Withdrawing From Afghanistan Is a Courageous Step. Here’s What Must Come Next By Bernie Sanders and Ro Khanna

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      We’ve been sending brave service members — many of whom were just children, or weren’t even born, when the United States first invaded — to fight a mission that long ago strayed from its original purpose. Our veterans know this better than most. A poll from the right-leaning Concerned Veterans for America showed that 67 percent of veterans support a complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. A recent letter from a coalition of veterans’ groups urged Biden to “honor the sacrifices our troops and their families are willing to make on America’s behalf by not asking our women and men in uniform to remain entangled in a conflict with no clear military mission or path to victory.”

      Continuing the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan out of fear that the government might be overrun by the Taliban is the same mind-set that has bogged us down for two decades. If this problem could be solved militarily, it would have been done before now. Withdrawing our troops will allow the United States to refocus on diplomacy as our foreign policy tool of first resort, a key Biden campaign promise. With that in mind, the United States must make it a top diplomatic priority to promote protection for women in Afghanistan. The best way to do that is to ensure they have a seat at the negotiating table, including in continued engagement with the Taliban. We should also use our leverage with other countries to channel their aid to Afghanistan in ways that involve women and young people in the peace process and promote protections for women and girls, as well as other human rights reforms.

      Broad inclusion of civil society is essential to ending a conflict in which the most vulnerable civilians continue to be killed. The United States and its partners should coordinate closely with Afghan civil society to increase robust economic development and humanitarian assistance programs, and to help stamp out the corruption that feeds extremism. While our military intervention will end, we must strengthen our commitment to helping Afghans build a better future.

      Executing a responsible and comprehensive withdrawal from Afghanistan is an essential first step toward Biden fulfilling his commitment to end “forever wars.” But more work must be done. Most urgently, the United States must use every ounce of its leverage to press Saudi Arabia to end its war of attrition and its blockade against Yemen, where the United Nations warns that 400,000 children could die of starvation this year without immediate action. We must also draw down U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria, rein in the use of drones and other airstrikes, and begin a much more robust debate about whether the worldwide network of U.S. military bases is necessary for our national security. And we must follow through on rejoining the Iran nuclear agreement and promote a broader Middle East regional dialogue to de-escalate conflicts.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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