Biden has announced that the U.S. military will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the attacks on the Pentagon and New York’s World Trade Center. Does this mean that the U.S. government is no longer policing the world? No. It just means that it took 20 years for the U.S. government to admit that it was losing another war.
More than 2,300 U.S. military personnel have reportedly died in the U.S. war effort there. Some estimates say that close to 50,000 Afghan civilians have died and, of course, millions have had their lives ruined in many horrible ways by the war. The peak of the war for the US came when there were over 100,000 troops in Afghanistan during the Obama-Biden administration.
Biden announced the 9/11 withdrawal deadline as if it were important to celebrate. It can’t be coincidence that he chose that date. The logistics of getting a few thousand troops out and bases dismantled in five months could have taken less time if that’s what they wanted. But Biden wanted to wrap it up with a ribbon signaling the end of an era to the day. This symbolism is disgusting. We should mourn those who died on 9/11 along with all the Iraqis and Afghans and others who have died because of the U.S. government’s military adventures in the Middle East, all undertaken to keep the region safe for the big oil companies.
And it’s not as if the Biden administration is demobilizing the U.S. military presence in the Middle East and South Asia. They are doing their strategic planning to prepare for war with Iran and even China. Biden’s first annual military budget proposal as president calls for a slight increase in Pentagon spending with some signs that a big chunk of it will go to increasing U.S. naval presence in South Asia. This is not the budget of a peacemaker. It signals some change of strategy, but does not change the overall objective of keeping the world open for U.S. capitalists’ exploitation of other nations’ workers, markets, and natural resources.