August 25, 2017

Will our war in Afghanistan ever end

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

October will mark the 16th year since President George W. Bush announced the first strikes against Afghanistan. In June of 2010 we surpassed Vietnam as the longest conflict in U.S. history. President Obama tried to end the combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, but the U.S. and Afghanistan governments reached an agreement to keep some American troops in country even after the combat mission ended. Various contingents of coalition troops remain in the country as well.

Three Presidents now have their hands tied to Afghanistan. President Bush addressed the nation from the White House to announce the first airstrikes in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. Obama made major prime-time addresses to announce both troop build-ups and withdrawals. And now President Donald Trump used his first prime-time address from the White House to announce the number of troops serving in Afghanistan, approximately 8,400 prior to the televised speech, would be extended a little more than 12,000.

Then United States has lost 2,403 soldiers in Afghanistan. 2010 was the deadliest year with 499 U.S. soldiers and 711 members of coalition forces were killed in action. By comparison 4,523 U.S. troops have been killed since the Iraq war began in 2003.

The citizens of Afghanistan have paid a heavy price. Tens of thousands are thought to have died since 2001. The United Nations recently reported that 3,498 Afghan civilians were killed in 2016 alone and 7,920 were injured, making it the deadliest year for civilian casualties since he U.N. began counting in 2009. At the half year mark of 2017 in July there had been 1,662 deaths and 3,581 injured.

Brown University has a Cost of War Project. The group estimates the total cost of the war to be $783 billion through fiscal year 2016. That numbers swells to 1.8 trillion when factoring in long-term spending like veterans' care interest on debt, researchers found. One Congressional Research Service Report estimated the operational cost of the war in Afghanistan was $686 billion through 2014.

When will it end?

President Trump said he does not want to stay in Afghanistan to build a Nation. He wants to stay only to eliminate the terrorists. If this is the plan then I don't think we will ever leave Afghanistan. There are always new terrorists raised thanks to our presence in their country. We may kill more and have more control in the nation of Afghanistan but there seems to be a root of evil that will never be eliminated. Children are being taught by ISIS and the Taliban to hate; especially America, Christian nations, and countries were women and people are treated equally.

Sadly people in Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern nations have fought among themselves for centuries. While we don't want Afghanistan to be wide open for terror cells to once again topple and control towns, just how long will we stay to fight this enemy?

While I like President Trump's vision to eliminate all the bad guys and then we will get out of the country, I personally don't see it happening. Because as soon as we leave the terrorists who have been hiding out somewhere else will return and we will back in Afghanistan again. This means for the rest of our lives we will work in America to pay taxes to maintain military bases in Afghanistan so we can keep several thousand troops present and ship more soldiers there quickly as the tide of violence returns.

By the way, just a medium size military base costs about $1.553 billion to operate a year. A Small base costs about $828 million more or less to operate each year. One spokesman for the U.S. led International Security Assistance Force says there are nearly 400 U.S. and coalition bases in Afghanistan including camps, forward operating bases, and combat outposts. In addition, there are at least 300 Afghan National Army and Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police bases, most of them built, maintained or supported by the United States. So do the math and you can see why somebody in America has to work just to keep these mega money drainers operating.

Now you know why you can't have your full Social Security retirement check at 65. Your money is going elsewhere and will be for a long time - probably forever.

Will our war in Afghanistan ever end? The end is not in sight.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.

This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers.


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