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With the firing or voluntary resignation of John Bolton, President Trump has again shined the light on the chaos and incompetence of his administration. To be sure, Bolton was a square peg in a round hole from the beginning, but he was absolutely correct to oppose Trump’s desire to bring Taliban negotiators to Camp David. Trump is not negotiating for lasting peace in Afghanistan. He is negotiating with a band of brutal thugs exclusive of participation of the legitimate government for what amounts to surrender after 19 years of war and thousands of American lives.

As a retired Marine officer, that cowardice sickens me. Abandoning Afghanistan without some solid guarantees and protections for the legitimate government simply means that the Taliban will in short order reassert their brutal theocracy over a large portion of the country. This war, unlike its counterpart in Iraq, is a just one. The 9/11 plot was planned and nurtured in Afghanistan with the full knowledge and support of the Taliban. If we leave without some means of ensuring that it will not be a nesting place for future plots, then we have wasted American blood and treasure.

Trump simply wants to remove our troops, declare victory, and pray the whole thing does not blow up in his face before the next election. I want to see our troops come home, but I want them to come home with the satisfaction of a job well done, not as pawns in a cynical ploy to help an incompetent win reelection.

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Kenneth R. England

Albany (Sept. 10)

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