Analyst: Trump's troop cut "too little, too late"

The Pentagon and President Trump will cut a significant number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq by the final days of his presidency, but one analyst says the exit plan falls short of Trump's much-touted goal to end America's long wars. (Nov. 18)

Video Transcript

BEN FRIEDMAN: My hope is that the United States will withdraw fully from Afghanistan by the May 2021 deadline that we have through our deal with the Taliban. So going down to 2,500 by January, I think is a step towards that, and that's a good thing.

From the larger perspective, I think it's too little too late. The Trump administration has been slow to do this. I think they deserve some credit for their deal with the Taliban. But for the most part, the president's anti-war rhetoric has just been rhetoric. And he's been short on action.

This started under a Republican president, was increased with the surge in Afghanistan under a Democratic president, and has continued with some talk about leaving under another Republican president. The support for the war has always been bipartisan. So I think it's just a good example of how some of our worst policies are bipartisan. And there's another kind of bipartisanship of the public being against the war and from both sides of the spectrum. So it's more of an elite versus public thing, actually.

I think what's important for people is to realize that it's sort of a losing deal. We're not getting national security return out of these investments, and the money could be spent better on helping people recover from coronavirus or even on infrastructure in the United States. We could be producing more welfare.

So it's no way to try to end a war, what the Trump administration is doing. It's messy and involves firing people who've been there for years. But I think people should still support efforts to pull out of the war, even if they don't like Trump because we've been at this for almost 20 years, two decades. And my concern is that we don't get out now while there's some momentum to do it. And we may never do so. So whoever is president, that's the policy I think they should pursue.