Nearly two full decades into the Afghanistan War, with just a month left before the United States under President Trump had agreed to withdraw its remaining troops from Afghanistan at long last, it seems Joe Biden is going to backtrack on his predecessor’s promise. At his first press conference as U.S. president, Biden stated, “It’s going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline,” citing “tactical” and safety concerns regarding the 2,500 soldiers left on the ground in Afghanistan. Maj. Danny Sjursen, a historian and veteran of America’s two longest wars, joins Robert Scheer on this week’s installment of “Scheer Intelligence” to discuss what he thinks about Biden’s possible delay and what this will mean to Afghanistan’s people and the American soldiers in the region.
Sjursen, who graduated from West Point and taught there, is the author of several books, including most recently “Patriotic Dissent,” suspects that the main motivation behind the hesitation to withdraw by the Biden Administration and its liberal allies in corporate media and think tanks is, put simply, that the deal to pull out was negotiated by Donald Trump. Liberal distaste for the former president seems to be fueling decisions, the veteran argues, that will cost many lives. It also reveals just how powerful the military industrial complex continues to be despite the change in the White House. The military historian lists the warmongers pulling strings in D.C. who have ties to Lockheed Martin and other defense contractors that make billions off of bloodshed. Most egregiously, Sjursen highlights that it’s not just the lives that are lost in Afghanistan that make up the cost of these ongoing conflicts, but, as President Dwight D. Eisenhower once powerfully said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone.”
While many on the left, including Sjursen and Scheer, had tentatively hoped that a Democratic president hailed as newly progressive would take the country off its perpetual military collision course, the two caution that liberals can also prove dangerous when it comes to foreign policy.
“Is it always going to be this way?” asks Scheer, expressing his concern that the Democrats are “trying to pick a fight” with Russia and China--conflicts that would have a devastating impact on the entire world.
“My greatest fear is that it’s the Democrats that get us into a great power conflict,” responds Sjursen, “[because] they have banged the drum about Russia and Trump for so long, [as well as] trying to out-Trump Trump on China.” The retired major goes on to pinpoint where he believes the most dangerous conflict could start as well as outline why, although he thinks neoconservatives have done abominable things, he is extremely wary of some of the cold war liberals in the Biden Administration--including Jake Sullivan, whom he’s written about for ScheerPost. Listen to the full discussion between Sjursen and Scheer as the two consider the new president’s foreign policy direction and try to predict what Biden will do in Afghanistan based on the people he surrounds himself with and his mixed record as a long-serving statesman.