Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speak during a press conference following a vote in the U.S. House on ending US military involvement in the war in Yemen, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speak during a press conference following a vote in the U.S. House on ending U.S. military involvement in the war in Yemen, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 4, 2019. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

Afghanistan Withdrawal Good, Say Sanders and Khanna, But Biden Must Do More to End 'Forever Wars'

"It's about time we bring home our troops and end this trillion-dollar war in Afghanistan," said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).

Andrea Germanos

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna on Thursday welcomed President Joe Biden's announcement to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan but urged the president to take further actions to end "forever wars."

The planned withdrawal is "a courageous step" that should spark reflection upon "the enormous costs" of two decades of war, Sanders (I-Vt.) and Khanna (D-Calif.) wrote in an op-ed published Thursday at the Washington Post.

Their op-ed came a day after Biden formally announced Wednesday that he would withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 and said that "it is time to end America's longest war"—a declaration met with cautious praise from anti-war activists.

Although some advocates for continuing the war assert that U.S. troop withdrawal would cause the Taliban to hold more power in the country, the progressive lawmakers say that argument falls flat. "Continuing the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan out of fear that the government might be overrun by the Taliban is the same mind-set that has bogged us down for two decades. If this problem could be solved militarily, it would have been done before now," wrote Sanders and Khanna.

Instead, the lawmakers said, withdrawal will allow the U.S. to "refocus on diplomacy as our foreign policy tool of first resort." To that end, the U.S. must "promote protection for women in Afghanistan" including by ensuring they are included in peace negotiations. Civil society more broadly, the op-ed continues, must also be included to strengthen the nation and "to help stamp out the corruption that feeds extremism."

"Executing a responsible and comprehensive withdrawal from Afghanistan is an essential first step toward Biden fulfilling his commitment to end 'forever wars,'" wrote Sanders and Khanna. "But more work must be done."

That work should include the U.S. using its power to pressure Saudi Arabia to end its war on Yemen and blockade and cutting U.S. troop numbers in Syria and Iraq, according to the lawmakers. Other steps should include the U.S. rejoining the Iran nuclear deal, curbing airstrikes and drone attacks, and launching "a much more robust debate about whether the worldwide network of U.S. military bases is necessary for our national security."

To further reform the notion of American security and foreign policy, Sanders and Khanna call for no further military action unless it's necessary to "protect our national security" and has been authorized by Congress.

"By ending wars in Afghanistan and around the world, the United States can give our troops the long-overdue homecoming they deserve, usher in a new chapter of American global engagement that prioritizes diplomacy to keep Americans safe, and protect democracy, human rights, and the rule of law," wrote Sanders and Khanna.

Biden's call to pull troops out of Afghanistan also met praise from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)—the sole member of Congress in 2001 to vote against the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Lee has repeatedly called the 2001 AUMF "a blank check for endless war."

In a Wednesday statement, Lee said Biden's promised troop withdrawal marks "a bold step toward reversing the military-first approach our government has taken for far too long."

But, like Sanders and Khanna, the congresswoman said the withdrawal must not mark the end of the road.

"While this is an extremely encouraging step, much work remains to be done," said Lee. "We must utilize this momentum to rein in executive war powers, repeal the outdated and obsolete 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, and put that power back in the hands of Congress and the people, the way the Constitution intended."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·

Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·

In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·

Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo