Originally published in the Chicago Tribune.
As 2018 wound down, President Donald Trump reminded his Twitter followers of one of his most solemn promises. “I campaigned against the NEVER ENDING WARS, remember!” The tweet sought to address criticism of his sudden decision to pull US troops out of Syria. But the real target may well have been the longest of America’s “never-ending” wars — the conflict in Afghanistan.
Lost amid the fallout from Trump’s Syria decision were reports that the commander in chief had also decided to withdraw half of the 14,000 US troops deployed in Afghanistan. While a White House spokesperson later denied the report, there is no doubt that the president would like to end America’s involvement in Afghanistan sooner rather than later.
On this, Trump is right—more so than the many generals and other national security officials who for many years have argued that staying just a little longer, deploying just a few more troops and using just a little more force will guarantee ultimate success in what is by now America’s longest war ever.
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