So a good thing was done, but in a horrible way.
Yes, I’m talking about the final withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of our twenty year war and occupation there. Its end should be celebrated, but because of the way it was done it only deserves horror.
With the abrupt pullout, the Taliban has swept across the country taking it province by province.
In 2006 I joined the Air Force Reserves as a structural civil engineer, and in 2011 I deployed to eastern Afghanistan along the border with Pakistan where I served as an overnight intelligence analyst for my commanders in addition to my trained job of building lodging in Forward Operating Bases.
At the start I had high hopes for the future of Afghanistan and our effort there, despite the war already having gone on for ten years at that point. But I saw so much waste, so many aimlessly shifting missions, and witnessed clear theft by contractors of government equipment that I left cynical and embittered.
We had the longest war in US history that already cost taxpayers almost 2 trillion dollars (also including the Iraq war) with another 2 trillion estimated in healthcare and related costs for veterans over the next many decades; more than 6,000 lives of US military and contractors; more than 66,000 Afghan military; and more than 47,000 Afghan civilians. [AP NEWS]
And now tens of thousands of Afghan citizens who helped the US as translators, custodians, construction workers, and soldiers will now be facing punishment, imprisonment, and execution at the hands of the Taliban. They know this, which is why there have been so many tragic attempts to flood military bases and airports, taking desperate measures to try and board planes leaving their current country for what they’d hoped would be their new one.
That is the true tragedy in this immediate withdrawal. And it was entirely preventable. This plan of withdrawal has been in the works for months, and takeover by the Taliban was an unpleasant certainty. That entire time should have been spent processing visas and placing refugees in America.
We had a war that only enriched the corrupt, sacrificed so many of our own men and women, killed almost as many innocent civilians as it did enemy combatants, and have abandoned allies searching for liberty and prosperity in a new homeland.
Shame on our leaders. All of them.