SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — President Joe Biden says he stands by his call for the U.S. to leave Afghanistan.
“I cannot and will not ask our troops to fight on endlessly, another in another country’s civil war, taking casualties, suffering life-shattering injuries, leaving families broken by grief and loss,” Biden said. “This is not in our national security interest.”
The Taliban taking control of Afghanistan doesn’t come as a shock for Lynn Hartsell, a retired two-star general who lives in rural Lincoln County, South Dakota.
“Well, not surprising at all, Dan,” Hartsell said. “I mean, in my mind a blind guy could have seen that coming pretty quick.”
He says it is a mistake for the United States to leave.
“You give up your influence in the region, you give up all your assets, you gave up all your capabilities, your intelligence platforms,” Hartsell said. “And we can’t forget the fact that this war on terror, it’s here to stay. It’s a long-term with no end in sight. And it’s not just one leg. It’s not just Afghanistan. It’s Iraq, it’s Iran, it’s Syria.”
A coalition led by the United States started its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
“There’s a thought process of some of the leaders that say, you know we’ve been there 20 years, it’s time to come out, it’s a long war,” Hartsell said. “I think that’s a terrible argument. Look at where we’ve been for many, many years. We’ve been in Germany since the end of World War II.”
Hartsell says the United States has not heeded history’s lessons. KELOLAND News asked him why the events unfolding now in Afghanistan deserve attention here in the United States.
“About 20 years ago, we had 9/11,” Hartsell said. “And if we cease to have influence in those parts of the world where terrorists recruit, train, plan, organize and prepare for attacks against American people on American soil, if we refuse to have influence in those areas, it may very well happen again. That’s the reason.”