Afghanistan — It’s time to bring our troops home
Recently I touched on a number of foreign policy issues but did not go into great depth. This week I believe a closer look at our actions and policy in Afghanistan require a deeper examination.
This is a war that began for the right reason. We were attacked on 9/11 by an enemy that was given safe sanctuary by the government in Afghanistan. Many would say that the Taliban government and Al Qaida were partners in many respects. President Bush acted responsibly by sending troops into Afghanistan.
In relatively short order the Taliban was defeated and Al Qaida was put on the run. That ends most of the good policy by American leaders. Karzai was given the helm and he has proven to be a disaster. Our policy changed to nation building and the result has been an 11-year war, the longest in our nation’s history.
The cost of this war has been extremely high, both in human cost and in dollars. To date over 2,000 of our brave men and women have died, seven more recently in a helicopter crash. The number of American deaths at the hands of the Afghan Army has skyrocketed during this last year.
To date more than 10,000 have been wounded; many more have sustained unseen injuries due to repeated combat tours. The sacrifice of military and our dedicated military families has always been high, but repeated separations with no end in sight and no victory perceived is unacceptable.
The dollars spent, or maybe better said, misspent, pale in comparison to the loss of life and limb; but it needs to be addressed.
In an era of $1.2 trillion deficits, what are we getting for the over $500 billion spent in Afghanistan? The answer is very little.
We have a president that has no intention of winning. We have a president that has announced to the enemy when we are leaving, 2014; and has stated a long-term commitment to a country that will be in Taliban hands in less than 12 months after our troops leave.
Does any of this make any sense to you? In fact from a dollar standpoint President Obama is far more committed to Afghanistan than President Bush was. Under Obama he has spent an average of $75 billion a year while Bush spent an average of $31.5 billion.
Why are we in the fix we are in and what is the solution?
First, we installed and have kept in power possibly the most corrupt leader in the world.
Second, under President Bush and continued under President Obama, we have a policy of “nation building.”
Nation building is the long-term commitment to rebuild a country we have defeated and the attempt to remake it in the image of the United States.
History would tell us that Great Britain and the Soviet Union failed at this task; what makes us believe our result would be any different?
The locals don’t want us there. Will we ever learn? Why are we borrowing the money for our operations there? In a time when we have a $16 trillion debt, we simply cannot afford it.
The solution is quite simple, and it is a solution that is long overdue. We should begin withdrawal immediately and be out of the country by the first of 2013. How do we accomplish this?
We — yes, you and I — must contact our three elected members of Congress and say enough is enough. There are 535 members of Congress; I will be so bold as to state that if 300 of them were military veterans we would have left Afghanistan many years ago.
Will you join me in writing Congress? Our brave military men and women should never be asked to fight a war that our political leaders don’t intend to win.
Our national coffers are empty and our cemeteries are full, yet we continue in a war no one has the guts to end. So much for political courage.
[Kent Kingsley was a Republican candidate for Congress in the Third Congressional District which includes Fayette and Coweta counties. He is a retired U.S. Army Infantry lieutenant colonel, owns a small real estate company in Lamar County and lives in Milner, between Griffin and Barnesville. He is an advocate for the Fair Tax, balanced budgets and federal term limits.]