That regrettable number was reached Sept. 29 and continued to increase this past week.
United States involvement in Afghanistan has gone on too long. Many of us believed we would never again see a military campaign that would put so many Americans in harm's way for so many years. After our lengthy, bloody war in Vietnam, how could this happen?
Some would have us believe that the cost has been minimal. After all, we lost 68,000 Americans in the Vietnam War and only 2,000 in Afghanistan. One America life lost is one too many.
Going on the attack to take out Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks was right. Our presence still there in 2012 is wrong.
When will American leaders realize that we can be neither the world's police force nor the sacred deliverer of democracy. If we are to police the globe and impart freedom to
all – ridding countries of tyranny and repressive rule and atrocities – we need a much bigger military with fewer deployments per service member. That's not going to happen, and we simply cannot be the saviors of the Earth.
Defending democracy and protecting America are not achieved by such mistaken and arrogant expeditionary crusades as invading Iraq and remaining for years in Afghanistan. These dangerous forays into these countries are two more examples of bad decisions by American political leaders.
Many Americans ask why we didn't learn from our war in Vietnam. Most are not wrong to ask that.
Iraq was a blunder because Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his military could not have possibly done us any harm. And digging in so deep, for so long, in Afghanistan has been political stupidity.
Harold Macmillan, the British conservative prime minister from 1957 to 1963, said the number one rule in politics is to never invade Afghanistan.
Yet, there we are. All these years after the Sept. 11 attacks, we're still entrenched in Afghanistan.
Now we're losing American heroes there in so-called insider attacks, also known as green-on-blue attacks. The deadly attacks are carried out by Afghan national soldiers and police officers, who are supposed to be our allies, the good guys. More than 50 coalition troops have died this year in these insider attacks. Last year, 35 were killed.
How can our leaders justify such ongoing foreign wars, and how have they seen fit to support foreign leaders who have been shown to be nothing more than tyrannical dictators or crooks or thugs?
Back in the mid-1970s, we did not come to the aid of Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouge slaughtered thousands upon thousands of Cambodians and ruled in the most murderous ways imaginable. That was a regime that certainly needed to be destroyed, yet the world watched and let the killing fields of Cambodia be realized. An international coalition should have gone in and wiped out the Khmer Rouge, according to the reasoning behind our Afghanistan campaign.
Has a United Nations force or a NATO coalition ever intervened to stop the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan? Some 400,000 people have lost their lives in the years of genocide there, and more than 2.5 million have been displaced.
Has an international force of allies gone into the Congo? Violence and disease have taken 3 million lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since 1998.
Darfur and the Congo and many places in the world need policing and peace. We can't do it all, and we certainly haven't achieved it during more than a decade in Afghanistan. We should not spill any more blood and lose any more lives trying to do so.
Our efforts and our focus should be on homeland security; protection of the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska and U.S. possessions; the security of our borders and of our neighbors in our hemisphere; effective diplomatic relations with as many countries in the world as possible; and on the projection of military missions on exact
targets – on terrorists such as those who recently killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens
and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and those terrorists who just today killed a Yemeni security officer who worked for the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, American and coalition forces are supposed to be in a
transitional period, preparing Afghan soldiers and police to take over the security of their country. In the Vietnam War, the transition was called Vietnamization. Whatever it might be called in Afghanistan, America and its allies need to speed it up. The troops there need to come home.