KENTUCKY — From sharing his thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine and the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has been burning the pavement as of late, touring the commonwealth over the last five weeks and speaking with various Kentuckians.
During this In Focus Kentucky segment, McConnell joins the program to discuss several wide-ranging issues topping his priority list as he prepares to return to Washington for another legislative session and how they will impact the nation and Kentucky.
This past week marked the 20th anniversary of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.
"I actually saw the plane go into to the second tower on live television like many Americans, and I had not yet gone into work in Washington. As it turned out, my wife, who was secretary of labor, had already gone to her office. She scooped up a bunch of her employees and brought them to our house and the rest of the day, we were observing from home. And you knew immediately this this ranked right up there with Pearl Harbor. Only actually in some ways worse, because it was the homeland that was attacked, and at that particular juncture, Hawaii was not a state, and so it seemed like it was way off in the distance from my parents and those of that generation. It defined much of what we've done since, particularly is it noteworthy that we are leaving Afghanistan. And it reminds us, I think, of why we went there in the first place. And it was an awful, awful day," explained McConnell.
Another item discussed during this segment is the recent decision by President Joe Biden to withdraw United States troops from Afghanistan, which is now known as "America's longest war."
"We got to remember why we went there, and I think the 20th anniversary of 9/11 reminds us of why we went there. To take the Taliban out of power. To make it difficult for groups like Al-Qaida to hit us here at home, using that as a staging ground. And that worked for 20 years. They were not incapable of doing that. From a cost point of view, in terms of lives lost, every life in this country is precious, but we lost about 2,000 in 20 years. The Afghans lost 65,000 who were willing to fight. In terms of financial impact, at this point in the 20 years, about 1% of the Pentagon budget. So I thought it was a policy that was working and didn't need to be changed. We've had troops deployed and troop deployments for a lengthy period of time in other parts of the world. We've been in Germany since WWII, and Japan and South Korea since the end of the Korean War, a stabilizing force. And so I think it was a decision we'll regret. We've got Americans left behind as hostages, Afghan allies and interpreters friends of ours who are stuck there, and I think the terrorists around the world are emboldened and excited about seeing America brought to its knees," said McConnell.