In December of 2020, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Mark Miley gave a grim assessment about how for "five to seven years, at a minimum, we have been in a condition of strategic stalemate where the government of Afghanistan was never going to militarily defeat the Taliban. And the Taliban, as long as we were supporting the government of Afghanistan, was never going to militarily defeat the regime."
Since fiscal year 2002, the United States has spent $824.9 billion dollars in combat operations and another $143 billion dollars in providing aid to Afghanistan.
If our objective was victory, it might be worth staying.
When President Biden announced that we were leaving Afghanistan this year, I didn’t think we should spend billions of dollars just to sustain a stalemate.
This isn’t just Biden’s failure. It is America’s failure.
Both Republicans and Democrats in Washington gave up on Afghanistan years ago.
Biden was just carrying out an agreement from the previous administration.
In February of 2020, the Trump administration and the Taliban reached an agreement that American troops would withdraw by May 2021.
In return, the Taliban promised that Afghanistan would never be used as a base for al-Qaida and other terrorists.
Obviously, no one believed that they would keep their word.
Now that the Taliban have taken over Afghanistan, a lot of people who worked with the United States are in serious danger. President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country.
Now that the Taliban have taken over, Afghan women will suffer for this defeat the most.
In October of 2005, I attended an event in Washington that included the three co-chairs of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council: Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, Afghan Women’s Minister Dr. Massouda Jalal, and Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. Department of State Paula Dobriansky.
At this event, Dr. Massouda Jalal said, "Afghanistan has moved from the darkness to the light in a few short years."
According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the number of students in Afghanistan has grown from 900,000 male students in 2001 to 9.5 million students in 2020.
In 2020, 39 percent of all students were women.
Over three million girls are receiving primary and secondary education.
As for higher education, 100,000 women went to university in Afghanistan.
During the 2008 presidential debates, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reminded people that he was wearing the bracelet of Army Corporal Matthew Stanley who died in Iraq.
McCain made the point that our soldier’s sacrifices will be in vain if our nation loses a war.
President Barack Obama responded to McCain’s argument by saying that he was wearing the bracelet of Sgt. Ryan D. Jopek.
His mother asked him to make sure that no other mother had to go through the pain she was feeling. Then President Obama said, "No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain because they're carrying out the missions of their commander in chief."
I disagree with President Obama.
People can die in vain for all sorts of reasons.
For almost 20 years, the United States military has kept the prospect of Afghan democracy alive. The majority of Americans want our forces to withdraw.
It’s now up to the Afghans to win back their freedom.
American troops, and other coalition forces, have killed more than 51,000 Taliban and more 2,000 al-Qaida members in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including Osama bin Laden.
Our brave men and women have killed so many of these terrorists that we can say that honor has been fulfilled and that we have avenged the 2,977 people that we lost on 9/11.
As of Aug. 15, 2021, we have lost 2,434 Americans since October 2001 in Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2014) and Operation Freedom Sentinel (2014-2021).
In this war, 20,615 Americans have been wounded.
Our military gave the Afghan government almost 20 years to prepare for our withdrawal.
Even as I watched the Taliban take Kabul over the weekend, I remain confident that the Afghans will eventually win their freedom.
Historian Lee Edwards once wrote, "Conservatives have always known that in politics, there are no permanent victories and no permanent defeats, only permanent things like wisdom, courage, prudence, justice, and, overarching them all, liberty."
Robert Zapesochny is a researcher and writer whose work focuses on foreign affairs, national security and presidential history. He has been published in numerous outlets, including The American Spectator, the Washington Times, and The American Conservative. When he's not writing, Robert works for a medical research company in New York. Read Robert Zapesochny's Reports — More Here.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.