Monday, August 23, 2021

Opinion: The Unfolding Disaster in Afghanistan

Matt Corey
By Matthew Corey, USN Veteran

Republican Candidate for US Senate 2018

News from Afghanistan is unfolding at a rapid pace. The conditions on the ground are heartbreaking.  Politicians are blaming the withdrawal of American troops, before the withdrawal of civilians on incompetence, with each party pointing to the other side of the aisle.  The Commander in Chief must be fully accountable for what is happening in Afghanistan.  His appointed officials at the highest levels should bear the same responsibility for what is transpiring.

I remember my WW II veteran father telling us to be quiet while the news was on. News Hour was Dad’s time and we watched and listened with him.  I was eleven years old; we were watching the evacuation of troops from Vietnam.  We had also watched the protests prior to the end of the War.  I remember the chaos as I watched the last flights out of Saigon.  I looked over and asked my dad if the war was over and did we win?  I don’t remember if he actually gave me an answer.  I soon learned that we weren’t allowed to win because of a lack of political courage and that the war against communism would never end.  Our Veterans started returning home to a not-so-welcoming country, which was devastating for our troops and the country as a whole.

Editor’s Note: The North Vietnamese Communists later admitted they were on the verge of surrendering when America agreed to “peace” terms.  American forces had devastated the Viet Cong army.  They had been pounded down; their capacity to make war was nearly depleted.  Had the US held out for a few weeks longer, countless lives would have been saved and the needless suffering of millions of people would have been avoided.

As I watch the news, I see President Biden blame the last Administration for the agreements that were put in place with the Taliban.  In his position as President, he can override any previous deals.

While it is completely naive to believe former President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo could negotiate with the same terrorist group that helped and harbored Al-Qaeda, I believe they would have handled the withdrawal from Afghanistan in a more orderly, efficient and safe manner.

Surely, the previous administration would have assured the safety of the tens of thousands of Americans and the tens of thousands of Afghans who aided America and her allies.  Surely, the previous administration would not have allowed a vast arsenal of heigh-tech weaponry to fall into the hands of barbarians!  Surely, the previous administration would not have left a humanitarian crisis the likes of which have not been seen since the end of the Vietnam War!

It is my opinion that most Americans have no stomach for endless wars when there isn’t a clear mission.  I understand that we have been there for 20 years, but we also have had troops in Europe and Asia for close to three quarters of a century. Why? To keep the peace and protect the citizens, while also monitoring our interests.

It takes generations to change the hearts and minds of people.  What better way to bring about positive change than to introduce freedom and liberty in a part of the world that hasn’t known them?  That is something to defend at all costs.  It also requires protection of the newly freed, and guidance over time.  No other country knows that better than the United States.

I watched President Bush’s speech to America and our allies before the invasion of Afghanistan.  The purpose of the mission was to rid the country of terrorists and to help the Afghan people.   Now, we are witnessing our politicians turn their back on the promises they made, not only to America, but to the world.

In my opinion, keeping a small force, with air support to keep the Taliban out of Afghanistan would have been well worth it.  Was the Afghan Government corrupt?  I believe so.  There are corrupt politicians all over the world, including here in the United States.  The cost of leaving troops in Afghanistan would pale in comparison to the suffering the Afghan people and surrounding countries will have to endure, now that they have been abandoned to the Taliban.

With what has transpired, even we will be less safe in our homeland.

I can only imagine how the brave men and women who made sacrifices to the mission, along with our friends and allies in “Enduring Freedom”, must feel knowing this is the outcome.

I wonder if Gold Star families, who will miss and mourn their losses forever, believe this was all worth it.  It's not our military that has failed us; it’s our political leadership that has failed our military and our citizens, once again.

We can only hope that those in positions of power can come together with honesty to, and for, the American people, and do the right thing.  God bless the United States and our brave men and women who protect our freedoms around the world.

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