Republican President George W. Bush committed the United States to war in Afghanistan. The mission was to capture Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 2001 attacks on America that killed some 3,000 people, and to drive out the Taliban.

That was in 2001. We are still there. 

Joe Biden announced Thursday that he is expediting the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. Rather than the September 11 date for withdrawal he set several months ago, Biden says our troops will be out by August 31. 

Announcing a specific date in the first place was idiocy. The administration simply told the enemy to save its bullets until September 12. To announce September 11 as a withdrawal date was even more idiotic. What terrorist organization would not want to hit American forces hightailing it from Afghanistan on September 11?

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What matters is that we are coming home. Too many young lives were snuffed out in America's longest war. Donald Trump announced plans to end the war and got ridiculed for it. Biden, to his credit, will follow through. The critics will hammer him as well. So be it.

Biden says America has accomplished its objectives in Afghanistan, and it's time to come home.

"The United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan – to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and to deliver justice to Usama bin Laden," he said. "We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build."

I support Biden's decision. The Afghan people must learn to provide for their own security, as 2,400 Americans died and 21,000 were injured during the nearly 20-year war in Afghanistan. 

Massachusetts families have given 32 sons to the war effort, including six from Southeastern Massachusetts. They are:

  • Army National Guard Specialist Ethan L. Goncalo, 21, of Fall River
  • Specialist Anthony Andrews, 21, of Fall River
  • Massachusetts National Guard Sgt. Robert Barrett, 20, of Fall River
  • Sgt. First Class Jared C. Monti, 30, of Raynham
  • U.S. Marine Capt. Kyle R. Van DeGiesen, 29, of North Attleboro
  • Staff Sgt. Bruce A. Rushforth, 35, of Middleboro

Enough SouthCoast lives have been lost in Afghanistan. Enough American blood has been spilled there. It's time to come home.

Please read about the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Project.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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