WASHINGTON– In advance of Secretary Antony Blinken’s testimony to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, authored a powerful new op-ed for Crooked Media making the case for why critics of President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan are dangerously wrong.
On the fantasy that a smooth withdrawal from Afghanistan was possible or that the Biden administration could have prevented chaos following the Afghan government’s quick collapse, Murphy said: “[T]he idea that the United States of America, a country located on the other side of the world from Kabul, could manage this unexpected collapse in a way that did not create panic and confusion, or be able to evacuate and find a home outside of the country for every Afghan that wanted to leave, is magical thinking.”
Murphy continued: “But again, the question is whether the goal––efficient, hassle-free management of a mad rush to the airport amidst a city controlled by Kalashnikov-wielding religious extremists––was achievable. I would argue, strongly, that it was not.”
Murphy also called out the hypocrisy of Republicans: “[M]ost unforgivably, many of the Republican ‘leave nobody behind’ crowd are also part the xenophobic ‘keep all immigrants out’ crowd. They want all the Afghan women to be evacuated but want none of them to proceed any further than an airplane hangar in Qatar.”
On critics who argue the U.S. needed to stay in Afghanistan to “execute better” and “finish the job” of molding an Afghan government in our own image, Murphy said: “But if we couldn't accomplish that goal in 20 years — the longest U.S. war in history—why on earth would things change after another five or ten?...[T]o the extent there is a broader lesson to be learned, it is a relatively simple one: military adventurism, as a means to remake a country in a far off place very different from America, is almost always a bad idea that cannot be set right by better design. There are all sorts of different projects—like contesting Chinese expansionism, or giving non-military aid to organic local democracy movements, or being a force for economic empowerment in the developing world—that are at the same time difficult and achievable and good for American security.”
Murphy concluded: “The greatest benefit for the United States is that the energy and money and manpower that has been devoted to a failing mission in Afghanistan over the past twenty years can now be directed toward these more achievable and worthwhile goals. But only if we cure ourselves of the ‘execute-better’ mentality connected to military intervention, so America never again gets distracted from achievable goals by another impossible Afghanistan-like mission.”
Murphy joined CNN International’s Amanpour with Christiane Amanpour to discuss the United States’ role in the world following the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the reactions of world leaders during his CODEL to Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Tunisia and Greece.
Murphy also authored an op-ed in USA Today in support of President Biden’s decision to end the longest war in our nation’s history and released a statement after the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul. Murphy delivered remarks on the Senate floor on the situation in Afghanistan. Murphy has long been supportive of President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
You can read the full op-ed here.