Bush warns of fallout from early Afghanistan exit
April 1st, 2011
08:59 AM ET
4 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. sammieb51

    So let me get this straight. Bush waged war on Iraq because of what again? - terrorists? WMDs? to bring them democracy? to get rid of Hussein? I can't remember, there were so many lies we were told. 8 years later, we have removed all but 50K troops and Blackwater was forced out of the country by Iraq - anyone notice how much violence ended when Eric Prince's gang of mercenaries left the country? I did!! Bush went into Afghanistan in 2001-2002 to fight Al-Quaida or the Taliban or whatever it was, but when we went into Iraq we pulled back in Afghanistan so those groups built strength again .... and now that we ended the military mission in Iraq and are trying to again fight back those groups, Bush says we should stay for the women? Bush could care less about what rights those women have and those women need to fight for their freedom and rights just like American women had to 100 years ago when they were viewed as "chattel" under the laws of this great country and had to wear dresses that covered their arms and didn't show their ankles, and hair up with hats on, and could not cut their hair without their husband's permission - and 10-11 years and trillions of dollars have passed fighting these two LOSING wars when as Kerry said in the '04 election cycle that "fighting terrorism was a 'police' action, not a military action". AND THE REAL CONTRAST HERE IS THAT IT IS BAD FOR THE U.S. TO BE INVOLVED IN LYBIA WITH NATO / UN / UA SUPPORT???? Give me a break, George, you did enuf damage to the country and our civile liberties in the 8 years you were president, go home, leave us alone.

    April 1, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Greenspam

    Republicans are all over the place. If Obama stays in Afghanistan, they say it's wasting taxpayers' money. If Obama pulls out, they claim Obama pulls out too early. What is it? I guess the solution is just stop listening to Repukes whose job growth plan consists of giving rich a tax cut.

    April 1, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. NVa Native

    As if Bush got anything right during his Presidency? Bush was/is the worst ever.
    Bush was a failure and the more he stays in his man-cave the better – for him and us.
    When Bush decided to abandon Afganistan and invade Iraq is when we (he) should have left. Bush is the reason we are still in Afganistan today, because Bush/Cheney he never finished the job!
    Afganistan is another Bush/Cheney failure!

    April 1, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. Texas Doc

    Really? We should trust Mr. Iraq (weapons of Mass Destruction/Their Oil will pay for the War, Etc.)? Maybe he can also give us pointers on economic wisdom.

    April 1, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Stewart

    Dubya, you cannot be serious
    10 years is more than enough time for Afganistan to get it's act together.

    April 1, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Quintus

    Well, if he feels so strongly about the Afghani women, perhaps he and Laura should move there and dedicate the rest of his life to protecting them.

    April 1, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  7. Michael

    Oh, bush bush bush. Why dont you go crawl underneath your rock again. Nothing you say has or will have any creditibility. You've directly cause the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and help ruin our economy. The idea that you could possibly be concerned for the women of afganistan, that that was EVER a concern for you, is hilarious. Your military blunders are legend now. YOU want to lecture another president on policy!!!!???

    Another political shot from a person, and a party, that has sold its soul to the devil.

    April 1, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. PaulBoomer

    W: "Isolationism will end up subjecting certain people to horrors that I don't see how our country can live with that kind of decision."

    I understand what he's trying to say, but he just can't say it competently.

    April 1, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. lefty avenger

    Everyone in the world thinks we are in the middle east to kill people and take their oil. What else is there? Caring? In a country that denies children health care and wants to terminate public education, i don't think so!

    April 1, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Shut up Bush, you are the worst president in history and now to come up with another reason for us being in Afghan makes you a bigger liar than we already knew.

    April 1, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    So when did the Republican/Taliban begin worring about women? They vote to defund Planned Parenthood, take away their choice to have a legal abortion, and a myriad of other legislation directly aimed at womens rights. So they only care about women in Afghanistan? They want women here to wear berkas....

    April 1, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  12. Robert P

    OK, seriously? Bush is NOW warning of the risk of pulling out of Afghanistan too soon? How about when he pretty much did exactly that in 2003 (WAY too early) so he could invade Iraq under false pretense? He took troops out of Afghanistan at one of the most crucial times and moved them to Iraq for no reason. So it is his fault we are still there. I find it very sad that he thinks he has even a molecule of credibility left. Please go chop some wood in Crawford and stay out of the way of the people who are trying to fix the huge mess you created.

    April 1, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. ThinkAgain

    What the heck does Bush know about war? He took us into Afghanistan, let Osama bin Laden cross the border into Pakistan, then pushed Afghanistan to the back burning while he lied us into war with Iraq, all the while keeping the costs of these two wars off the books, cut taxes for the wealthy and turned the Clinton surplus into a huge deficit.

    This is what you get when a spoiled brat "serves" his country by being AWOL on an 18-month bender!

    April 1, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. AGeek

    We've been there 10 years – primarily thanks to this clown. If it's not done yet, it's never going to be done. GET. OUT. NOW!

    April 1, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  15. Rsprings

    As painful as it is to fight a war, Bush is right..again.

    April 1, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  16. vlj in mn

    That's rich coming from someone who basically abandoned Afghanistan to start a war in Iraq. If we had kept a strong presence right from the beginning, we may well have been out of the country by now.

    April 1, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. dallastexasguy

    He had no issue going into Afghanistan late and pulling troops out to go to Iraq right when he had Bin Laden writing his will

    April 1, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. Alex

    He never cared about the women of the United States of America! Why is he so concerned with the women of Afghanistan? He is so busy making some coins, like so many of our ex-presendents. Ciao Bush, go hunt some coons on your ranch why don't you!

    April 1, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. bdgfn

    Oh, so now he's concerned about Afghanistan? Where was his concern back in 2003-2008 when he was only concerned about Iraq?

    April 1, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Tom

    Don't worry, Bush, Halliburton will be well funded due to the ongoing Libyan war. You stocks are fine.

    April 1, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. Bob Ramos

    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."
    -----------------
    Question to Bush? Then why did you gut the Afghan effort in 2003 to transfer assets to the Iraq war which was a war of choice?

    April 1, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. Nick , California

    The bottom line is that the world is not a perfect place and there will always be suffering. There are many here in the US that suffer just as badly as they do in Afghanistan. The Right in this country scream about getting the government out of our lives, but then want the government to limit a woman's right to choose. They want to force women to have their children and then deny the mothers assistance and demonize them as "welfare moms" and "free loaders".

    April 1, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. ConservaFascists/FUBAR

    Last time I checked, the Taliban were still running things. The only way you'll protect the Afghan women is if you airlift them all out of the country. Otherwise, they'll continue to get abused.

    April 1, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Michael

    I wonder how much Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Springfield Armory, and Halliburton paid him for that?

    April 1, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Joshua Ludd

    Yes, I'm sure this is the person we should be taking advice from... the man who started a war in Afghanistan.. the place anyone with a brain knows you NEVER start a ground war. And, of course, despite the fact that this is already the longest war this country has ever fought, he still wants us there eeeeven longer... because of the women? Yeah.. I believe that.

    April 1, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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