In spite of all of the hand-wringing, weeping and gnashing of teeth by television pundits, the last service member has left Afghanistan, ending the war. President Joe Biden deserves the credit for being willing to take the criticism and angst while putting an end to a war that should have ended years before.
In a statement, Biden wrote:
I want to thank our commanders and the men and women serving under them for their execution of the dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as scheduled – in the early morning hours of August 31st, Kabul time – with no further loss of American lives. The past 17 days have seen our troops execute the largest airlift in US history, evacuating over 120,000 US citizens, citizens of our allies, and Afghan allies of the United States. They have done it with unmatched courage, professionalism, and resolve. Now, our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.
At last. And let's not pretend this withdrawal shouldn't have been done, or shouldn't have involved negotiations with the Taliban. Joe Biden faced down the Pentagon's hungry gaze and did the right thing anyway.
Biden also called for Americans to pray for three things:
For now, I urge all Americans to join me in grateful prayer tonight for three things. First, for our troops and diplomats who carried out this mission of mercy in Kabul and at tremendous risk with such unparalleled results: an airlift that evacuated tens of thousands more people than any imagined possible. Second, to the network of volunteers and veterans who helped identify those needing evacuation, guide them to the airport, and provide support along the way. And third, to everyone who is now – and who will – welcome our Afghan allies to their new homes around the world, and in the United States.
Biden will address the nation tomorrow on the decision to withdraw and the end of the war. Let's close the book on this misbegotten war and start nation-building here at home.