Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA senior operations officer, told Politico late Wednesday he considered the “precipitous and what appears to be near total withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan” as ”reckless.” Views like those shared by Mr. Polymeropoulos do not stand up to even cursory scrutiny.
At the most fundamental level, it is difficult to consider a withdrawal from Afghanistan—after more than 19 years—“precipitous” in any definition of the word. Since an agreement signed between the United States and the Taliban in February of this year, Mr. Trump has been clear about his intention to withdraw all our troops. Last May, The New York Times reported the Pentagon was drafting plans to have all the troops out by May 2021. Accelerating the plan by four months—again, after almost two decades of far-from-successful war—is hardly “precipitous.”
Moreover, there seems to be much consternation among many of these same experts that Mr. Trump is trying “to impose his will” on the generals in requiring a quicker exit. This argument itself should be a sign of concern. Let us be clear: the U.S. Constitution provides that civilians run the military. Article II designates the president as the commander in chief and therefore the generals are obligated to execute his orders.
Top military brass should be counted on to provide advice and recommendations, but once the commander in chief gives a legal order, it is incumbent on the generals to execute, not question the directives. It is also important to note that our elected leaders and military officers exist to serve the interests and will of the American people. Large majorities of the American population and even larger percentages of veterans support Mr. Trump’s desire to withdraw; even 60% of Biden voters favor withdrawal.
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