By: Keegan Wagner
In August 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden issued the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in an effort to end the War On Terror, also called the ‘Forever War’ by people who disapprove of the engagement.
The conflict was initiated by the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, when former President George W. Bush announced that he “...directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice.” Just one month after this announcement, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan with thousands of troops in search of Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the terrorist organization responsible for the attacks.
Over the coming years, the government poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the defense budget, with the number of troops occupying Afghanistan reaching over 110,000 in 2011, according to the Congressional Research Service. By 2021, a Brown University study indicated that the death toll of the war had reached nearly 929,000, including 364,000 civilians.
The war had spread to multiple countries in the region including Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen, turning once thriving cities into military playgrounds. The carnage was clear, and as the years added up, the real motive for the United States to continue began to unravel itself.
In 1938, American-owned oil wells in Saudi Arabia struck one of the largest oil reserves in the entire world, triggering an avalanche of oil and gas companies trying to get their foot in the door for drilling. Today, the United States is the second largest consumer of Saudi Arabian oil exports, only being beaten by China and its vast industrial capacity. In the past, it has been proven time and time again that the United States will stop at nothing to protect oil reserve assets in foreign countries, and Saudi Arabia is no exception.
As the highest military spender in the world, at $725 billion annually according to the Office of Management and Budget, the United States effectively has a bottomless wallet and spares no expense in overseas defense. When threatened with instability in the countries surrounding Saudi Arabia, America acted with swift and unwavering justice against the various terrorist groups of the region.
Even after issuing a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, government organizations such as the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and various other intelligence organizations continue to closely monitor the situation.
In the end, the cycle will continue as long as there is still crude oil to be found, even if it is in the best interest of the American people to lobby for change. The issues of imperialism are deeply rooted in the foundation of the United States and it will require many years of effort to turn around. One can only hope that the most recent actions in Afghanistan are a step in the right direction.