Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stirred some new criticism when she said it might have been better for the United States to not intervene in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks on September 11.
I remember a time when it was “unacceptable” to question the Iraq War.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
All of Congress was wrong, including both GOP & Dem Party, and led my generation into a disastrous + wrong war that virtually all would come to regret, except for the one member who stood up: Barbara Lee.
Afghanistan War* my apologies— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
(But honestly we shouldn’t have been in either, and we should end the AUMF now while we’re at it)— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
When asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper about what the U.S. should have done in the aftermath in 9/11, Ocasio-Cortez suggested “non-intervention,” among other limited options:
I think that our decision to enter unlimited engagement in Afghanistan, particularly through the AUMF + Congress’ abdication of power + decision-making w/ passage of the AUMF, was a mistake.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 5, 2019
Other options: targeting the network itself, limited engagement, non-intervention.
The idea of not intervening at all did not sit well with some, such as Adam Maneen, who served as an infantry officer during Operation Enduring Freedom, and Eli Crane, who deployed to Iraq three times as a Navy Seal.
“I still remember where I was that fateful Tuesday morning when Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked four planes and crashed into both World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field,” Maneen told Townhall. “The 29-year-old Congresswoman from Bronx/Queens would have been 11 or 12 at the time Al-Qaeda attacked the United States. I was 22; 9/11 called me into over a decade of service.”
“The Taliban government allowed safe-haven for Osama Bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda network to plan and resource the attack on the United States from within Afghanistan,” he continued. "Our response was swift and so began the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against those responsible for the attack. To say, ‘All of Congress was wrong, including both GOP & Dem Party…’ and ‘non-intervention’ was a suitable alternative option essentially states one opinion made in hindsight is superior to 534 [sans one] other professional law-making opinions of the time.”
“As a SEAL who served in Iraq multiple times, I know from intelligence and experience how foreign fighters came from all over the place outside of Iraq and Afghanistan to wage war against the U.S. in our attempt to destroy our nation's enemies in that region,” Crane said. “This made me much less concerned with which countries we choose to fight in knowing that jihadists would come to us from all over the globe to repel our invasion. I’ve always believed and my time in service fortified my belief that you either take the fight to the enemy or he will bring it to your doorstep like they did on 9/11.”
Both Crane and Maneen appreciate Ocasio-Cortez’s candor so the American public knows where she stands on this issue. Moreover, Maneen would ask her just how far the U.S. should follow such a policy.
“Apparently our 10-year age difference highlights a huge delta of experience and perspective. On May 1st, 2011, I was serving on Combat Outpost (COP) Monti in Kunar” Province, Afghanistan when I heard Osama Bin Laden was killed,” Maneen recalled. “Hearing Bin Laden was dead was a highpoint of the deployment as well as serving there on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. I felt pride in serving and deploying on behalf of our country, I felt American. Of course, we had lows as our year-long tour was very kinetic resulting in several lost service members and many with significant injuries.”
Maeen pondered the consequences if America had not got involved in Afghanistan right after 9/11:
I have a myriad of emotions to include sadness, though how could we allow a terrorist organization who carried out the worst attack on our homeland a safe-haven to plan future attacks? If we chose non-intervention would the Taliban continue to hang bodies of political opposition in the streets of Kabul today? Would Afghan girls and women be publicly stoned to death for listening to music? Our mission was just and we volunteered knowing the risks. From a soldier’s perspective, the Afghanistan War was neither disastrous nor wrong.
I am so proud of our men and women who voluntarily choose to enlist, re-enlist and commission in our Armed Services while being a Nation at war. Our armed services are composed of a diverse group of people with differing viewpoints and experiences. Our common bond is service to our country and I commend military family members for their sacrifice as well.
“To say ‘all would come to regret (the Afghanistan War)’ is completely wrong and I was there,” Maneen says. “Ocasio-Cortez would have been 21 or 22 and a student at Boston University. I earned a Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal with Valor (ARCOM-V) while deployed to Afghanistan. I would certainly return ARCOM-V if it meant we could go back in time and reverse the outcome of losing two soldiers on July 19th, 2011. I understand if Ocasio-Cortez did not want to serve in our military, but she does not speak for me. I do not regret my service. I do not regret our mission. I do not regret the people I served with. And I will never forget.”
“It’s always advantageous to Monday Morning Quarterback after the fact when the cards that were being held closely are now laying on the table for everyone to see,” Crane added. “I will always believe in Peace through strength. I am also glad that even the inexperienced, ignorant critics like Ocasio-Cortez have the ability and right to be critical of our countries foreign and domestic policy. It’s one of the many things that make us so great. I’m even more thankful that when it’s time to kick some ass and send our enemies to their graves that our finest still step up and say, ‘Send me!’”