“The war in Afghanistan is over,” President Biden said Tuesday afternoon, a day after the last plane of troops left Kabul. In a solemn unbroken tone, Biden said, “I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision, and the best decision for America.”
He also made it clear that it was not his decision alone. After citing the various military advisors, including the joint chiefs of staff and commanders on the ground, he said, “Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead.”
There are 100 to 200 Americans still in the country, Biden said. “For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out.”
A similar resolve was extended to those Afghans who wanted to leave and who had been supportive of the U.S. involvement in the “Forever War.”
Biden summed up the 20 years of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and billions of dollars spent stating that he did not want to commit any more young Americans to the war and that the exit was “not due to an arbitrary deadline. It was designed to save American lives.”
He said 2,461 soldiers, including the 13 killed last Thursday, had made “as Abraham Lincoln said, the last full measure of devotion” to end the possibility of Afghanistan being a base for terrorists like Al Qaeda who attacked the U.S. in 2001. Even so, Isis-K remained a considerable force and took responsibility for the attacks near the airport that killed and injured U.S. personnel and countless Afghan citizens.
Though Biden insisted the buck stopped with him when it came to the ultimate decision, he placed some of the blame for the chaos surrounding the withdrawal on the failure of the Afghanistan government and its military forces to stabilize things during the U.S. departure. He said that was “an inaccurate assumption.”
In the wake of the departure Biden was taking heat from veterans who expressed their outrage during the transfer of the bodies at the Dover airbase on Sunday. He was chastised for repeatedly looking at his watch as the caskets were carried by to the waiting vans. And as if the situation around Afghanistan wasn’t enough concern, Biden was criticized for referring to Cedric Richmond, a former congressman from Louisiana and senior adviser, as a “boy” during a FEMA briefing on Monday. “I’m here with a senior adviser and [a] boy who knows Louisiana very, very well and New Orleans, Cedric Richmond,” Biden announced. This was not the first time Biden had called a Black man boy. More on this later.