Speed Reads

facts aren't facts

Trump says Soviets were 'right' to invade Afghanistan. His State Department very much disagrees.

President Trump has taken a controversial walk down memory lane.

In a broad attempt to justify withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump ended up saying the Soviet Union was "right" to invade Afghanistan in 1979. According to the president's version of history, the Soviet Union turned into Russia because it "went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan." But the Soviets only invaded at all "because terrorists were going into Russia," Trump falsely said. ("He's confusing it with Chechnya," conservative critic Max Boot pointed out.) "They were right to be there," Trump said of the Soviet invaders, countering the views of the U.S. and its allies at the time.

As a whole lot of people on Twitter and in the administration said when Trump shared his interpretation of history, that's not exactly what happened. The 1979 invasion "began a brutal, decade-long attempt by Moscow to subdue the Afghan civil war and maintain a friendly and socialist government on its border," President Trump's State Department says. The State Department also credits the invasion for creating a "shattered country" that allowed Osama bin Laden "to launch terrorist operations worldwide."