A veteran's opinion | Beaufort County Now | For what purpose did we go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq?

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A Veterans Opinion

Watching the news this morning they were talking about the withdrawal of US troops from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. It got me to thinking about the numbers of American lives lost in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars.

It seems to me that we no longer send our young men and women to their deaths is pursuit of peace. Not since WWII have, we gone to war with the intent of winning. Now it seems we go to war with no end game in sight, no concrete objective in mind.

In Korea we settled for half of a country, in Vietnam not even that. We could only celebrate the release of several hundred POW’s. In our latest and longest “wars” we just withdrew from the field and even then, we leave a multitude of goodies to the enemy. Lots of equipment of various war fighting machines will be left behind, probably because some “number cruncher” decided it cost too much to bring it all back.

I will say we almost won the first Iraq war by destroying the enemy’s capability to fight but we left the instigator in power to continue his power-hungry leadership. It would come back to haunt us shortly thereafter.

The problem as I see it, is the politicians who are directing how our military will carry out our combat tactics when in fact it is the military leadership that should be in charge of how and when the troops will be deployed after a “declaration” of war by our governing authorities.

The failure to do this costs America the lives of some of its best and brightest and we will never see the results of what those lives could have contributed to the nation or the world. I believe that every politician who took part in the beginning or continuation of these “lost causes” should have to go to each family that has lost a loved one, or the soldiers that have returned missing limbs and shattered minds and beg their forgiveness. And accept the burden of causing the shattered lives.

In Iraq, 4,550 service members and 3,793 military contractors have died between March 2003 and October 2018. The numbers of U.S. soldiers who have died in Iraq do not paint a full picture of the death toll in the Middle East.

In roughly the same time period, 2,401 military members died between October 2001 and October 2018 in Afghanistan. In addition to military service members, U.S. contractors who worked with the military in Iraq and Afghanistan also lost their lives, both, in some cases, via improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. In Afghanistan, 3,937 military contractors died between October 2001 and October 2018.

I could find no number of the men and women who lost limbs or sight, but I do know that the VA hospitals and clinics are full of them.

I think the American  people must hold their leaders accountable for these foreign interventions that end in lost lives and treasure.




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