How do U.S. veterans feel about leaving Afghanistan?
Many Americans have strong opinions about U.S. foreign policy and the way our lawmakers use the military, and rightfully so.
Citizens have a responsibility to hold lawmakers accountable for their decisions, especially when sending their fellow Americans into harm’s way.
For the veteran and military family community, these opinions come from years of experience.
Service members, veterans, and military families bear the heaviest burdens in wartime. They sacrifice their time, their talent, their bodies, their lives, and their loved ones to keep our country safe.
For many who fought in the post-9/11 wars, the news of a full withdrawal from Afghanistan is not only welcome, but long overdue.
We asked our veterans on staff and in our community to tell us how they feel about the U.S. finally ending the war in Afghanistan:
“It’s long past time to bring our troops home”
I witnessed September 11 and deployed on day one to ground zero. We were justified in going to Afghanistan. But my own deployment there was long after our original goals were achieved, supporting failed nation-building efforts that cost the lives of friends. It’s long past time to bring our troops home.
John Byrnes, Afghanistan War veteran
U.S Army and U.S. Marine Corps
“Memorialize those who paid the ultimate price”
When I look at leaving Afghanistan through the lens of years of fighting, hardship, and sacrifice I see the long-awaited opportunity for closure – to memorialize those who paid the ultimate price. I also see the opportunity for healing for those mourning losses and those coping with visible and invisible wounds of combat.
Sam Rogers, Afghanistan War veteran
“This is good news”
I am glad to see us leave Afghanistan. I was deployed in September, 2001, and not a single person I deployed with could have imagined that we would still have troops deployed there 20 years later. This is good news and I hope this trend continues with Iraq, Syria, and beyond.
Nate Banks, Afghanistan War and Iraq War veteran
“Focus our efforts in areas that will most benefit America”
When I was in Afghanistan, our mission was to go on patrol and get into fire fights with the Taliban. Despite our efforts, counterinsurgency and nation-building had little effect on the outcome of the war after we accomplished our initial mission early on. Continuing those strategies will not work in the future. It is time to get out and focus our efforts in areas that will most benefit America.
Jonathan Ramirez, Afghanistan War veteran
“Help those whose lives have been destroyed..begin to heal”
My cousin was 25 years old when he took his life shortly after returning home from Afghanistan in 2017. Bringing an end to this war will help those whose lives have been destroyed by the nearly two decades of war begin to heal.
Roseanne Rodriguez, Iraq War veteran
“We lost good soldiers protecting fruitless nation-building”
We lost good soldiers protecting fruitless nation-building efforts in Afghanistan. While I don’t believe those sacrifices were in vain and am proud of my service, I don’t buy the argument that we are keeping America safe or honoring the sacrifices of our fallen by staying in Afghanistan. We can protect our interests through efforts that do no include boots on the ground.
Luis Vega, Afghanistan veteran
“I am thankful my son came home safe”
As a father of a veteran who has served in Afghanistan, I am thankful my son came home safe and hopeful that no other parents will have to wait at home as their children deploy to Afghanistan. I hope our leaders will end our nation’s other endless wars so that no parent sends their child to a conflict that doesn’t serve our interests here at home.
Russ Duerstine, veteran and military parent
U.S. Air Force