The US president insisted he had to decide between asking American forces to fight endlessly in what he called Afghanistan’s civil war or follow through on an agreement to withdraw negotiated by his predecessor.
He faced a barrage of criticism, including from British MPs, who branded his speech “grotesque”, after going on to blame the Taliban’s takeover on Afghan political leaders who fled and its army’s unwillingness to fight.
Former president George Bush broke his silence on Afghanistan on Tuesday, issuing a statement addressing serving troops, diplomats, and US intelligence officials.
Mr Bush and his wife Laura wrote: “Some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day, we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage.”
As the president who took the US into Afghanistan after 9/11, his remarks received short shrift from his critics on social media.