Charles Ray addresses what many of us what to know — the truth about Afghanistan. Like many who were willing to trust our military and civilian leaders in the years following the 9-11-01 terrorist attack, I’ve been watching their expert advice and predictions turn out to be wrong.
If we hope to finally reach the day American troops can pack up their belongings and come back to their families, Washington must start viewing the war with clear eyes.
Last week, three U.S. service members were killed in an improvised explosive device attack near Bagram Air Base, an operation subsequently claimed by the Taliban. The deaths of Christopher Slutman of Newark, Delaware, Robert A. Hendriks of Locust Valley, New York, and Benjamin S. Hines of York, Pennsylvania take the number of U.S. troop fatalities in Afghanistan this year to seven.
It’s the latest grim reminder of a war that has proceeded on an almost autopilot for more than a decade and a half. Hitting its 17th anniversary last October, the conflict has gone on for such a long time that new recruits are being reminded by their drill sergeants about why the United States is involved.
The amount of resources and attention Washington has allocated in pursuit of the unattainable—a fully democratic Afghanistan free of corruption and patrimony, governed by the rule of law rather than the rule of the gun—would be the stuff of comedies if it weren’t for the price tag attached to the effort: 2,242 U.S. troop fatalities, tens of thousands of additional injuries (many life-altering), and nearly $1 trillion in American treasure.
Read more: The Federalist
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