It seems that no matter which side of the discussion you find yourself, the best we can hope for is that we actually have our military personal in mind. For me, when this all started in 2001, I was for military action. My feelings had nothing to do with my desire to punish anyone, or that I in someway love war. Rather, it seemed the best way to defeat our enemies and keep our country safe.
As this long drawn-out conflict has carried on, I have found myself asking if this really was the best course of action. Should we have committed trillions of dollars and countless mental and physical casualties to such an open-ended conflict? Was it and is it really worth the cost and did it keep us safe?
Knowing that I do not know everything and can never give a definitive answer, I have to deal with, the what is rather than the what should be. So, in that effort we come to the question concerning the military step down in Afghanistan. Last Thursday began the transition from international forces to Afghani forces doing the brunt of the fighting and America and her allies serving primarily in support roles.
The move to more Afghans fighting for their own freedom is good. It gives me hope that there might be an end to the conflict for us. Yet, Sunday we had to face a plea from Afghani President Ashraf Ghani. Who strongly suggests that a scale down of military operations by international forces is a mistake.
His concern, according to what he told “60 Minutes” Sunday Night, is that America should not set deadlines. He said, “Deadlines concentrate the mind. But deadlines should not be dogmas,” And though the thought of having all our troops out of the war zone by 2016 is a reason to rejoice, I think that Ghani might be on to something here.
I have always thought, and others have confirmed, that this whole deadline thing was not a very good idea. I mean, is it not kind of like putting your vacation schedule on social media. That will be the time your house is most likely to be broken into. If the Taliban knows when you are going to be leaving, why would they try and push you out. They will just wait you out.
This could be a time of training and building up for the push after we leave.
There are those who question the ability of the Afghan National Army. Do they have the training? Do they have the morale? Do they have the will to fight off the Taliban? It seems that there is a question as to whether or not this will be a handing over of the country to the enemy.
It has happened before in this war against terror. When we look at the outcome in Iraq, we should wonder if something similar will not happen in Afghanistan. Some have suggested that ISIS fighters might infiltrate the country after our military pulls out.
Military experts say that this is unlikely, but we felt sure that the military and governing structure in Iraq would be adequate to handle the remaining Islamists. We see all too clearly what a military vacuum is left when our forces leave. I agree that the infiltrating of ISIS is unlikely, but is there not the possibility that another group, just as vicious could?
Though some think that a constant military presence in the two countries is the answer. This is not an answer with which Americans can so easily live. Troops overseas cost increasingly more and is traumatizing to the family and the soldier. There is also the effect this type of presence has on the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. They do not want us there. No matter how much they want to not be the place terrorists come to train, our troops are foreign soldiers.
Think about there being a Russian military base just a town over from you. Having to see armed men from another country patrolling your streets and arresting your friends and family. Just because you are American does not change the way it would make you feel. Nor should we expect these people to like it either.
There is also the perception that this gives to the rest of the world. We seem to want to have our soldiers in ever country or region in the world. We are seen as the police of the nations. But is that what we want our sons and daughters doing? Fighting to keep other people free, when they have not the will to defend their own freedom?