August 31, 2021: Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps, boards a C-17 cargo plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Maj. Gen. Donahue is the final American service member to depart Afghanistan; his departure closes the U.S. mission to evacuate American citizens, Afghan Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and vulnerable Afghans. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Alex Burnett)
Andrew Bacevich on All In with Chris Hayes

CHRIS HATES: Atia Abawi is a Foreign Correspondent and MSNBC International Affairs Analyst. She spent nearly five years in Afghanistan where she ran NBC News`s coverage there. And retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich is the co-founder and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, author of the book After the Apocalypse: America`s Role in the World Transformed. In this week`s issue of The Nation, he wrote about why we lost in Afghanistan, and they both join me now.

Colonel, maybe let me — let me start with you. On your feeling now on this day, you`ve written much about the war on terror, much about us overseas war over the last two decades. Did the President do the right thing?

ANDREW BACEVICH, PRESIDENT, QUINCY INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT: I think there`s no question about that. Prolonging the war beyond 20 years, would not have served any purpose, at least not who served any American interest. So, this day had to come. It`s sad, disturbing that the evacuation had to occur the way it did, ill-planned, ill-managed with more U.S. casualties, although, as you correctly said, at the end of the day, it really is a remarkable achievement.

That said, I would insist that the real story here is not what has happened over the past two weeks or so, but what`s happened over the past 20 years. We failed. We embarked upon a major effort to build a nation, to create a legitimate government, to build an army that would defend Afghanistan. We failed on every count, a costly failure in terms of blood and money.

And therefore, it seems to me the imperative of the moment is to — is to ask the question, how did this happen? What do we need to do to make sure it doesn`t happen again?

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