure why they picked the 20 anniversary of the attacks, but May 1st is in a couple of weeks and it takes a lot of logistical planning to remove troops and their equipment. We don’t want to leave a lot of equipment for the Taliban to use against the Afghan government.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  43. There will be a torrent of refugees as a result of our withdrawal. My fingers are crossed that no Boston Marathon bombers spring from their ranks.

    norcal (01e272)

  44. Additionally, there is a school of thought about it being cheaper to shelter refugees on foreign soil than bring them to the U.S. Refugees, unlike most other immigrants, are entitled to a whole panoply of welfare benefits.

    Maybe the best course is to stay in Afghanistan, since we didn’t kick a$$ and get out early on.

    We created a dependency, and now we own it.

    norcal (01e272)

  45. There will be a torrent of refugees as a result of our withdrawal. …..

    There are already 2.5M+ refugees from over 40 years of fighting. The only refugees that should be admitted to the US are those who worked for the US military with their immediate families (after vetting, of course). Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan should deal with rest. Not our problem.

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  46. @45. We’re still paying Afghan salaries and other ‘utilities’ after we leave. So they’ll likely stay. Life is better there than in Detroit. In ’75 Vietnam, staff burned the cash behind the embassy. Besides, there’s no U.S. fleet off shore for them to chopper-ditch by or barge out to.

    Declare victory, “Mission Accomplished” … and leave.

    Then be ready to re-deploy to Europe; by the time they get home Putin will have already occupied Ukraine. Expect Putin to infiltrate and self-invite the tanks in by summer.

    Go for it, Vlad.

    Nobody’s gonna stop you. Ol’stumble bum Joe can’t even walk up a flight of stairs.

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  47. @42. Time for Israel to move out of Uncle Sam’s basement, too. Been there since ’48. 73 years old now and about time It got it own place. South Korea needs the closet space. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  48. Not sure why they picked the 20 anniversary of the attacks, but May 1st is in a couple of weeks and it takes a lot of logistical planning to remove troops and their equipment. We don’t want to leave a lot of equipment for the Taliban to use against the Afghan government.

    The agreement was signed in February 2020. We can’t plan for the removal of 8,600 troops in 15 months, or 2,500 in five? McKenzie has been CENTCOM commander since March 2019, and Guillot has been in charge of AFCENT since July 2020. The first thing McKenzie probably told Guillot upon the latter taking command, “Hey, we need to fly everyone out of Afghanistan by 1 May next year, what do you need to get that accomplished? Talk to your A4 guys and the J4 here and let’s get moving on this.” They didn’t even need to take them out of the AOR, they could have just redeployed them to bases in the GCC countries. Redeployment of far larger amounts of materiel and manning from Iraq was planned and executed in a year. I’m supposed to believe that they can’t even execute a *redeployment* of 2,500 men and their equipment in 5 months, ten years later, that was *already* taking place–much less an entire pullout from the entire AOR?

    No, what happened here is that people in the upper levels of government, including the Biden administration after the inauguration, dragged their feet so they’d be able to proffer up that very excuse–“Oh, gee, there just isn’t enough time, let’s set this date instead!” Except the Taliban is expecting us to honor the agreement we signed in exchange for the prisoners they released and to not threaten US security in the interim. Once that May 1st deadline passes, we’ve broken the in-writing agreement that we made that they’ve actually lived up to so far the last ten months.

    A few days ago, Blinken issued a list of additional demands that the Taliban needed to meet for the US to withdraw that they have to know the Taliban will never agree to. Now why exactly would the Biden administration do something like this, which they have to know is just setting up the whole thing for failure–not just going back on the terms the Taliban agreed to in February, and have met so far, but demanding that they now need to meet new ones? If someone did that to us, how would we react?

    Factory Working Orphan (f916e7)

  49. much less an entire pullout from the entire AOR?

    That should have read, “an entire pullout from Afghanistan.”

