WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s announcement to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 has created bipartisan responses, both for an against, from the U.S. Congress.
Maybe the strangest bedfellow for Biden is the decision aligns with former President Donald Trump, who made it a campaign promise to end the war. However, as JD Washington wrote for the Liberty Loft, Biden’s plan extends the American troop presence over four months as Trump promised a troop withdrawal by May 1.
At the White House on Wednesday, Biden said: “War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking…. I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan.”
Several Senate Republicans agreed with the decision, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Hawley preferred the timeframe set by Trump for withdrawal but said it was “better late than never” and “it’s time for this forever war to end.”
Paul offered similar sentiments to Hawley when he tweeted: “It’s great when we can find places to agree. I’m grateful President Biden is keeping President Trump’s plan to leave Afghanistan, even with a delay until fall. The time to bring our troops home is now or as soon as possible. Enough endless wars.”
However, members of the neocon-wing of the GOP oppose the decision.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who chairs the House Republican Conference, has clashed with Paul and the liberty-wing of the Republican Party in the past. Speaking to Fox News about Biden’s announcement, Cheney said: “I think it’s a really reckless decision. And I think that you don’t end wars by announcing that you’re leaving. What you do is you cede the ground to your enemy.”
Other Republicans opposed the decision including Sen. Mitch McConnel of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader, who called it a “grave mistake” and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who called it “dumber than dirt.”
Democrats are also split on the decision. Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who chairs the armed services committee, told a gaggle of reporters that America needs “to maintain a presence for regional stability.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire released a statement saying she was “very disappointed” in Biden.
However, Sen. Tim Kaine of West Virginia released a statement in support of the decision: “The U.S. went into Afghanistan in 2001 to defeat those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11. It took us 10 years to find and kill Osama bin Laden. We stayed an additional 10 years to help train Afghan security forces and create conditions for a more stable future in that country. It is now time to bring our troops home, maintain humanitarian and diplomatic support for a partner nation, and refocus American national security on the most pressing challenges we face.”
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