International security scholar's thoughts on Biden, military decision-making in Afghanistan

International security scholar's thoughts on Biden, military decision-making in Afghanistan International security scholar's thoughts on Biden, military decision-making in Afghanistan

September 24, 20212 min read
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Baylor University's Peter Campbell, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, penned a column for City Journal, in which he discusses who deserves scrutiny following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.


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In a column published Sept. 23 in City Journal, international security scholar Peter Campbell, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at Baylor University, explained the civilian-military dynamic in the United States and argued that President Biden -- not the U.S. military -- should shoulder the blame for what Campbell described as the president's "ill-conceived plan for withdrawing U.S. troops."


During the withdrawal in August, many dozens of people were killed in a terrorist bombing, including 13 U.S. soldiers. Also, more than 100,000 people were airlifted from the country. 


Right now, we can only speculate about precisely what advice Biden’s military advisors shared with him, but it’s unlikely that American military leaders would have sanctioned on their own the accelerated withdrawal that the president demanded. My years of studying military history and military doctrine have taught me that fighting withdrawals are among the most difficult military operations to undertake, even for a highly disciplined and well-trained military force. Moreover, the Afghanistan withdrawal was to take place during the active fighting season, when favorable weather tends to increase the tempo of Taliban operations. The Afghan government requested that Biden delay the withdrawal until the winter, when conditions reduce the mobility of forces in the region. Wedded to his timeline, the president refused.


In the column, Campbell wrote that America and the international community should not be left to speculate as to what advice the president received prior to his decision. He called for U.S. Congressional committees to investigate. "Americans deserve to know exactly what the military and the intelligence community told the president," he wrote.


ABOUT PETER CAMPBELL, Ph.D.

Peter Campbell, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at Baylor University, is a scholar on international security, civil-military relations, insurgency and counterinsurgency, the just war tradition, and cyber warfare. He is the author of Military Realism: The Logic and Limits of Force and Innovation in the U.S. Army, published by University of Missouri Press.


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  • Peter Campbell, Ph.D.
    Peter Campbell, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Political Science

    Professor Campbell studies international security, civil-military relations, international relations and policy relevance

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