OnPolitics: The war in Afghanistan will come to an end

Happy Hump Day OnPolitics readers!

In yesterday’s newsletter, I mentioned that President Joe Biden planned to withdraw all military forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20-year anniversary of the attacks that triggered the conflict.

Today, the president made it official in a speech from the White House Treaty Room: “It is time for American troops to come home.” So, how are politicians reacting to this big news? 

It’s Mabinty, with the news of the day. Let’s get it. 

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Ending America’s longest war

During his speech, Biden said the U.S. has accomplished its main objective of ensuring Afghanistan won’t remain a base from which terrorists can attack again.

“I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan – two Republicans, two Democrats,” the president said. “I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”

Biden said the U.S. must shift its focus to target terrorism threats that have expanded globally beyond just Afghanistan. 

How are politicians reacting to this news?

Biden drew swift support and harsh warnings from politicians in both parties for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan:

  • On the Republican side, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “a grave mistake.” Sen. Lindsey Graham called the withdrawal “a disaster in the making” and “so irresponsible, it makes the Biden Administration policies at the border look sound.”
  • And from some Democrats, an agreement: “We’ve got to be able to assure the world and the American public that Afghanistan will not be a source of planning, plotting to project terrorist attacks around the globe,” said Sen. Jack Reed, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, last month. “That’s the minimum. I’m not sure we can do that without some presence there.” 

A chain’s heavy symbolism

Sgt. Bruce Weaver was at officer candidate training when he was allegedly ordered to wear a heavy chain as discipline in what an investigator called “the most humiliating punishment imaginable to use against an African-American cadet,” according to interviews, photographs and documents obtained by USA TODAY. 

“At first, my inclination was to drag it,” Weaver said of the chain. “They said, ‘No, no. You wear it. That will keep you down.’ That hit me. That hit me. I suppressed it and kept going.”

The National Guard Bureau, in a scathing report, substantiated 11 complaints of discrimination and one of harassment lodged by Weaver against the Maryland National Guard. The bureau’s investigator scoffed at the claim by the Maryland instructors that the chain represented the importance of the “chain of command,” the military edict to follow orders of superiors.

The report calls this a mischaracterization of the punishment carried out on a Black officer by an all-white chain of command.

  • Related: The National Guard welcomes and promotes women. That is, until they report a sexual assault.

More news to know: 

  • Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during Jan. 6 riot will not face charges, DOJ says
  • Kristen Clarke, Biden’s pick for top civil rights job,tells senators about her own son
  • ‘Call me when you’re an American’: Noem says South Dakota won’t help manage border crisis
  • Proud Boys leader pleads not guilty to six Capitol riot charges;calls police ‘turncoats’

I hope April showers bring you May flowers 💐 —Mabinty 

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