Is this a victory for the terrorists?
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) thinks so.
Cheney called President Joe Biden’s move to withdraw all remaining 2,500 American troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, a “huge propaganda victory” for al Qaeda and the Taliban and al Qaeda.
There are now 2,500 U.S. service members in Iraq and 2,500 in Afghanistan. It is the lowest number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan since operations started there in 2001.
By comparison, in May 2011, when Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by a U.S. special operations raid, there are still about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.
While Americans had a variety of reasons for electing Barack Obama in the 2008 election , among them were ending United States involvement in foreign wars.
But while in December 2007, the number of troops in Afghanistan was 25,000, by December 2009 then-president Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan to over 100,000.
So much for hope and change.
Placed in perspective, the current American troop presence in Afghanistan of 2,500 troops is 2.5-percent the total number of US troops in Afghanistan in 2010.
While some call her a “warmonger,” individuals such as Representative Liz Cheney argue that keeping this small presence in Afghanistan is important leverage.
But leverage in what? Why are we in Afghanistan? Some argue that America accomplished its mission in Afghanistan in 2011 when we killed Osama bin Laden, the chief architect of 9/11 terrorist attacks.
America invaded Afghanistan because the country was providing a safe haven for terrorist activities. Afghanistan was, and is, made up of many tribes and factions that had divided the country up into territories under their respective control, with the Taliban ruling the Afghanistan “government,” a very loose term in this case.
What was first a mission focused on denying terrorists a safe haven has morphed into nation-building, peace-keeping, and now an endless negotiation between the US, the Afghan government, and the Taliban.
One might say that America’s centuries-long project of exporting democracy reached the end of the line in Afghanistan. There is a reason that the country, whose current geographic boundaries were arbitrarily drawn by a British cartographer, has been ruled by competing factions since the dawn of history.
After 18 years, 2,300 American troops killed in action, and $2 trillion spent on the war in Afghanistan many believe that the sacrifice in blood and treasure is tough to justify.
It is important to remember that the war in Afghanistan has succeed, however.
Modern wars centered around counter terrorism are unlike the great wars of history, such as World War II, the Battle of Waterloo, or the American Civil War, where there were definitive ends to the conflict. The Nazis lost, Napoleon was defeated, and General Lee surrendered.
In the case of Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden was killed as retribution for the attacks and terrorists have been denied a safe haven in Afghanistan from planning and executing future attacks on the US homeland or US interests around the world.
“Any withdrawal of forces based on a political timeline … any withdrawal of forces that is not based on conditions on the ground puts American security at risk,” said Cheney after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans.
“Now I’m not sure why the White House has selected [Sept. 11], but I can tell you that that is a huge victory, a huge propaganda victory for the Taliban, for al Qaeda,” she added. “The notion that on the day that they attacked us, we are going to mark that anniversary by withdrawing our forces?”
Biden wants to pull all remaining 2,500 U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by 9/11, exactly two decades after terrorists used commercial airliners to attack the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It is time for American troops to come home,” said Biden. The media and the Democrats are celebrating Biden’s move, though mere months ago when President Trump argued for bringing the troops home, this idea was “traitorous.”
“We know that this kind of a pullback is reckless. It’s dangerous. It puts American security at risk, it will provide an opportunity for terrorists to be able to establish safe havens again,” said Cheney.
“Twenty years in, we can’t continue to do the same thing and expect that we’re going to get different results. It can’t be an endless war,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters Wednesday.
“I’ve been to Afghanistan; it’s a rough part of the world. This comes from someone who comes from a rough part of Brooklyn,” Jeffries added. “But, we can’t be the policemen for the world either. It’s not our job.”