President says war in Afghanistan will continue

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President Trump gave an update on his Afghanistan policy and strategy.

Arlington, VA – President Donald Trump outlined his plans on the ongoing war in Afghanistan in a special speech today, telling hundreds of soldiers in the crowd in Arlington that contrary to his own instincts, he will continue to fight the war and may even send more troops to the war-torn country.

The president began his speech by remarking on some of the issues facing the country and the world today which stem from bigotry, hate and racism–clearly an attempt to address the recent rhetoric surrounding Charlottesville, Boston, Guam and Barcelona. But his main focus was on U.S. Engagement and the path forward in Afghanistan.

President Trump acknowledged that his decision contradicts many of his past statements both as president and as a regular citizen. 

“My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the oval office,” he began.

With that, Pres. Trump announced that pulling out of Afghanistan is not the path the U.S. will be taking, explaining that a hasty withdrawal could breed even more terrorists as it did, the president believes, in the past when the U.S. pulled out of Iraq in 2011. 

“The vacuum we created by leaving too soon gave safe haven for ISIS to spread, to grow, recruit and launch attacks. We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq,” said Trump.

The president also pointed out that we live in a different world today. 

“We must address the reality of the world as it exists right now, the threats we face, and the confronting of all of the problems of today, an extremely predictable consequence of a hasty withdrawal,” Trump noted.

Pres. Trump will employ what he calls a new strategy which will shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions.  

“Micromanagement from Washington, D.C. does not win battles. They are won in the field drawing upon the judgment and expertise of wartime commanders and frontline soldiers, acting in real time with real authority and with a clear mission to defeat the enemy,” Trump pointed out.

It’s clear, based on the president’s speech, that there will be no slowing down on the war in Afghanistan. In fact, the U.S. will go on the full offensive. 

“Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will,” warned the president.

Although the president’s strategy in Afghanistan had been anticipated as early as July, it comes in the wake of a clearly divided nation following the Charlottesville clash of protesters, nuclear threats from North Korea–particularly missile attacks on Guam–and the Barcelona terror attacks that have been linked to ISIS. 

“With our resolve, we will ensure that your service and that your family’s will bring about the defeat of our enemies and the arrival of peace. We will push onward to victory with power in our hearts, courage in our souls and everlasting pride in each and every one of you,” Trump concluded. 

The president did not give specifics and it’s not clear to what extent Guam’s role will be in what will now be the persisting war in Afghanistan.