By John Kanelis / firstname.lastname@example.org
It is with guarded optimism — with the emphasis on “guarded” — that I welcome the pending end of our nation’s longest war as announced today by President Biden.
The president today declared his intention to have all U.S. combat troops removed from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 20 years after what has been called simply “9/11.”
Terrorists hijacked jetliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on that horrific day. A fourth jetliner became the scene of a fight between heroic passengers and terrorists and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. We went to war that day.
Joe Biden today, in effect, declared a form of “victory” in our fight against international terrorism. He wants to end our combat involvement in Afghanistan, where the Taliban gave safe harbor to al-Qaeda terrorists, enabling them to plot and execute the ghastly terrorist attack that drew us into the longest conflict in our nation’s history.
At roughly the halfway point in that struggle, our special forces killed the 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.
To be sure, the terror threat cannot possibly be extinguished ever. It was there all along, prior to 9/11 and afterward. Indeed, President Biden today acknowledged that threat and vowed to deploy all available counter- and anti-terrorist strategies to protect us against further attacks.
I hope with all my heart that he succeeds in this effort. I no longer want to send our young men and women into battle. That doesn’t mean, though, that we ever let our guard down against threats such as what befell us on 9/11.
I remain dubious that the Taliban can be trusted as a negotiating partner. Thus, it is imperative that we keep our military on the highest level of preparedness moving past the date set for our withdrawal from the Afghan battlefield.
Joe Biden reminded us that four U.S. presidents — George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Biden — all have dealt with this conflict. President Biden vowed today he wouldn’t hand it to a fifth commander in chief.
I want to applaud this decision. However, I will hold off on that hand-clapping when we can know for certain that we have ended forever the threats of violence that can come at a moment’s notice.