President Joe Biden has vowed to put an end to America’s longest ever war on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. But, having made similar promises before, will he stay true to his word? Can Joe Biden be trusted to withdraw from Afghanistan?
The history of the US occupation of Afghanistan
The United States have been in Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East for so long and the beginning of that war feels like a distant childhood memory for many of us. To refresh your memory, President George W. Bush ordered an attack on Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Al Qaeda were using the mountainous country as a safe haven and were providing a safe space for the man that sponsored the 9/11 attacks and countless other acts of terrorism.
Osama bin Laden, the 1st General Emir of al-Qaeda, took credit for the attacks and the objective was to bring him to justice. However, bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May 2011, almost a decade ago. The objective shifted under the Obama adminstration, where Biden served as Vice President. The United States claimed to be bringing democracy to the region and that they would be withdrawing strategically in order not to create a power vacuum. America has been at war to create peace… let’s just leave it at that…
Not to mention, the United States now has a military presence in several other parts of the (coincidently oil-rich) Middle East, including Iraq, Syria and Libya where full-scale military operations have been launched in the name of the “War on Terror”. It’s become an almost foregone conclusion that the United States will remain in a perpetual war, despite the fact that, in every election cycle, Presidential candidates promise to withdraw.
Biden makes commitment to end war in Afghanistan on 9/11
Biden joined Obama in the White House right after George W. Bush left office and one of the promises made by Obama was to get out of the Middle East, but he wasn’t able to pull it off. Now, the President seems to have abandoned the slow withdrawal strategies and Biden said that there won’t be any troops in Afghanistan on the 11th of September.
Obama released a statement of his own in support of the President, tweeting “I support [President Biden]’s bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world.”
Will Biden actually withdraw from Afghanistan?
In response to Obama’s statement, Twitter user @besf0rt reminded us all that talk is cheap by digging up an old Tweet.
Let’s not forget that the then-Senator of Delaware, Biden, voted in favour of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002, which means he played an active role in the escalation of the War on Terrorism and America’s de facto permanent occupation of the Middle East. And the duplicitous narrative, that Iraq was housing weapons of mass destruction, that was used to justify America’s invasion – Biden was among 29 Democrats that effectively condoned an illegal, offensive war.
President Biden, granted he’s a million times better than Trump (who also promised to get out of the Middle East and didn’t deliver), is a standard politician, very much beholden to corporate interests, willing to bend the truth and he backtracks on promise after promise. For example, he had set a deadline for May to “strategically withdraw troops”… this is just him pushing that deadline back further, but making a bolder promise. He’s a status quo politician, and the status quo for the United States and the world’s biggest military force (by miles) is perpetual war. So, and I hope that I’m wrong, I wouldn’t expect Afghanistan to find the peace it so desperately needs. I’ll believe it when I see it.