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Rep Bill Pascrell. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Rep. Bill Pascrell on the fall of Afghanistan

By Bill Pascrell, August 16 2021 5:30 pm

Twenty years is long time. Millions of Americans have lived their entire lives with America at war. The time to leave has arrived.

Whether because of tactical inferiority, poor planning, lack of troop pay, or even outright corruption and treachery, the utter disintegration of the Afghanistan army in the face of the Taliban makes clear that there would never have been a ‘right moment’ to depart the battlefield.

What we are seeing in Afghanistan is a historic tragedy for the Afghan peoples. I weep for them. But America’s initial mission, to root out Al-Qaeda and eliminate a haven for international terrorism, had long past ended. Just as we did not enter Afghanistan alone, we cannot carry the burden by ourselves. We relied on allies to step up and it appears they failed to do so. It is time to leave Afghanistan.

We thank our brave servicemen and women, and the families, for their tremendous sacrifice and dedication over these two difficult decades. Right this moment, our priority must be protecting and rescuing from harm Americans, members of the free press, and any translators or other Afghans and their families who courageously aided our troops and our mission in Afghanistan.

Those who stood beside us cannot now be abandoned. Between paperwork or summary execution, there is no choice and no excuse for the pathetic delays we are seeing. America must be a land of safe harbor for refugees. Welcome these men, women, and children into our arms now.

It is fitting that we are days away from the anniversary of V-J Day. The snapshots of Allied victory in World War II have defined our identity since 1945. That world and that America no longer exist. Wars can no longer be won in such a way and we as a people and government must accept that. Entering military conflict without a clear objective, exit strategy, and understanding of the region’s culture remains a recipe for disaster.

The fall of Afghanistan should chill us. These images we watch today must be warnings tomorrow. What we do now is not just for posterity but must guide our nation for generations to come.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. represents New Jersey’s 9th district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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