The truth must be told about what took place in Afghanistan, these past twenty years. To explain why it was wrong, and why we were there goes back to the illegal claim of power made by George W. Bush. He ignored the supreme law of the land to suit his own interests. The Constitution States, in article one, section eight, that Congress shall have the power to declare war. Congress did not declare war on Afghanistan, president George W. Bush did. Because of the public outrage, from the bombing on 9/11 fear blinded the majority of the American people, and they didn’t question why they were going to war. They did not know their own Constitution enough to know that no president has that power. However, to fully comprehend what happened, we must go back to the founding fathers. The Founders wanted to stay strategically independent, and uninvolved in other nation’s affairs. George Washinton wrote in the Neutrality Proclamation on April 22, 1793 that,
“…the duty and interest of the United States require that they should with sincerity and good faith adopt and pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerent powers.”
George Washington “Neutrality Proclamation, Philadelphia 22 April 1793
This kind of foreign policy, if followed, would have prevented the majority of the problems we have today with other nations. Our Founding Fathers wrote how they felt and they gave us warnings of what would happen if we meddled in foreign nations. Six years after the war of eighteen twelve, John Quincy Adams remarked, in his speech, “Warning against the search for monsters to destroy” that,
Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit…
John Quincy Adams: “Warning Against the Search for Monsters to Destroy 1821”
The presidents of America have not followed the Founders advice. Because of this, we have deviated seriously from what they originally intended. The most recent example of our deviation was that of our involvement in Afghanistan. President George W. Bush blamed Al qaeda immediately, and without any investigation. He then told congress that we were going to war against terrerism, and boots were on the ground by October 7, 2001, a little less than a month after the bombing on 9/11. He did not have the authority to send troops to Afghanistan. We didn’t know absolutely that Al Qeada was responsible for what happened, but we went to war anyway. It leaves you to wonder why we were so anxious to get into a war that would cost us thousands of lives, and billions of dollars.
The mission was to eliminate Osama bin Laden. Every soldier thought if they went, they would be the one to pull the trigger, and end the war. This took ten years of bloody war, and countless military operations. In 2011, the ten year anniversary of nine eleven, Osama bin Laden, the founder and first leader of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, was killed on May 2, shortly after 1:00 a.m, in the raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.The United States Navy SEALs of the U.S Naval Special Warfare Development Group were responsible for his death. The operation, code-named Operation Neptune Spear, was carried out in a CIA-led operation with Joint Special Operations Command along with other units including the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as “Night Stalkers”. Even though this raid ended the hunt for Osama bin Laden, our military presence continued for another ten years. Countless raids took place, and more deaths ensued on both sides. No matter how many Taliban soldiers the U.S killed there was always another group to go after, and a new threat to neutralize.
There were some efforts to end the war, and on February 29, 2020, in Doha, Qatar, Trump signed an agreement for peace between the United States, and the Taliban. It included guarantees, enforcement mechanisms, and the announcement of a timeline for the complete withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan within fourteen months. The United States and the Taliban were supposed to start intra-Afghan negotiations with Afghan sides on March 10, 2020, but a certain fabricated international crisis interrupted everything. Threats were made by the Taliban, and so violating the contract.
Joe Biden ordered the immediate withdrawal on July 24, 2021 declaring that all military would be out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, the twenty year anniversary. What took place throughout 20 years of war, took less than 10 days to fall to the Taliban, without hardly a shot fired. Afghanistan was given the means to attack other nations, and Joe Biden calls this, “An extraordinary success”. We just armed a large population with an arsenal of lethal weapons. It is estimated that in our hasty, and ill-planned withdrawal, we left over 31,625 pieces of military equipment, that included machine guns, humvees, armored planes and helicopters, grenades, and grenade launchers, including but not limited to, the numerous military bases, and fortifications. The amount of money spent over the years is tremendous. From October 2001 to December 2020 roughly 825bn was spent, with about another 130bn spent on reconstruction projects. In all, the closest estimate comes to 1 trillion dollars.
A full body count of all the US soldiers that lost their lives over the past twenty years is impossible, we just don’t have a precise number. There have been more than 3,900 coalition deaths, of which more than 2,450 have been US soldiers, more than 450 UK troops have died, and a further 20,660 US soldiers have been injured. 3,846 U.S contractors, 444 Aid Workers, Afghan national military 66,000, 51,191 Taliban and other opposition fighters, 1,144 other allied service members including NATO member states, and 72 journalists. We got ourselves involved in a war agaisn’t terrorism, that is explained away by our government officials with the excuse that we were “protectiong our interests”. Was protecting the “interests” of our government worth sacrificing the lives of so many men, and women? Had we followed the advice of our Founders we would not have to deal with the carnage that I have discribed, or the devastating consequences that will inevitably materialize. All we can do is hope and pray for our country.