Why We Have Troops in Afghanistan

It’s hard to believe that this week we will again honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. It’ll be twelve years already. Few would have predicted a decade ago that we’d still have troops in Afghanistan. Not long ago the Department of Defense announced the 2,200th American died in our war in Afghanistan; what a conspicuous milestone.

The gravest threat to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is particularly evil and remains a real concern for our troops in theatre – that is a the continued threat from Inside-the-Wire attacks, in which gunmen dressed in the uniforms of the Afghan army or police open fire on American or coalition troops.

Don’t put your head in the sand about what is happening over there. As 2014 approaches and the completion of the ISAF mission draws nearer, risks to our troops remain. Regardless of your political affiliation or feelings on America’s longest war, you cannot escape the fact that there are our husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, loved ones and significant others over there now so that you can enjoy your freedom in the comforts of your cozy home.

Because of this, I thought it important to re-post this blog which was originally published in August 2011. It addresses why we have U.S. Troops in Afghanistan. It’s a topic that needs to stay at the forefront and it’s important that all Americans understand why our troops are there fighting.

The question was asked by a U.S. Citizen who does not agree with or who does not understand exactly why our men and women of the Armed Forces are in the Middle East.

The responses you see below are provided by Kent R. Jones, President and CEO of Defensive Countermeasures Institute, LLC. His personal experience with conflict is derived from over 35 years combined military and federal government service spanning five continents. He is also a veteran of US Special Operations.

Q: Can someone remind me why we are in Afghanistan?

Jones:  [Name] with all due respect, Al Qaeda used training bases in Taliban controlled Afghanistan to launch the 9-11 terror attacks. Coalition forces continue to fight to deny return to power of the Taliban, and support a fledgling democracy under Afghan President Karzai. It is a sad day, but the troopers who lost their lives knew what they were fighting for – their lives were not lost in vain.

Q: Our country needs to get its head out of its ass! I will always support our troops no matter where our screwed up government sends them.

Jones: I have not called into question your support of the troops. I commented directly with a reminder of the reason we are still in Afghanistan. Your suggestion that our country “has its head up its ass” is far too narrow as a viewpoint. I fail to see the implied correlation between misguided foreign policy and the selfless sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. We live in a Democracy. Soldiers do not send themselves to war…their elected officials do. Voters—and presumably you exercise this right— have a civil responsibility to become educated with a broad range of universal issues and recognize that actions at the ballot box have far reaching consequences, often affecting the lives of Patriots standing watch over the Republic.

The tragic loss of US military lives is a blunt reminder of the only tangible American debt—that is the debt owed these brave men and others who have given their lives in defense of freedom. Do you really want to know, “why are we there?” The answer is quite clear. “Because you choose to live free, and that is only made possible by the men and women of the Armed Forces.” You and every other freedom loving American are the reason why we are still there.

To truly support the troops you have to have a full understanding of why we fight. Freedom is not free. It comes at a high price in blood and treasure. Being unclear on why we are there offers nothing toward the debt owed our service men and women. They deserve better.

That pretty much sums it up, wrapped in a bow. No fancy closing needed by me.  If you had any question why we are in Afghanistan, I trust now you have a better understanding.

 

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.  ~Cynthia Ozick

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