America’s 2nd Longest War: Afghanistan’s Taliban no weaker

America’s 2nd Longest War

America’s 2nd Longest War

October 7, 2001 is the date. The invasion of Afghanistan by NATO forces with the goal of capturing or killing al Qaeda’s leaders who masterminded a cowardly attack on civilians in the United States on September 11, 2001 began. A secondary part of the military action was to remove the Taliban regime from power. Today’s date is January 9th 2013, and we’re still there.

“Operation Enduring Freedom” has become our country’s 2nd longest war. Vietnam, considered to have begun in 1955 remains the longest. As the Soviet Union discovered between 1979 and 1989, a war in Afghanistan is not winnable. With the assistance of United States military aid, the Russians were forced to remove all military from the region. The Afghan freedom fighters, led by Osama bin Laden were victorious.

Osama bin Laden and Taliban leaders fled to neighboring Pakistan as NATO troops, (mostly from the U.S.), rushed into Afghanistan. George W. Bush refused to follow them with sufficient force because Pakistan is an ally of the United States. For over 12 years our youngest and finest have been placed in harm’s way. And what has been accomplished?

The Taliban are no weaker. They will still be a powerful force in the country when our soldiers leave. The Afghan government, led by Hamid Karzai, is corrupt and undoubtedly will be overrun by Taliban forces whenever all NATO forces are removed. Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden was found and is dead. He was discovered in a compound in Pakistan, where he had been living for quite some time. A team of Navy Seals attacked the compound in a nighttime raid, and accomplished their mission.

President Obama is considering the removal of all military forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. I think it’s about time. From the war’s inception to the end of the 2011 fiscal year, the monetary cost had been approximately 468 billion dollars. The deployment of a single soldier is estimated to be a 1 million dollar expenditure for a single year. In the first ten years at least 1780 men and women from the United States lost their lives serving their country.

As of 2003, the United States had bases in 36 countries. These include some of our strongest allies, Great Britain, Japan, Germany, France, and Italy. My research into American Imperialism was unable to produce the total cost of operating these bases all over the world, but it must be in the billions. In many of the countries where we have a presence multiple bases exist. There is an effort to reduce ‘entitlement’ programs, spearheaded by the Republican Party. That same party is reluctant to cut defense spending.

Politicians love a good war. Nothing is ever won waging a war, but the focus of their inability to govern is removed if our military is engaged in battle somewhere in the world. The cost of war is never balanced by the result. In the case of Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq our losses have been unthinkable. The loss of life, and the expense border on criminal action.

Why not bring all of our soldiers home now? We could replace them with every card carrying member of the NRA. (That’s a topic for another time.)

James Turnage
Columnist-The Guardian Express

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