Bad history and bad strategy in Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal
"Biden is talking about the war as if the U.S. went to Afghanistan to kill Osama bin Laden, and nothing more. Getting bin Laden was, of course, part of the mission—but only part. As Bush explained many times, the war had to be about more than that. In April 2002, Bush said, “We know that true peace will only be achieved when we give the Afghan people the means to achieve their own aspirations. Peace will be achieved by helping Afghanistan develop its own stable government. Peace will be achieved by helping Afghanistan train and develop its own national army.”'
Not necessarily disagreeing with all the points made in the article, but this part sticks out to me. You're right that this is a more morally defensible explanation for the war in Afghanistan, but I don't understand why it seems to be assumed that Bush was speaking in good faith when he said this. As you say, those words of Bush only started to appear to be reflected in his actions five years after he said them. I'm not an expert on this issue or anything, but I'm very skeptical of the idea that achieving piece and stability in Afghanistan was ever a real, attainable goal by any means, and the claim that Bush "seem[ed] to understand intuitively that the war had to aim at a vision of peace and justice" is something that, for me at least, still needs a lot more evidence to be convincing. It does not seem to me like "peace and justice" had anything to do with his or Obama or Trump's administrations' foreign policy.
The way the war in Iraq is mentioned in this article gives off the impression that it was a necessary priority that distracted the U.S. from doing right by Afghanistan, rather than an unnecessary invasion started under largely false pretenses. The widely-recognized disaster that was the Iraq war, the motivations behind which were flimsy at best, again calls into question whether the stated purpose of our presence in Afghanistan should be taken at face value. The fact that, as you point out here, so little of America's foreign policy in the Bush/Obama/Trump eras seem to reflect this stated purpose, points to the idea that this stated purpose was never real. Therefore, any argument that rests on the idea that we haven't yet fulfilled this purpose rings hollow to me.