The fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, to elements of the Taliban has resurfaced memories in America of former President George W. Bush’s record.
It was Bush who first decided to invade Afghanistan in 2001 in the wake of the Al Qaeda attack on The World Trade Center and the Pentagon. At that moment, Bush told the nation that the invasion was underway to avenge the thousands of lives lost.
But at that time, as later reports subsequently revealed, Bush was more interested in pulling of the invasion of Iraq.
Soon after US forces invaded Afghanistan and had difficulty finding Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda fighters, Bush chose to devote resources to the invasion of Iraq rather than securing the terrorists.
Bin Laden was left to move around the Middle East for another decade, only meeting his end in 2011 after President Barack Obama gave the green light to the mission that killed him.
As Bush prepared for war in Iraq, he began to talk up the idea of turning Afghanistan into a western-style democracy. Over the years, despite experts and facts on the ground showing such a thing was unlikely, Bush pursued the goal and subsequent presidencies – Obama, Trump – continued to keep American soldiers in Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden is the one who decided to stop the series of events that began with Bush’s decision to invade, and now Americans will no longer be asked to sacrifice lives in exchange for such poorly defined goals.
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