President Biden Defends Afghanistan Decision: 'I Will Not Repeat The Mistakes We’ve Made In The Past'

News & Politics
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Damir Mujezinovic

President Joe Biden held on Monday a press conference to discuss his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.

Biden conceded that the Taliban are taking over the country faster than expected, but nonetheless stood by his decision -- which was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans -- to end America's involvement in the war.

Biden's predecessors, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, both signaled a willingness to end the foreign engagement, but never followed through.

Biden's move marks a major turn in U.S. foreign policy.

Here's what he said.

Watch The Press Conference Below

"I stand squarely behind my decision," Biden told reporters in the East Room of the White House, as reported by The Hill.

"I will not mislead the American people by claiming that just a little more time in Afghanistan will make all the difference. Nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here."

"I am the president of the United States of America and the buck stops with me," Biden stressed.

'I Will Not Repeat The Mistakes We've Made In The Past'

Conceding that the situation in Afghanistan is "messy," because the Taliban took over the government in just a few days, Biden said that he simply had to make a choice his predecessors repeatedly refused to make.

Biden then took a shot at the Afghan government, asking "How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not?"

"I will not repeat the mistakes we’ve made in the past, the mistake of staying and fighting indefinitely in a conflict that is not in the national interest of the United States," he said.

Criticism

Though both Democratic and Republican politicians tend to criticize military interventions, many condemned ​Biden for seeking to end America's longest war.

In a statement last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that "terrorists and major competitors like China are watching the embarrassment of a superpower laid low."

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott, meanwhile, urged Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to launch an investigation into Biden.

He also floated using the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove the commander-in-chief from office.

Polls

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Polling suggests that the American public is split on Afghanistan.

In a Gallup survey that was released in July -- after Biden confirmed that the U.S. is pulling troops -- 47 percent of respondents said military involvement in Afghanistan was a mistake, while 46 percent said it was not.

Support for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has gradually decreased over the years. It was at its peak in 2002, when 93 percent of Americans supported it.

There are some partisan differences, with Democrats being more likely than Republicans to oppose the Afghanistan war.

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