As usual there has been a wealth of reports and stories about the 17 year war in Afghanistan…..and as usual there is a wealth of sides to consider…..
A quick look at those 17 years…..
Sunday was the 17th anniversary of the start of the longest war in American history: the Afghanistan War. When Operation Enduring Freedom kicked off on Oct. 7, 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, few would have thought we’d still be there fighting the Taliban nearly two decades later. Heck, I doubt I thought we’d still be fighting today when deploying there myself “only” 10 years ago this month.
But here we are, engaged in a forever war in which the generals seem to have no plausible “theory of victory” and the Taliban remain stubbornly resistant to capitulating to our demands. It is a war that we ought to end honorably through a negotiated settlement with our opponents—or even by unilaterally declaring success, and prudently but surely coming home.
The consensus is that we cannot win this war…..but the question should be….do we want to win?
This month marks the anniversary of America’s longest war: 17 years in Afghanistan. On this anniversary we must ask, why are we still engaged in what amounts to a forever war?
Even before he was a candidate for president, celebrity citizen Donald Trump tweeted in 2013: “We should leave Afghanistan immediately” and “Let’s get out of Afghanistan.” But he’s done a complete reversal as president.
In August 2017, President Trump acknowledged that his “original instinct was to pull out” but that “our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made, especially the sacrifices of lives.” Indeed, the president declared, “We will fight to win,” but what President Trump needs to understand is that we can’t win and, more importantly, we don’t have to win.
And every time it is pointed out the fruitfulness of this war there will be someone who thinks a new strategy is needed……now is no different…..
Sunday marked the 17th anniversary of the start of war in Afghanistan, the “War on Terror.” Originally referred to as Operation Enduring Freedom, the U.S. invasion was America’s response to the attacks of 9/11, still the deadliest terrorist strike in world history. Home to the training camps and masterminds behind the 9/11 carnage, Afghanistan was the proper target for an aggrieved and angry nation intent on punishing the perpetrators – and preventing future attacks. But somewhere along the line, this operation evolved into a conflict that historian Andrew J. Bacevich Sr. termed the “Permanent War for Permanent Peace.” And it has left our nation weary, if not apathetic.
Costing somewhere between $1.5 trillion and $5.6 trillion and the lives of nearly 6,000 U.S. service members (including 2,347 OEF deaths as of August 2018), the ultimate burden of war has been borne by an increasingly small portion of the population. And while support for OEF in the wake of 9/11 was overwhelming, the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq made the overall “war on terror” increasingly unpopular and Afghanistan a distant concern.
The one aspect that galls me is that Americans seem to care not for our troops that are dying in Afghanistan…..
While most of America has been fixated on the Kavanaugh accusations and the Senate’s embarrassing attempt to handle those, the eighth U.S. service member of 2018 was killed in America’s longest war on Thursday. You likely didn’t hear about it in the news unless you saw a defense reporter tweet about it or you know a veteran who mentioned it. A single U.S. death in Afghanistan no longer draws media attention because Americans have become apathetic to the never-ending conflict, which has allowed our elected representatives to become indifferent to any sort of sustainable solution or realistic withdrawal.
This year the Afghan war is on track to cost the taxpayer $45 billion. The Taliban holds more territory today than they have since the post-9/11 invasion in 2001, and they show no indication of real interest in a sustainable peace agreement despite the United States’s high hopes for talks. The Taliban don’t want peace, nor do they want to share territory with the Afghan government. They want to rule Afghanistan the way they did prior to 9/11 and the Oct. 7, 2001, invasion.
We have at least one Congressman that wants an end to this war…..
On the 17th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Afghanistan, one American congressman has called for its end.
Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said in a statement on Sunday that “American troops should come home” from Afghanistan, since our current course there is “not in our national interest.”
The U.S. presence in Afghanistan began on Oct. 7, 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“Our objectives following that attack were to destroy Al-Qaeda, kill Osama bin Laden, and prevent a recurrence of an ungoverned space in Afghanistan that allowed for terrorists to plot and plan attacks on Americans and our allies. We accomplished all of those objectives years ago.”
I try to keep my readers updated on the events in our many wars…I hope this synopsis was helpful…..