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Biden Gives Passionate Anti-War Speech on ‘Ending an Era’

Aug. 31, 2021 (EIRNS)—President Joe Biden today did far more than announce the end of the 20 years of war in Afghanistan—he announced the “ending of an era”—his words—reflecting those of Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who has posed that the lesson of Afghanistan is the utter failure of the “regime change” era launched by Tony Blair in 1999, and called for a new paradigm for mankind. While Biden did not go that far, it was close.

“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” he said. “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.” Clearly, if the President means this—and he spoke with passion—it will require both the end of the other “forever wars” which still rage in Southwest Asia, and certainly means ending the drive for war with Russia and China being orchestrated by the British Empire and its stooges in the U.S.

On war itself, Biden said:

“After 20 years of war in Afghanistan, I refused to send another generation of America’s sons and daughters to fight a war that should have ended long ago.

“After more than $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan—a cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over $300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan—for two decades—yes, the American people should hear this: $300 million a day for two decades.....

“And most of all, after 800,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan—I’ve traveled that whole country—brave and honorable service; after 20,744 American servicemen and women injured, and the loss of 2,461 American personnel, including 13 lives lost just this week, I refused to open another decade of warfare in Afghanistan. We’ve been a nation too long at war. If you’re 20 years old today, you have never known an America at peace.

“So, when I hear that we could’ve, should’ve continued the so-called low-grade effort in Afghanistan, at low risk to our service members, at low cost, I don’t think enough people understand how much we have asked of the 1% of this country who put that uniform on, who are willing to put their lives on the line in defense of our nation.

“Maybe it’s because my deceased son, Beau, served in Iraq for a full year, before that.  Well, maybe it’s because of what I’ve seen over the years as senator, vice president, and president traveling these countries.

“A lot of our veterans and their families have gone through hell—deployment after deployment, months and years away from their families; missed birthdays, anniversaries; empty chairs at holidays; financial struggles; divorces; loss of limbs; traumatic brain injury; post-traumatic stress.

“We see it in the struggles many have when they come home.  We see it in the strain on their families and caregivers.  We see it in the strain of their families when they’re not there.  We see it in the grief borne by their survivors.  The cost of war they will carry with them their whole lives.

“Most tragically, we see it in the shocking and stunning statistic that should give pause to anyone who thinks war can ever be low-grade, low-risk, or low-cost: 18 veterans, on average, who die by suicide every single day in America—not in a far-off place, but right here in America.

“There’s nothing low-grade or low-risk or low-cost about any war.  It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan.”

He said the invasion of Afghanistan had been a counter-terror operation, but we saw it “morph into a counterinsurgency, nation building—trying to create a democratic, cohesive, and unified Afghanistan—something that has never been done over the many centuries of Afghanistan’s history.

“Moving on from that mindset and those kind of large-scale troop deployments will make us stronger and more effective and safer at home.”

He pledged continued support for the Afghan people, especially the women and girls in Afghanistan and elsewhere, adding: “But the way to do that is not through endless military deployments, but through diplomacy, economic tools, and rallying the rest of the world for support.” This was, unfortunately, his only reference to development.

He insisted that the evacuation was an “extraordinary success,” getting 120,000 people out in such a short time, and that it would have been chaotic whether it were done earlier or later. He said the process will continue with cooperation from the Taliban if they stick to their word, and assured his audience that the terrorists, in Afghanistan or anywhere else, could be fought “over the horizon,” with few or no troops on the ground.

He concluded:

“As we close 20 years of war and strife and pain and sacrifice, it’s time to look to the future, not the past—to a future that’s safer, to a future that’s more secure, to a future that honors those who served and all those who gave what President Lincoln called their ‘last full measure of devotion.’

“I give you my word: With all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision, and the best decision for America.”

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