What’s Left: U.S. Withdrawal From Afghanistan Is First Step Towards International Peace and Reasonable Government Spending

Reagan Whittle, Contributing Writer

Decades of unnecessary intervention based on unwarranted claims of domestic threat or unjustified notions of ideological righteousness have left the United States and the regions it has wrongly, if at the best of times misguidedly at the worst intentionally and aware of the consequences, planted American boots in has resulted in trillions of unnecessary spending, countless combatant and civilian lives lost and more steps backward than forward. There are obviously concerns about withdrawal from a state like Afghanistan; human rights abuses, greater instability and conflict and the usurpation of the government by the Taliban appear imminent. An indefinite presence of American and NATO troops does not appear to be a way of preventing these inevitabilities and given that almost twenty years of United States military intervention has not resulted in the desired outcome of a secure, democratic Afghan state, regardless of the numbers and extent of combatants and weaponry available, continuing this pursuit appears a wasteful gesture of futility. 

According to the Department of Defense, in 2019 military spending totaled $550.9 billion dollars. As a point of comparison, Bloomberg notes that it would cost about $300 billion to stop greenhouse gases and provide us with an additional twenty years to curb global warming. The war in Afghanistan specifically costs U.S. taxpayers around $10 billion annually. Even if one wishes to continue fueling the sinister behemoth that is the military industrial complex, there are far better places to be directing defense spending. According to the staff members of the Biden administration interviewed by The Washington Post, nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran, increasing aggression from Russia and military expansion within China, pose far greater threats to international stability, and as far as domestic concerns, Syria, Yemen and Somalia pose far greater threats for funding terrorism within the U.S. than Afghanistan. Not to mention that United State military intervention has shown time and again to only exacerbate anti-American sentiments and propensities for communities abroad to become antagonists toward this country, often justifiably. Military spending should be reduced, but when it is spent it should be directed toward legitimate threats and objectives, not senseless prolongation out of fear of instability. 

According to The Washington Post, approximately 100,000 Afghanistan civilians have been killed or injured during America’s longest war. While the withdrawal of NATO and American troops may lead to increased violence and disruption in the short-term, it is hoped the civil war within this state will eventually ease. America will still pursue humanitarian ventures, provide funding and aid and attempt to help coordinate peace talks between opposing forces within Afghanistan. Hopefully this will be an important step guiding the United States away from its self-proclaimed role as the globe’s police force and that our military and bureaucracy have finally learned what they should have from Vietnam generations ago. Intervention is not the solution.