U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan merits praise, not blame


Courtesy/ Resolute Support Media - Flickr

Afghanistan’s own people must now face a new Taliban government.

Mac Connors, Crier Staff

Over the past few weeks, much ado about Afghanistan has been filling the airwaves. However, this should not surprise people, as the American mission in Afghanistan has been one of our most prominent policy fights over the past twenty years. While Republicans started the war, Democrats have historically done nothing to stop it, even while the majority of Americans support the withdrawal. As with any major political question, things are not always as they seem, and a discovery of the root causes of this conflict may reveal the truth.

In the months following the September 11th attacks, U.S. intelligence found that certain Middle Eastern governments were harboring terrorists, including Syria, Iran, Iraq, and of course, Afghanistan. President Bush, with the advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the support of the American people, asked Congress to authorize sending troops to several countries. The only problem is that the intelligence reports in question were not in support of U.S. interests, but they were in the interest of Dick Cheney. 

According to investigative journalist Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, “[Cheney] had valuable relationships with very powerful people,” and it was these connections which landed him a job at Halliburton in 1995. This company had contracts with oil-rich middle eastern countries, including Iran and Iraq. By 2001, at the time of the attacks, Cheney had profitted greatly on these oil deals with U.S. designated-state-sponsors of terrorism. The question, then, is: how did Halliburton manage to deal with these countries without being branded subversive and sanctioned by the U.S. government?

In the late 1990’s, Halliburton, with Cheney at the helm, was able to sell millions of dollars worth of oil subsidiaries to Sadam Hussein, the infamous Iraqi leader of the age. In order to protect Halliburton, these transactions were done under the name of the original owner of these subsidiaries, Dresser, as the subsidiaries were legally owned by Halliburton, but maintained their association with the Dresser name. 

Following the September 11th attacks, the government was searching for someone to take the blame. As previously noted, the intelligence community told President Bush to invade Afghanistan, as the region was known for harboring terrorists; the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden, was hiding in their Tora Bora Mountains. However, they also insisted that the United States invade Iraq under the guise that Sadam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction.” Cheney in particular advanced this claim and fiercely advocated that Bush invade Iraq. Bush agreed and Congress quickly authorized an invasion of both countries. Suspicious behavior on the part of Vice President Cheney, including taking briefings with top defense officials prior to their briefing President Bush, leads one to wonder about the validity of the intelligence which prompted the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Bush declared that it was the mission of the U.S. military to find Osama Bin Laden dead or alive. However, by the time he was found he was not even in Afghanistan, but in Pakistan. What we had invaded Afghanistan to accomplish in the first place, was completed without the nation; yet the United States remained in Afghanistan for years after the successful assault on Bin Laden’s compound.

It was not until the election of Donald Trump in 2016 that the idea of withdrawing from Afghanistan became a reality. To be clear, however, the indecisiveness which swallowed the United States was perpetuated by both political parties over the years. Afghanistan, after all, has been given the epithet “the graveyard of empires.” Its unusual terrain and unruly people have long been difficult to conquer.

Every nation, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or socio-economics has the government it deserves and the traditions and culture that work for its inhabitants. It should not be the mission of any group to import and export their values to another country that finds itself at conflict with them. Our largest concern should now be with our own country. When our people are paying for a government that collapsed in six hours, while they starve and suffer and their children die in the line of duty, it is reprehensible that a government would not change course of action immediately. While this evacuation was botched, it is unfair to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the Biden Administration. Americans should look at the route of this problem and understand that leaders in both parties got us to this point and that leaders from both parties, President Trump and President Biden have worked to get us out. Whatever their shortcomings, it is incumbent upon us to be grateful that somebody realized a problem and attempted to rectify it. I say, in this time of grief, let us pray for our nation, its troops, and its leaders and may God Bless the United States of America.