    Factory Working Orphan (f916e7)

  50. If the US isn’t in Afghanistan to win (i.e. defeating the Taliban so they don’t threaten the Afghan government) then we should have gotten out a decade ago. A few thousand troops won’t be able to do it.

    I remember hearing similar things about Obama’s decision to cut and run from Iraq. How’d that work out again?

    Paul Montagu (cbbfc4)

  51. I remember hearing similar things about Obama’s decision to cut and run from Iraq. How’d that work out again?

    Considering Bush is the one who signed the SOFA in 2008 to pull out all combat troops by the end of 2011, he’s probably the better one to ask. That trip, incidentally, was the one where had the shoes thrown at his head.

    Heck, Obama asked about the possibility of keeping a larger force there than what’s currently in Afghanistan now, but his diplomats messed up and asked for a public declaration of troop immunity, and that botched the whole deal. He was certainly happy to take the credit for “ending” the war, but that was a bigger work than a professional wrestling promo.

    Factory Working Orphan (f916e7)

  52. When you don’t want to be there you pay someone to be there. They are called mercenaries or now private contractors. Don’t you remember the hessians from american history.

    asset (2be513)

  53. It’s not our problem? We’ve been there for 20 years We may have had good intentions, but we are definitely partly responsible for what the situation in Afghanistan is now. We definitely owe to the people who helped us, and if political asylum is going to mean anything anymore, to the people who are going to be persecuted by the new Taliban government.

    I realize that there are some conservatives who feel that the number of people allowed asylum should be zero, every year, no exceptions. I think they are hugely mistaken.

    America has benefited from political refugees. The fact that amongst thousands there may be one or two who turn criminal is not a reason to turn them all away. A zero risk U.S. isn’t much of a country to be proud of.

    Victor (4959fb)

  54. I just add that if people are really interested in eliminating foreign adventures and sending our troops overseas than establishing a norm that if we wreck a country we’re responsible for cleaning it up, including taking care of the people we made promises to if they have to flee, is as good a way as any of discouragement. It should be particularly effective with anti-immigration conservatives and their Congressional allies.

    Victor (4959fb)

  55. Considering Bush is the one who signed the SOFA in 2008 to pull out all combat troops by the end of 2011, he’s probably the better one to ask.

    Elections have consequences, and Bush couldn’t get an agreement with Maliki until after McCain lost. It was on Obama’s watch, and it was Obama who decided to disengage militarily and diplomatically, falsely declaring that he ended the war in Iraq. The enemy gets a vote.

    Paul Montagu (26e0d1)

  56. Why did Biden choose 9-11 as a withdrawal date? That seems to me the worst kind of symbolism — right down to, when the Taliban Government on Afghanistan has a holiday on 9-11, what will they really be celebrating?

    If he was going to withdraw, just do it, and pick a random Thursday in July as the date it all gets done. (Or, horror of horrors, stick to Trump’s 5/1 date)

    Appalled (1a17de)

  57. Elections have consequences, and Bush couldn’t get an agreement with Maliki until after McCain lost.

    Which still doesn’t change the fact that he signed it, nor that his team was working on the SOFA all during 2008. The Iraqi government had made it known they wanted the US troops out of there at a given point as a condition of putting it in place.

    It was on Obama’s watch, and it was Obama who decided to disengage militarily and diplomatically, falsely declaring that he ended the war in Iraq. The enemy gets a vote.

    No, Obama followed the agreement that the US made under the Bush administration. That he was trying to modify it to keep troops in place up to the last minute doesn’t change the fact that he ultimately followed through, as it likely would have been open season on US troops by all sides if he had violated it.

    What is this fascination with breaking agreements that we signed, just because we get buyer’s remorse, or pundits like Max Boot might get a sad because we’re not playing World Police and occupying American troops in every nation on the planet? Is there not some sort of recognition that there’s a cost to all of this?

    Factory Working Orphan (f916e7)


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