Being Right: Maintaining U.S. Military Presence Is A Means For Maintaining Peace in the Global Community

Marc Moreira, Staff Writer

During his administration, much of the criticism of President Trump was that his erratic behavior gave the inclination that foreign countries and entities could not trust the United States to keep its word in future agreements. Yet, President Biden has failed to maintain a commitment that was signed by the Trump Administration by not adhering to the May 1 deadline to withdraw troops. Instead, President Biden has said that, due to logistical reasons, the deadline had to be extended to Sept. 11, 20 years after the initial attack that saw the catalyst for the United States presence in Afghanistan. President Biden had the full authority to change federal policy from the Trump administration. However, it is incredibly hypocritical for the President to criticize the actions of his predecessor that he himself is engaging in. Furthermore, the plurality of Americans are in support of the presence of military troops in Afghanistan. Although the decision to negotiate with the Taliban and to withdraw troops was made in haste, the reality is that an agreement has been made and the United States should maintain its agreement.

Part of the issue that arises when discussing the presence of United States troops in Afghanistan is the role of the United States military. The reality is that the majority of Americans believe that the United States should either maintain funding at its current level or increase it. Only 28% of Americans believe that the United States should cut the military budgets. A strong military presence is seen through the maintenance of 800 military bases across 70 countries. Reagan instilled the idea of “peace through strength” and without a doubt, this mantra has kept the United States strong and safe. This goes to show that Americans believe that the United States should maintain its presence in Afghanistan since it would be consistent with the current budget. 

There is a strong consensus among military leaders that Afghanistan lacks the military support to maintain peace if the United States were to withdraw and the logistical support. When the United States left the Dawood National Military Hospital for the Afghans to operate, the results were abysmal. The “rampant corruption, physical abuse, and lack of accountability” were all listed as commonplace in a 2012 Congressional Review of the hospital. If the Afghans lack the logistical support to monitor and operate a hospital, how could one expect the Afghan Government to support its citizens? 

The issue is not whether or not the United States should remain in Afghanistan, the issue is the role that the United States military should have in the global community. The involvement of United States troops in Afghanistan has not been flawless and has been mired by thousands of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars in cost. Yet, the cost of maintaining a presence in the Afghanistan war outweighs the power vacuum that the Taliban would fill if the United States were to leave the region. There was bipartisan criticism when President Trump negotiated the May 1st deadline and there continues to be one now that President Biden is steadfast in keeping the withdrawal but extending it to September 11, 2021. Withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is one of the few issues that President Biden and President Trump agreed on. At the very least, for the sake of bipartisanship, President Biden should have kept the same timeline.