Ending the War in Afghanistan

 The following reports come from the Manchester Guardian and Reuters News Agency.


 “A US soldier has shot dead sixteen Afghan civilians, nine of them children, in a night-time shooting spree in a village outside his base in southern Afghanistan…. The unprecedented attack on families asleep in their homes came as anti-foreign sentiment was already running high after Afghans discovered US troops had burned copies of the Qur’an at a military base….  This is not the first time US soldiers have intentionally killed Afghan civilians but the toll is unprecedented for a single soldier. The soldier, who was reported to be a staff sergeant and father of three who has done three tours of duty in Iraq, was arrested after the assault. 

The discovery [of the Qur’an burning] prompted days of deadly violence. The killings in the early hours of Sunday morning are likely to fuel more anger across Afghanistan and raise questions in Kabul and the US about the future of an increasingly unpopular war.

A string of abuses has soured attitudes to foreign military. A group of US soldiers killed three Afghan civilians for sport in 2010 in a different part of Kandahar province. In January, a video surfaced showing US Marines apparently urinating on the corpses of three insurgents, and in February anger flared over the burning of the Qur’an. This latest incident, together with the rising number of coalition and other US troops killed at the hands of Afghan security forces, has pushed ties between Hamid Karzai and his backers to a low point.”

“The massacre of 16 villagers by a U.S. soldier has triggered angry calls for an immediate American exit from Afghanistan as Washington tries to negotiate a long-term presence to keep the country from sliding back into chaos again. Just days before Sunday’s attack, Kabul and Washington had made significant progress in negotiations on a Strategic Partnership Agreement that would allow American advisors and special forces to stay in Afghanistan after foreign combat troops leave at the end of 2014. But securing a full deal may be far more difficult now after the shooting spree … in the southern province of Kandahar, the Taliban heartland, which killed mostly women and children.”

I believe it is long past time for the United States to pull out of Afghanistan completely, and to have our only involvement be to support humanitarian relief and rebuilding efforts which other countries and organizations are leading. Most Americans don’t know how completely that country has already been destroyed by 11 & ½ years of war. The distrust of Americans and the U.S. military by the Afghan people is nearly complete. 1900 U.S. soldiers have been killed there, thousands and thousands more have been wounded and will need extensive care, and there are estimates that 30% or more of soldiers who served in Afghanistan or Iraq will need long-term mental and emotional care in the United States. Those of you who have been alive as long as I have will remember statements by American politicians and military leaders that they saw “light at the end of the tunnel” in Vietnam. That light turned out to be an oncoming train.

We can certainly disagree over whether war is ever necessary. While there are no perfect solutions in Afghanistan, it’s time for all of us to agree that in this particular war, it is long past time for us to end our participation in it.




Posted on March 13, 2012 at 11:32 am in Featured Content.

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