Withdrawing from Afghanistan and ending America’s forever wars was a pillar of Donald Trump’s winning 2016 presidential campaign. Joe Biden took up this mantle in his own successful bid for the presidency in 2020. But the execution of the Biden Administration’s Afghan withdrawal was an unmitigated disaster, with deadly repercussions for US troops and Afghan civilians on the ground.
After 20 long years of sacrifice from our nation’s service members, sadly, Afghanistan was found much the way we found it: with the Taliban in control of Kabul.
In the aftermath of this withdrawal, we set out to understand how our nation’s veterans were reacting to President Biden’s Afghan failures. To do so, we conducted an online survey asking veterans “What Do You Think About the Decision to Withdraw in Afghanistan?”
Respondents had 3 potential answers to choose from:
- I think it’s a good decision.
- I am unsure how I feel about the decision.
- Abandoning Afghanistan is a slap in the face to veterans and active military that have risked and lost their lives in this fight.
This survey ran in 2021 from October until December, soliciting responses through Facebook ads. Approximately 89% of respondents were veterans. The following are the results of the survey:
- 18.8% of respondents believed the Afghanistan withdrawal was a good idea
- 12.5% were unsure how they felt about it
- 68.8% believed it was a slap in the face to vets and service members
The view that the execution of the Afghan war and withdrawal were betrayals to our veterans and troops was further reflected in respondent feedback. One respondent had this to say:
“We wasted 20 years there and accomplished nothing. Afghanistan was never going to anything resembling a democracy. We stayed there 15 years too long.”
On Facebook, another took his criticism a step further, slamming President Biden directly:
“Disgraceful how the withdrawal was handled. Left valuable equipment and weaponry behind that will arm our enemies in future conflicts. A huge waste of taxpayers money. Left Americans behind when (he) said he would not. 13 of our soldiers lost our lives because of Biden’s strategy of withdrawal. He is a weak and incompetent president and destroying our country. So incompetent and should be impeached immediately before he destroys our country…”
The respondents to our survey are not unique in their assessment on Biden’s Afghan withdrawal. A Pew Research survey released on August 31st of last year revealed that 69% of Americans viewed Biden’s Afghan withdrawal as a failure.
Ultimately, our results and the views of veterans who took our survey are reflective of the public outrage over Biden’s infamous Afghan catastrophe.
Image Credit: Photo by Stijn Swinnen on Unsplash