By Mary Hladky
As the mother of an Army Infantry Officer who served for 13 months during Obama’s Afghanistan surge, in the Zhari District of the Kandahar Province, I feel tremendous relief that President Biden is calling the troops home from Afghanistan. I also feel an overwhelming sadness for the men and women who served in Afghanistan, especially for those who did not come home, were injured (physically or mentally), or committed suicide. I also feel great sadness for the huge losses and suffering the Afghan people endured and will continue to endure in their homeland, destroyed by 20 years of war.
As the Afghanistan Papers confirmed, the military and the U.S. government knew early on that the Afghanistan War was a debacle and could not be won. Leadership did not understand Afghanistan; it did not have a strategy, nor could it define what winning meant. Yet our government and military were unwilling to admit the Afghanistan war could not be won, damn the consequences. These tragic decisions have destroyed people on all sides.
So what exactly did the Afghanistan war accomplish? The government has spent over $2 trillion dollars on a war that has brought us the death of 2,378 U.S. military men and women, plus more than 20,000 injured, which does not include those suffering from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Moral Injury, and those who committed suicide. Add the deaths and injuries of our allied troops and military contractors. Also, we must not forget the untold numbers of civilians who died or were injured, and the millions of Afghan refugees and internally displaced Afghans.
Read the rest of the story here: Reflections on a debacle—the Afghanistan war – United For Peace and Justice