State of the Union

Biden Touts More Forever Wars, Breaking His 2021 Promises

In his State of the Union address, Biden promised indefinite U.S. involvement in Ukraine, Gaza, Yemen, and beyond.


President Joe Biden came into office promising to get American troops out of "forever wars." Tonight, in his State of the Union address, he offered a vision of indefinite U.S. involvement in conflicts around the world.

In April 2021, speaking about the war in Afghanistan, the president railed against those who believe that "withdrawal would damage America's credibility and weaken America's influence in the world. I believe the exact opposite is true." Tonight, Biden attacked skeptics who "want us to walk away from our leadership in the world."

He began his speech with a plea for more U.S. military aid to Ukraine, arguing that "the free world is at risk, emboldening others who would do us harm to do what they wish." Later, Biden announced sweeping plans for U.S. involvement in Gaza.

While the U.S. military will build a new port in Gaza to deliver food to Palestinians—and, the president promised, "no U.S. boots will be on the ground"—the Biden administration will continue to arm the Israeli military campaign that Biden said "has taken a greater toll on innocent civilians than all previous wars in Gaza combined." 

The Biden administration has transferred weapons to Israel at the American taxpayer's expense, and is providing targeting intelligence to the Israeli military. "Creating stability in the Middle East also means containing the threat posed by Iran," Biden added, touting his airstrikes on Yemen.

That air campaign has thrown a wrench into Yemen's peace talks—which, ironically, the Biden administration brokered a couple years before.

Biden positioned himself as a peace dove during the 2020 presidential debates, and one of his first major decisions in office was to go through with a long-planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. "It's time to end the forever war," the president announced in an April 2021 speech, rejecting an "approach where U.S. exit is tied to conditions on the ground."

"We have to have clear answers to the following questions: Just what conditions require to—be required to allow us to depart?" he asked in that speech. "By what means and how long would it take to achieve them, if they could be achieved at all? And at what additional cost in lives and treasure?"

Today, Biden answered those questions: The wars will continue for the foreseeable future.