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A military father looks back one year after Afghanistan withdrawal

Helicopter Dustoff with American Soldiers on LZ

By Concerned Veterans for America

CVA Executive Director Russ Duerstine sees America’s endless wars from a unique perspective: that of a veteran, but also of a military parent.

In a recent piece in Military Times, Duerstine, father to an Iraq and Afghanistan combat veteran, shared his thoughts on the Afghanistan withdrawal in August 2021.

My mind went immediately to my son’s service in the Army in Afghanistan. I remember feeling relieved he’d been there many years earlier and was no longer in danger. But I also felt the weight of worry and fear felt by parents of the service members who were still there.

Some would see their children again; others would meet a flag-draped coffin at Dover Air Force Base. That is the heartbreaking reality of war and our nation’s foreign policy.

America’s military parents have seen their children deployed in conflicts around the world for more than 20 years because a lack of accountability and responsibility on Congress’s part.

Duerstine calls for our leaders to learn from the war in Afghanistan and use those learnings to reform America’s approach to war and military engagement.

As we continue to demand accountability for the handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and entire war, we should also be calling for a change to our whole approach to war, including our leaders’ propensity to lead with military engagement first and to use open-ended Authorizations for Use of Military Force instead of securing congressional approval.

Congress can do its job by learning from the war in Afghanistan as a whole, including both the strategic mistakes made in choosing to nation-build and in executing the withdrawal. It should apply those lessons to any current or future military engagements we consider.

Read the rest of Russ Duerstine’s piece in Military Times