As the Afghanistan war approached its 2oth anniversary, many Americans were eager to see its conclusion and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.
The chaos that has erupted in the region over the past several weeks, however, is leading some hawkish Republicans to argue that America’s intervention in Afghanistan should continue.
“A cauldron for radical Islamic behavior”
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), for example, recently said that the U.S. military will soon be required to re-invade Afghanistan following a war that claimed roughly 2,500 American lives and cost trillions of taxpayer dollars.
Despite the fact that many of the 13 service members killed in a recent terror bombing at the Kabul airport were just toddlers when the war began under former President George W. Bush, Graham and others see a reason for it to continue in some form.
In order to prevent Afghanistan from becoming “a cauldron for radical Islamic behavior,” Graham asserted that the U.S. will “have to” once again put military boots on the ground in the war-torn nation currently under Taliban control.
His rationale echos that of GOP proponents of the U.S. occupation in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
In reference to a future invasion, Graham said: “Will have to. Because the threat will be so large.”
“Make us all sick to our stomach”
Without U.S. intervention, the South Carolina Republican warned that Afghanistan would become a “safe haven” for al-Qaeda. He also implied that America should continue its ultimately failed effort to westernize Afghanistan through military force.
According to Graham, the Taliban “are going to impose a lifestyle on the Afghan people” that he believes will “make us all sick to our stomach.”
Despite the Taliban’s recent and rapid return to power in Afghanistan, the senator claimed that the group is “hated by the Afghan people” and that a “resistance” backed up by American troops could result in a decisive victory.
Although President Joe Biden’s troop withdrawal has widely been seen as a failure, many Americans agreed with his decision to end the nation’s longest war by pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.
For Graham, however, the tragic end of America’s doomed effort to turn Afghanistan into a Western democracy simply means that the United States has not tried hard enough.