President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will withdraw remaining troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, saying that America’s longest war is no longer justifiable.
Biden plans to pull the 2,500 remaining troops out of Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks that initially began the war.
The US can no longer pour resources into a war that four generations of US presidents have tried and failed to conclude expecting different results, Biden said.
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result,” said Biden. “I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”
Biden gave his speech from the White House Treaty Room, the same room where President George W. Bush announced the start of the war nearly 20 years ago.
Troops would begin leaving Afghanistan by May 1, the initial deadline for full withdrawal that the former Trump administration had negotiated with the Taliban last year.
“It is time to end America’s longest war,” said Biden, adding that the U.S. will “not conduct a hasty rush to the exit.”
Biden has long been a skeptic of the war, dating back to his time as vice president-elect in 2009 when he visited Afghanistan. When the Obama Administration doubled down on the US presence in the country, he was seen as an outlier.
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking, said Biden.
“We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives,” he added. “Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan and it’s time to end the forever war.”
Since the start of the war, the US presence in the Middle East has had endless Orientalist depictions in media, from movies like “American Sniper” and “Iron Man” to video games like the “Modern Warfare” series.
Orientalism, a term coined in 1978 by Edward Said, creates a binary between the East and West.
According to ArabStereotypes.org, “Orientalism is a way of seeing that imagines, emphasizes, exaggerates and distorts differences of Arab peoples and cultures as compared to that of Europe and the U.S. It often involves seeing Arab culture as exotic, backward, uncivilized, and at times dangerous.”
Additionally, Orientalism blends the West’s perception of all things East, erasing each country’s individual cultures and beliefs.
In response to the 9/11 attacks, there was a sharp rise in hate crimes towards Sikhs, people who practice the Indian religion Sikhism. The Sikh religion requires men to wear turbans, which people in the West mistake for the headwear worn by Osama Bin Laden, a Sunni Muslim.
On Sept. 15, 2001, four days after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh-American gas station owner was murdered in Mesa, Arizona. His murderer, Frank Silva Roque, profiled Sodhi as an Arab Muslim, drove to the gas station Sodhi owned, and shot him five times, killing him.
Roque was found guilty of first degree murder on Sept. 30, 2003, and was sentenced to death nine days later. In 2006, his death sentence was changed to life in prison without parole.
Sodhi’s murder and other hate crimes against Sikhs following the 9/11 attacks led to the creation of the Sikh Coalition, which aims to protect Sikhs and other religious minorities.