Gov. Bob Taft and Rep. Mike Turner made the joint announcement on the campus they’re both familiar with.
Zoë Hill | Print Editor-in-Chief
One of the University of Dayton’s own was tapped to sit on Congress’ Afghanistan War Commission. Bob Taft, former Ohio governor and political science lecturer, was appointed Oct. 10 by Representative Mike Turner (R-10) for the role.
Turner, a ’92 UD graduate, said the United States’ August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan was hasty and damaging for the country’s reputation. The Afghanistan War Commission sprouted from Congress and the American people’s need to understand what went wrong in the two-decades-long war.
“There is a lot to review and that the American public and Congress need answers for,” Turner said. “Issues like, what went wrong in our initial actions in Afghanistan? Why were we unable to address the issue of terrorism?”
As a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Turner had the power to appoint Taft, who he said brings “an unbelievable wealth of knowledge” as the commission works to deconstruct and understand the missteps of the U.S.’s involvement in Afghanistan.
“I think you put your finger on the key question that we need to know,” Taft said to Sam Surowitz, Afghanistan War veteran and UD’s director of Military and Veteran Programs and Services. “Why were we not able to stand up a military that could protect and defend the country [Afghanistan] going forward?”
The commission will work similarly to the 9/11 commission that operated after the terror attacks. As governor, Taft led Ohio as the country navigated a post-9/11 world. He also oversaw the deployment of Ohio’s National Guard to Afghanistan in response to the September 11 attacks.
“I look forward to being part of this process of coming up with a fair, objective, independent analysis that will benefit our country going forward, protect our national security and also pay tribute to all those who served in Afghanistan during the war,” Taft said.
The 16-member commission is searching for an executive director before their work can begin to create a report for Congress. Taft said the review will take three years and will explore the roles national security, diplomatic intelligence and foreign aid played in the war.
“For many reasons, this is a very important undertaking,” Taft said. “I take it very seriously. I’ll give it every effort I can.”
Taft said he looks forward to working with the “very capable, competent and experienced” fellow commission members.