Former President George W. Bush on Tuesday warned that President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all American troops from Afghanistan could hurt women and girls if the “brutal” Taliban returns to power.
“My first reaction was, wow, these girls are going to have real trouble with the Taliban,” Bush said on NBC’s “Today.” “A lot of gains have been made, and so I’m deeply concerned about the plight of women and girls in that country.”
“I think the administration hopes that the girls are going be OK through diplomacy. We’ll find out. All I know is the Taliban, when they had the run of the place, they were brutal,” Bush said.
The Republican has been making public appearances to hawk his new book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.”
The war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, less than a month after the September 11 attacks. But despite campaign pledges by Barack Obama in his first run for the White House — as well as Donald Trump — neither ever fully withdrew U.S. troops from the war-torn nation. The war has cost more than $2.2 trillion, according to one analysis conducted by Brown University’s Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs.
Biden said last week that the events of 9/11 “cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.”
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result,” Biden said.
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said, noting that service members now serving in Afghanistan had parents who served in the same war.
“We were attacked,” the president said in his 16-minute speech. “We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives,” he said. “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for withdrawal, and expecting a different result.”
“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan — Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth,” said Biden, noting that it has become the “forever war.”
Biden said he spoke to Bush before announcing the move.
“I spoke yesterday with President Bush to inform him of my decision,” Biden said. “While he and I have had many disagreements over policy throughout the years, we’re absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, the courage, and integrity of the women and men in the United States Armed Forces who served, and immensely grateful for the bravery and backbone they have shown through nearly two decades of combat deployments.”
The president also said Obama, who issued his own statement on the matter Wednesday, supported the withdrawal.
But other Republicans countered with fiery rhetoric, with one U.S. senator saying the withdrawal could lead to another 9-11.
“With all due respect to President Biden, you have not ended the war, you’ve extended it,” the South Carolina Republican said during a Capitol Hill press conference. “You have made it bigger, not smaller.”
“The likelihood of this happening again is going through the roof after President Biden’s decision today,” Graham said. “He’s setting Afghanistan on a path to deteriorate rather quickly and for the enemy, radical Islam, to reconstitute. It can all be avoided with a minimal commitment compared to the past.”
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.