Bush warns of fallout from early Afghanistan exit
April 1st, 2011
08:59 AM ET
7 years ago

Bush warns of fallout from early Afghanistan exit

(CNN) – Former President George W. Bush is worried the U.S. might pull out of Afghanistan too early to the detriment of that country's women.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday, Bush warned that Afghan women will "suffer" should the Obama administration decide to downscale troop levels there.

"My concern of course is that the United States gets weary of being in Afghanistan and says 'It's not worth it, let's leave' and Laura and I believe that if that were to happen, women would suffer again," he told Fox's Greta Van Susteren. "And we don't believe that's in the interest of the United States or the world to create a safe haven for terrorists and stand by and watch women's rights be abused."

"We liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban because of providing a save haven for al Qaeda," he continued. "But I believe then and believe now we have an obligation to help this young Democracy to survive and thrive."

Bush's comments came the same day he and former first lady Laura Bush kicked off a two-day conference at Southern Methodist University focusing on women's rights issues in Afghanistan – an issue Mrs. Bush also championed when she was in the White House.

"Isolationism will end up subjecting certain people to horrors that I don't see how our country can live with that kind of decision," the former president also said.

The Obama administration has said that it will gradually hand off responsibilities to Afghanistan security forces as it draws down U.S. troops between this summer and the end of 2014.

But a Government Accountability Office report issued in January questioned whether the centerpiece of the Obama administration's exit strategy for Afghanistan - a training program for Afghan security forces - can deliver as promised.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll in February indicated six in ten Americans are opposed to the war.

Filed under: Afghanistan • President Bush
soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    I agree. That area is the most politically unstable region on the planet. Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Iraq.

    Mr. Bush is being given truthful information since he left the White House. Finally. It would probably be a disaster. Too bad he made that matter worse today by pulling to start a war in Iraq.

    April 1, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  2. PD.

    Who cares what Bush thinks.

    April 1, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. Santa Fean

    No worries...the opium production will be protected as well as the oil/gas pipelines. Tribalism will continue.

    April 1, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  4. Mr. Ed

    Perfect timing from a fool on April 1. Don't you have some brush to trim?

    April 1, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Taioseach

    Seriously?! It's this "C" students fault that we've been there for over 10 years and he's going to issue a warning about an early exit!!!???!!

    He initiates a two front war based on lies, false assumptions and NO EXIT STRATEGY and he's issuing a statement like this? Why don't you go bankrupt another company Junior...

    April 1, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. ed

    Despite the media propaganda (which is now getting blow back at Obama) President Bush policy was a lot better than reported. Are we in Lybia for humanitarian reasons??? Or is it because of European assets & oil. The "people" of Lybia are not currently or in the past being stoned, acid throw, or executed!!!

    April 1, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. cap00

    I understand what President Bush is saying, but I don't think that ending any war after 10 years could truly be called "early," especially considering the fact that according to the most optimistic plan (as stated in the article), the administration has determined that American troops will be in Afghanistan through 2014. And I hope this doesn't become a hobby for President Bush – remember when he said that Carter's constant unsolicited advice made him miserable?

    April 1, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  8. Greg

    This man doesn't have a clue now and didn't have a clue 10 years ago. Afghanistan is 50 to 100 years away from being a civil society. Unless we are willing to stay in Afghanistan for decades they will revert to their old ways.

    April 1, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |

    Yep. He would know–it's his war, after all.

    April 1, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. Rick McDaniel

    There can only be a solution in Afghanistan, if we recognize that it has to be a military solution, as there is no way to negotiate with the Taliban.

    April 1, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. michael MN

    YOU failed on the primary mission – Bin Laden is still out there and after the 3 Trillion your little adventures cost wich helped drain our economy

    April 1, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |

    Here is a guy that knows absolutely nothing about anything and he is going to critize our current strategies! If he had done the right thing to begin with we would not be in the position that we are currently faced with. Where to go W.!

    April 1, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. McMurdo

    If Bush is so worried about Afghan women he should take himself, his wife and their daughters over and do something about it. It's not our problem and it is not our troops responsibility to protect them. They have fathers and sons and husbands and brothers to do that. If they want freedom they can do what American women did...they fight for it.

    April 1, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  14. Collateral Damage Guy

    This coming from the guy that ignored the war for 5 years to go fight his daddies old battle, plagued with corporate corruption. Yeah he should be speaking about a damm thing, we still cleaning up his messes....

    April 1, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  15. CIA

    Nobody wants to see any harm come to the women of Afghanistan. However, the US cannot stay in Afghanistan forever. At some point that country has to step up and take ownership of their own house. I don't think cutting it off at slightly over a decade is unreasonable.

    Also, I must say that I find it slightly odd that the same man whose administration literally forgot to include funding for the Afghanistan war in one of their budgets is so concerned about it. Maybe if Afghanistan was such a huge priority for you you should have 1) NOT sent most of our resources into Iraq for no good reason 2) been up front and honest about the time frame, cost, and expense (like including it in the budget and not try to hide it).

    April 1, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  16. chad

    Ironically Bush and other Republicans care about Afghan women, but zealously work to make life miserable for American women.

    April 1, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  17. jrw

    I would not seek bush's opinion even on the question of whether the sun rose in the East...today. All paths of our economic destruction lead back to this half-wit.

    April 1, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. gt

    Bush have his chance.... no more wasted americans lives... get out now.. and dont get started anywhere eles....

    April 1, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. saywhat

    Look at this scaredy cat. Sure Bush why not but you should fund this war. The country can't simply afford it.

    April 1, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  20. PAUL W!

    Thanks George, but let me just remind you that foreign policy was not exactly your strong suit...cutting stumps out the ground on your ranch in Crawford, TX...maybe, but certainly not foreign policy.

    April 1, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |

    Since when did Afghan women become our concern? ...or the excuse of this never ending war? Bring the troops home.

    April 1, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. DAW, NC

    he got this insight from the same people who told him of WMD's,

    April 1, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. edpeters

    That's funny, somebody from the GOP concerned about women!

    April 1, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Ohioan

    Maybe he should've focused more on Afghanistan than go into Iraq, but I guess its now all water under the bridge.

    April 1, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Bob from Syracuse

    We don't really care what the former President has to say.

    April 1, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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