Later this year, as cooler temperatures begin to creep their way across the country in the dead of the night, the United States will pass a somber and telling milestone as we mark two decades having passed since terrorists hijacked planes and used them as weapons back in 2001.
During those harrowing days, President George W. Bush made a difficult choice, sending American troops to the Middle East en masse, with the aim of rooting out the terrorists and their allies at once. The nation would not sit idly by and watch this sort of chaos be conjured again.
But Bush did so understanding that the fight, particularly in Afghanistan, would be a nightmare of a situation. There was no easy fix – not in that nation.
Now, nearly 20 years after those troops arrived, they are preparing to withdraw completely, and former President George W. Bush doesn’t have high hopes for what’s next.
Asked whether the drawdown was a mistake, Bush told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in an interview: “I think it is, yeah. Because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad and sad.”
Bush, whose administration launched the U.S. military invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, specifically cited the plight of Afghan women and girls whom he said could “suffer unspeakable harm” at the hands of the Taliban.
He added more context later in the interview.
Bush expressed similar concern for the fate of thousands of Afghan translators — as well as their families — who aided U.S. and NATO forces throughout the two-decade war effort.
“It seems like they’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people,” Bush said. “And it breaks my heart.”
Unfortunately, the disastrous possibilities have been considered nearly inevitable, with President Biden himself having admitted it likely that the Taliban would overrun the nation once again.