Written by Angelic Young, Security Fellow, Truman National Security Project

I entered the State Department on September 10, 2001, with a vague sense of patriotism. After the September 11th attacks, I was assigned to help create the Afghanistan Police Program (APP) from my seat in the Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).

During this time, I was a true believer. I genuinely thought what I was doing would help secure democracy in Afghanistan. I traveled the country on INL’s air wing to regional training centers in Kandahar, Herat, and elsewhere. I told young Afghan police recruits that…

Written by Neil Aggarwal, Security Fellow, Truman National Security Project

Afghanistan’s rapid fall to Taliban forces will inevitably prompt policy debates over the method and timeline of the American military withdrawal. But, these debates should not drown out one undebatable truth: that this war, and the chaos of the withdrawal, has created a mental health crisis.

The United States has seen an entire generation of people serve in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s victory has sparked uncomfortable questions among diplomats, humanitarian workers, and military service personnel about what their service and sacrifice has meant during the “Global War on Terror.” …

Afghanistan, 2010

Written by: Lieutenant Colonel James Cho, 2021 Defense Council Member, The Truman National Security Project

Today, I won’t opine about whom to blame — plenty have. Nor will I discuss the consequences of our withdrawal for the Afghan people — plenty should. No, as the twentieth anniversary of America’s longest war approaches, and as the world watches the Taliban seize control over Afghanistan, I find myself thinking about the people I deployed with, again and again.

At times, there can be an odd bystander feel to being an Air Force Intelligence Officer to a combat search and rescue unit. On…

National Flag of Afghanistan

Written by: Chris Purdy, Defense Council Member, Truman National Security Project

With word of Kabul’s imminent collapse and the rapid capitulation of the Afghan security forces, Americans are justifiably enraged, saddened, and demoralized. Reports from the country are that Taliban fighters have brought back their reign of terror and have begun committing public atrocities on anyone suspected of having worked with a Western power. The United States now has more troops in the country than at any time since the start of the withdrawal, but it is unable to secure enough territory to help those in need.

Like many others…

Camille Mackler, Senior Visiting Fellow, The Truman Center for National Policy

What is happening in Afghanistan is almost unbearable to watch. For months the Truman Center, along with numerous partners and colleagues, have advocated for the rights and protection of our local allies in withdrawal plans. Many of those allies are now trapped behind Taliban lines and face torture, and probable death, because of their work for the United States. With the potential fall of Kabul, even those who made attempts to leave on their own now face the same fate.

We had an obligation to all those who fought…

President Biden fulfilled a campaign promise to end the Muslim bans from four years prior. (The White House)

On January 20, 2021, President Biden fulfilled a campaign promise to end the Muslim bans from four years prior. On that landmark day, Truman members reflected on the history of the bans, the harm they caused, and how they altered the trajectory of so many people’s lives.

Sadaf Jaffer, Truman Political Partner

As a Muslim American it directly impacted me and my community. At the time I was living in Montgomery Township, New Jersey working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in South Asian Studies at Princeton University. In the wake of the Muslim Bans, I participated and spoke at number of…

By Terron Simms II, Truman National Security Project Security Fellow

On the early morning of April 5, 2004, as the sun was rising just after the first night of fighting in the Battle of Sadr City, I went with my squadron commander to Sadr City to assess the battle damage to the neighborhood. The atmosphere was eerily still. As we walked down a main street, I began to realize that countless Iraqi men were glaring at us in such a manner to where it was obvious that they were who we were fighting a few hours ago. We knew these…

By Brian Babcock-Lumish

The revitalized Quadrilateral Security Dialogue of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States has the potential to be a lodestone of coalition and alliance structures in the Indo-Pacific region. This month’s virtual summit — joining President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison — lays the long-term strategic groundwork to deter Chinese revisionism in Asia. As President Biden described it, the “Quad is going to be a vital arena for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.” …

By Justin Reynolds, Truman Defense Council

Justin Reynolds (second from left) with members of his C-17 crew.

On November 3rd, while most Americans were watching the Presidential election, I was at the controls of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III. My crew on that flight — seven men dressed in our tactical uniforms, all but one of us white — fit the image most Americans have of their military. Disturbingly, it’s also the image many Americans have of the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

One in five of those charged in the Capitol riots were veterans, and a recently released Pentagon report found that a small but disturbing number of serving military…

The Truman View

The voice of Truman members, writing in their personal capacity.

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