As events continue to unfold in Afghanistan, veterans of the war are left thinking back on their deployments and wondering if withdrawal was the right choice.
Army veteran Sam Rogers, who served multiple deployments in Afghanistan, writes in USA Today that the tragic events over the last few weeks have been difficult for him to watch, but he is “still confident that withdrawing our troops was and is the right decision.”
Rogers combats the narrative that the fall of the Afghanistan government is proof more American troops need to be there:
The opposite is true. Sending more troops to Afghanistan would only cause the United States to lose more money, more resources and more lives in a fight that we were never going to win. It would put a target on the backs of our warfighters as the Taliban ended their truce with U.S. forces and resumed attacks.
When 20 years of work crumbles in a matter of days and weeks, the prudent answer is not to send more resources. Rather, it should mean a harsh look back at what went wrong, and quickly getting remaining troops out of harm’s way so as not to run up the casualties any further. What limited interests we do have in Afghanistan can be seen to without a ground presence.
Operations in Afghanistan have long since stopped serving a vital interest at home. The original objectives were achieved years ago, and troops have been put into harm’s way for nation-building efforts that are not working.
Rogers concludes that what we’re seeing in Afghanistan is the responsibility of Washington, not the brave men and women who served.
I had my boots on the ground in Afghanistan. I saw with my own eyes how the mission creep and unattainable goals played out. I watched my brothers and sisters in uniform pay the price with their lives, bodies and minds. We did our jobs, serving honorably and courageously. Now is the time for our leaders to resoundingly remind and reinforce to our community that this was a policy failure, not a failure of our effort or sacrifice.
But the cost is not worth a war with no clear national security interests. Our foreign policy should be focused on what is best for us as a nation. And what is best for us in Afghanistan is to get out, not to stay put so that we can lose more slowly.
There will be a time for accountability. Right now, the priority should be seeing the safe withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan.
Do you agree with Rogers that withdrawal from Afghanistan is in our country’s best interest? Let your lawmaker know you support continuing to remove troops.