Exhaustion in Afghanistan

This week, our group read that the United States is keeping troops in Afghanistan. This monumental turn of events has forced us to change our focus this week. We have gathered multiple articles on this issue to fully examine this issue and to have a full understanding of the both causes and effects this will have.

MG: So what I’m hearing from this CNN article is that we may be ignoring the human cost when we are talking about the redeployment in terms of numbers.

MS: It seems as though some troops are feeling upset because when they enlisted they were told there was a deadline by which they would be home. Now the deadline has been undone. The troop withdrawal has a new deadline, but because it has been postponed already, the war really has no tangible end in the near future.

ML: This is disheartening because the wars raging in the Middle East always seem to have an end in sight, and then that gets pushed back even farther right as we seem to reach the end of the tunnel.

LC: This makes me wonder what type of response President Obama was expecting when he made this announcement. He must have known he would be making many troops and military families frustrated and I’m wondering if he has any positive visions for the future of those suffering.

MG: While the human cost on american soldiers lives and families is great. On the upside it seems that the current president of Afghanistan is much more willing to work with US led forces than his predecessor, or his counterpart in Iraq. So hopefully this continued cooperation will be at least somewhat successful in winding down the conflict.

MS: I agree. I find it really interesting how willing the military families are to continue with how their lives are in order to allow the US to continue its involvement in preventing terrorism in the Middle East.

LC: This definitely takes a large emotional toll on families who have been involved in the war in Afghanistan. As stated in the CNN article, military families were once viewed to have enthusiasm and pride about the war but now all they feel is “infectious” exhaustion.

ML: It is understandable to to have caution when pulling out of Afghanistan after what happened in Iraq. It would be devastating to see terrorist organizations take advantage of a recovering country.

MG: I mean on the one hand Sunk Cost Fallacy, just because we’ve put so much effort into Afghanistan doesn’t make it necessary to keep throwing lives, and money into the conflict. But on the other hand it seems almost disrespectful to let all the American lives lost trying to bring peace to the country be in vain.

LC: To me this sounds like a situation where the United States feels the need to “finish what they’ve started.”

ML: I agree that the we need to ensure that the lives lost in Afghanistan were not in vain however if that means spending decade after decade protecting Afghanistan, just like in South Korea where we have had troops since the Korean war. What message would it send to the world if the US has troops stationed in countries all over the world?

MG: In one of the articles some stuff was mentioned about the drone war and the numbers there are both confusing and mildly worrying. “During that period, there were 56 airstrikes that killed 35 suspects. Those strikes also killed 219 people who do not appear to have been specifically targeted but were labeled “enemy killed in action,” the documents showed.”

ML: This whole situation is hard to fully encompass as it has so many pieces moving in so many different directions adding to the confusion.

The war in Afghanistan has been a complicated issue for over a decade. How we decide to get out of a war is just as important as how we get into one. We have to be responsible as a country to make sure that we don’t make the situation any worse.

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