Throughout the speech, Biden repeated the same facts that drove home that the soldiers, diplomats, and intelligence teams on the ground had done an excellent job. They gave everything and they deserve the nation's gratitude. Afghanistan was not to blame for the military or Afghanistan; it was in Washington D.C. and with an American government that, having locked itself in an undefined task, could not find its way to a definitive end.
Until now. If in doubt, it was removed. Joe Biden ended the US war in Afghanistan. Decisive.
And then he took a large red marker and underlined exactly why, in a way, that may have shocked Americans who have become used to a soup of lies and platitudes. "To those who are calling for a third decade of war in Afghanistan, I ask, 'What is the vital national interest?'" Biden said. "I just don't think America's security can be improved by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops and spend billions of dollars in Afghanistan."
Biden specifically stated that the mission had started with a goal but had lost it a long time ago and was turning into something that could only add infinite cost to pursue an unattainable goal. "We saw a counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan … turn into a counterinsurgency mission, a nation-building mission that sought to create a democratic, coherent, and unified Afghanistan – something that has never been done in centuries."
Where Republicans and the media – and not just right-wing media – tore apart every aspect of the Afghan Airlift and wore out their keys to spelling “chaos” and “catastrophe,” Biden praised everyone involved and trumpeted the airlift as both an extraordinary success and yet another example for how everyone on the ground in Afghanistan gave their lives and hearts to make things right. Bidening back all those who tried to view the Airlift's achievements as anything but a massive success, Biden again praised both the military and diplomatic teams involved.
In two decades no president has stated the need for action as directly as Biden has today in describing the end of this war, and no president has been so steadfast in the cost.
“We no longer had a clear goal in an open-ended Afghanistan mission. I refuse to send another generation of America's sons and daughters into a war that should have ended long ago, ”said Biden. "After spending more than $ 2 trillion in Afghanistan … the cost has been estimated at over $ 300 million a day for twenty years." To underline that astonishing number, Biden struck again. "Yes, the American people should hear this: $ 300 million a day for two decades."
"How did we lose chances as a result?" Asked Biden. “I refuse to continue a war that was no longer in the vital national interest of our people. And most importantly, after 800,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan … after 20,744 injured American soldiers and the loss of 2,461 American soldiers – including 13 lives just this week – I refuse to open another decade of warfare in Afghanistan. "
It is not a speech that is likely to be repeated many times. There was no speech full of poetry. It did not celebrate the glory of war or beat the drum of patriotism. But in many ways it was the best and most important speech anyone has given since the war began. The only problem is that it's a decade too late.
Damned. Biden is a strong leader. 4 presidents and he was the only one with the courage to end this war and not hand it over to another government.
That's why over 60 percent of veterans agree. And I'm on top of them. #Afghanistan
– Jon Soltz (@jonsoltz) August 31, 2021
Biden is clearer with us about the cost of war in bodies and dollars than any president in 20 years. This is a speech for soldiers and veterans. He tells the military that he has their backs and will not sacrifice them for shitty reasons.
– The Rude Pandit (@rudepundit) August 31, 2021
Whatever you want to say about Biden, his decisions come from a place of honesty, decency, empathy, and love for the country and everyone he serves as president. I think that's a lot – and maybe the best we could ask for.
– Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) August 31, 2021