SFI Executive Director Sarah Streyder spoke with Newsweek about military family reactions to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and what the events of the last week mean for future military decisions.
Tom O’Connor, senior foreign policy writer for Newsweek, wrote about the media controversy surrounding the implementation of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Sarah Streyder provided military family context to the rapidly changing news cycle in a piece titled “Biden Had a Tough Week on Afghanistan, Here’s How He’ll Get Past His PR Crisis.”
I am one of those everyday Americans who agreed this 20-year war had to end and support the decision to withdraw. I am also heartsick right now over whether we will manage to evacuate every vulnerable Afghan and ally who wants to leave. Both can be true at the same time. That’s why we have seen (and will continue to see) such complexity in our military family community’s response to these developments.”Sarah Streyder, quoted in Newsweek
SFI continues to support the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, even as we have felt let down by the implementation over the last few weeks. The pain and loss that our community would have continued to incur had we stayed would have been immense. Moving forward, we hope foreign policymakers derive the right lessons.
“The takeaway from this last week’s developments in Afghanistan should not point toward a future in which the U.S. retains indefinite military presences abroad,” Streyer said. Quite the opposite.
“In fact,” she added, “the quickness with which the Afghan defenses fell to Taliban control demonstrates that time was not our missing currency. Another one or five or twenty years would not have likely changed that outcome—the Afghan defenses needed motivation and a functional government to back them, neither of which were things the U.S. military could possibly export.”