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Jul-13-2021 23:43printcomments

Leaving Afghanistan

It all started on Oct. 7, 2001....

US soldiers prepare for patrol with Afghan National Police.
Photo by Tim King, (2007)

(SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.) - I am a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam (1987-1988) as well as Germany and Okinawa. I agree with President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all our troops from Afghanistan, America’s longest-running war. Briefly, here’s why.

Maintaining the status quo there is no longer worth the time, cost, and most importantly, the risk to the American troops that would be needed to hold things together.

As Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a former ranger and veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, aptly put it, "If there was a military solution to the war, we would've found it years ago.”

The war cost 2,312 U.S. military lives, 20,066 wounded in action, an estimated 43,000 civilian deaths, and cost trillions of dollars. All the troops are expected to leave by August 31st, although reportedly, 90% have already left.

Our exit will undoubtedly facilitate a Taliban takeover or civil war.

It all started on Oct. 7, 2001, with American airstrikes against al-Qaida targets in retaliation for the Sept. 11 attacks. The Taliban government had given the terrorist group a safe haven from which it could carry out terror attacks.

When we put our troops on the ground, we had forgotten about the Russia-Afghan war (1979-1989). Like Russia, we became bogged down in a never-ending war. What if the U.S. had limited our intervention to airstrikes?

Spanish philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” When will the U.S. learn the lessons of our failed interventions in Vietnam, Syria, and Iraq?

A moral of our Afghanistan intervention— don’t start a war until you know how you're going to end it.

I see that Haiti has asked U.S. to send troops following its president’s assassination.


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