Leaving Afghanistan Was A Failure

Dear Editor,

Afghanistan is neither our longest nor our costliest conflict.  We have historically lost much more, over longer periods of time and for so much less.  In World War II, 407,316 US service members died after Japan attacked a naval base in what was, at the time, a US territory 2,500 miles away.  America suffered 54,260 and 47,434 casualties in Korea and Vietnam respectively to contain communism.  We have continued financially burdensome military presence in Europe, Japan, Korea and Kuwait.  We have remained actively postured for war at any moment in Korea for 70 years.  In 20 years, only 2,455 US military died in Afghanistan after an attack on US soil.

During Afghanistan withdrawal hearings, several elected officials defended pulling out of the lengthy, costly “never-ending” war.  The Taliban government aided killing 3,000 US civilians within our border.  At the center of those terrorist’s ideology was a racist demonization of westerners.  They despised our culture, racial integration and religious tolerance to the point that our lives meant nothing.  What is the point of a military when we lack the patience to defend our citizens from foreign attack?

Certainly, the decision when to leave or whether to stay was difficult three months ago.  In hindsight this was a monumental mistake.  Hopefully, the Taliban retaking Afghanistan will be the worst consequence.  Hope is a dangerous strategy.  We signaled failure to bring the war to the terrorists.  This was an enormous morale boost and political win for terrorism supporters.  The global environment greatly shifted.  Since intelligence failed leading up to the withdrawal, when we had boots on ground, it will logically worsen after departing the region.  Naive dependence on the same intelligence is insane.  Ignoring this shift and depending on previously failed intelligence will undoubtedly be disastrous.  In light of these changes, we need to reevaluate our antiterrorism defenses.  Now more than ever, we must secure the border.

We left Afghanistan, while terrorists continue the war.

Alan Burke