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Heated reactions on war's end

A U.S. military aircraft leaves the airport in

A U.S. military aircraft leaves the airport in Kabul on Monday. Credit: AP/Wali Sabawoon

For Armed Forces veterans and patriots, the day we left Afghanistan will be recorded as one of the most shameful in American history ["20 years later, U.S. leaves Afghanistan," News, Aug. 31]. Veterans like me were taught not to leave any American behind, alive or dead. Indeed, our troops should have stayed until every American and those who assisted our military were safely evacuated.  

The Biden administration is tooting its horn that we evacuated 120,000 Americans and supporters. At what price? Thirteen brave young men and women died, and Americans were still left behind.

— Marty Orenstein, New Hyde Park

A reader states he is "ashamed of our country for what our president did" in Afghanistan ["Reactions to bombing," Letters, Aug. 29]. He further writes that President Joe Biden has caused "chaos" in America. (Recall on whose watch the Jan. 6 insurrection occurred.)

Biden always believed that our 20 years there had to end, and the vast majority of Americans agreed. Another reader stated that it is "disgraceful that this country" negotiated with terrorists. Former President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo negotiated the original evacuation plan set for May 1 with the Taliban’s Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was released from prison at Trump’s request.

More than 120,000 Americans and others were recently evacuated from Afghanistan. The tragic loss of our service members’ and many others’ lives is devastating. Biden is an honorable man albeit not perfect; no president has ever been. He did what had to be done — finally. History will judge his actions. He should not resign.

— Sherry Eckstein, Huntington

Letter writers mostly bashed President Joe Biden’s botched swift withdrawal from our war in Afghanistan, one going as far as admitting he’s "ashamed of our country." America has lost more than 2,400 service members in Afghanistan, including those who died in the recent bombing in Kabul. I am saddened but not ashamed.

Should we have kept more soldiers there longer? For how long? Should we have prioritized the military hardware lost at our bases?

I am certain of two things: If we had lengthened our stay, we would have borne more casualties, although I trust the military to gather and employ intelligence to save lives and complete its mission.

Commentators can too easily miss the whole scene.

Leaving a hostile country in the chaos of war and overthrow, with little aid from indigenous former allies who have fled, while evacuating those who had helped us in the war are perilous tasks. Bless our military and thank you for protecting us.

— Hank Cierski, Port Jefferson Station

This is an American catastrophe, as we will surely feel the ramifications in the years to come ["Biden stands by pulling out of Afghanistan," News, Sept. 1]. America will never be trusted again, and we lost much on the world stage.

Shame on President Joe Biden and his administration. And shame on the Democrats’ hypocrisy. This disaster would have surely brought a third impeachment of former President Donald Trump.

— Stuart J. Pastrich, Port Washington

No one would argue that selling arms to our enemies would be a major prosecutable crime. So how about giving arms to our enemies, as the military did when it left behind millions of dollars of sophisticated weaponry for the Taliban?

While some equipment may have been rendered inoperable, shouldn’t somebody be made to stand trial for that blatant criminal action?

— Jay Roberts, Jericho

So-called political experts say that we should have pulled all our equipment and people out before we set a deadline to leave. Once we would have made that announcement, the Afghan army likely would have surrendered anyway to the Taliban. It wouldn’t have mattered who was president.

To blame President Joe Biden is absurd. There was no good way to end this. As long as the Afghan army refused to fight, the end came more quickly than we thought it would.

People should stop playing politics and be thankful that this war is finally over after 20 years.

— Henry Beyer, Woodmere

The deaths of the Army soldier, Navy Corpsman, and 11 Marines who gave their lives during the evacuation were not in vain and we need to keep their families in our thoughts and prayers ["Blast victims shared pride in serving," News, Aug. 29].

They died for their brothers and sisters standing guard next to them. They died not just for their fellow Americans but also for the thousands of Afghan civilians who were promised a ticket to freedom.

Our fallen all died for the betterment of humankind and for the never-quite-attainable goal of world peace.

— William Ober, Huntington