A Perfectly Predictable Outcome; A Strategic Blunder

Perfectly predictable! Once again, we walk away, leaving a nation dependent upon the strength of the U.S. to fend for itself; the outcome was predictable, Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming a failed state again. Optimizing force levels around the globe is a continual assessment. Throughout the past 20 years, U.S. force levels in Afghanistan ebbed and flowed as the mission changed. The U.S. desired nation-building effects had been achieved, leaving only a small residual force to execute counter-terrorism operations. With no combat losses in eighteen months, our commitment was sustainable.

Did We Fail?

Now is not the time for political finger-pointing; this failure crosses several administrations. With the U.S. departure from Afghanistan, we lost a strategic platform that enabled the U.S. to provide multiple dilemmas to multiple adversaries. We are a weaker nation tonight. Instead of walking completely away, optimizing troop strength to continue counter-terrorism operations would have maintained our operational flexibility. Remaining clear-headed and focusing on what must be done to move forward is the most pressing challenge in front of us. If there is time and energy later, we'll sort it out and gain accountability to prevent this failure from happening again.

The Ultimate Sacrifice In Serving This Great Nation

The 2,349 Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice and the 20,149 Americans wounded during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Freedom's Sentinel (OFS) served with honor and valor, asking no questions. Let's honor our national treasure with respect and humility. With two Afghanistan Combat Tours at the Tactical, Operational, and Strategic levels of war, the U.S. departure from Afghanistan is very personal. Those who serve feel firsthand the rigors of combat while the communities and families around them share in their sacrifice. In the coming days, our focus should be on our Gold Star Families and with our Veterans questioning their sacrifice and commitment – tonight, as always, they are in my prayers.

Our national resolve is under attack; evil and chaos seek to sow disunity and discord among our citizens. Our enemies are watching; a united – United States is strong and resilient. We must be resolved and deliberate when committing our national treasures to defending the U.S.interests around the globe.