CTM News - 16 July 2021
Bush and Trump Administration Former national security adviser John Bolton insisted on Friday that the United States of America had not lost the war in Afghanistan while criticizing President Joe Biden’s order for a full military withdrawal from the country.
John Bolton's comments came on the day President Joe Biden announced his decision to fully withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31. The military handed over control of Bagram Airfield to Afghan security forces last week, signaling an end to its combat role in the region.
"I do think that public opinion has turned against this war and I blame it squarely on our political leadership for at least the last 12 years," Bolton told Chuck Todd, host of NBC News' "Meet the Press." "We have not had presidents who articulated clearly the reason why we were there."
In a White House address last Thursday, Biden announced that the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be completed by Aug. 31, ahead of his self-imposed deadline of Sept. 11. Gen. Scott Miller, the top American general in Afghanistan, departed the country on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Taliban has continued to make rapid gains across Afghanistan, claiming last Friday that it had seized 85 percent of the country’s territory. Western officials have warned that the U.S.-backed Afghan government in Kabul could soon fall.
John Bolton, who clashed with Former President Trump over inviting the Taliban to Camp David for negotiations, told Todd that Biden, Trump, and former President Barack Obama had a responsibility to establish a deadline for the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
"I think if our political leadership had explained the nature of the mission — recognizing it was protracted — the American people would have understood it. That's how the American people understood the protracted nature of the American deployments in Germany and Japan to win the Cold War, which we did. And in fact, our troops are still there," John Bolton said.
John Bolton described Former President Bush’s comments as “something really remarkable,” especially given the former president’s preference for avoiding public criticism of his successors.
“It’s how former presidents ought to behave. He’s tried to stay out of politics, and it’s been very rare when he’s come forward and said anything like the passage you just showed,” John Bolton said, referring to Bush’s interview.
John Bolton also predicted that if the Taliban succeeds in toppling the Afghan government, “the hand of the extremists in Pakistan will be strengthened, and the risk of a Pakistani Taliban takeover of that government increases substantially.”