Monday, December 29, 2014

Another Inconclusive War's Bittersweet End

This week marked the formal end to the United States longest and most expensive war in the "Graveyard of Empires" better known as Afghanistan. Like the Soviets before us, our troops fought bravely and were never defeated on the battlefield yet leave without any true sense of victory. What was it all for? Our leaders blew the opportunity to end it early with the capture of the 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora Mountains and we never captured Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Worse, the Afghan Military seems incapable of keeping the country intact so long as their leaders continue to embrace tribalism over nationalism. While we'll still have a small force in the capital of Kabul, it smacks of another hard learned lesson that seems to have been ignored. 
When I was a kid I watched on live TV as the last U.S. Chopper lifted off the U.S. Embassy in Saigon ending our role in the Vietnam War. It was a sad sight. Our war in Vietnam was then our longest and costliest war which ended badly for us. So as we mark the end of the war in Afghanistan (A war that dragged on for 13 years with price tag that eclipsed Vietnam) one has to ask "Did we win?" Not really. Did we achieve our objectives? Yes and No. Did we leave a stable country ready to function in the world of nations? Probably not. Was it all worth it? You'll have to ask those brave men and women who put themselves on the line there while the rest of us did what President Bush told us what to do. To go on with our lives and go shopping. As the son of a Vietnam Vet all I can say for our tragic losses and largely unknown sacrifices and feats of heroism on the part of our troops is the Japanese phrase commonly used at the end of WWII MOTONAI - What a waste. Our troops should never be used like this again. The lesson of Vietnam was ignored and now we have a whole new generation of vets missing limbs and burdened with the scars of war also known as PTSD. Our troops deserve so much better.

No comments:

Post a Comment