In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the western world was in shock.
People from Europe to Asia watched to see if the unequivocal leader of the free world would blink. We didn’t.
The invasion of Afghanistan began, and support for the mission was largely uncontested.
We would destroy al-Qaeda’s foothold in Afghanistan and see Osama Bin Laden brought to justice for his heinous plot. The Taliban were rightly seen as the doorman to the region, and when our demands were not met, they became the friend of our enemy.
“We are a peaceful nation,” President Bush said as he announced the initial bombing of targets. “A commander in chief sends America’s sons and daughters into a battle, into a foreign land only after the greatest care and a lot of prayer.”
Given the release of the Washington Post’s “Afghanistan Papers,” there appears to have been more prayer than care, or likely little of either regarding our long-term objectives and how we would achieve them.
I was in Mr. Holden’s seventh-grade history classroom when the first plane struck.
I remember being sent home from school and walking in the front door to find my mother, with tears streaming down her face, watching the television in disbelief.
I remember hearing the frantic calls ensuring that friends and family had landed safely.
My fear and uncertainty soon turned to righteous anger and determination. We will never let this happen again, not my generation. We will remember.
Over the eighteen years since those events, millions of young men and women have volunteered and served at our nations request.
Our time in the Middle East and Southwest Asia has demonstrated a generation of warriors who have been able to blend chivalry and hostility, switching from one to the other at a moment’s notice based on the situation.
I deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines, both before and after Osama Bin Laden’s death, but my justification for being there died with him.
As far as the common man is concerned, that is when the war was over. Al-Qaeda was defeated, the Taliban had been driven into hiding, and the mastermind of 9/11 was dead.
It took longer than we thought, but mission accomplished, right? Unfortunately, decision makers in Washington had other plans.
Those that oppose the forever wars have not forgotten the evil perpetrated on 9/11, and my desire to see a world safe for future generations of Americans will never change.
I still believe that our initial invasion was justified, although the strategy beyond the first several years was a guessing game at best, and a live military exercise at worst.
In the year 2020, I hope that we will look back on the nearly two decades of war we have waged and see clearly though the eyes of history.
There is a time for war, and a time for peace.
In Afghanistan, the time has come for peace.
We are not at war with any competitive rivals there, and instead have been fighting a tribal faction war for someone else.
We do not owe any more American blood on the altar of someone else’s forever war.
Please join me and other veterans in supporting the efforts of BringOurTroopsHome.US.
In particular, join us in urging the legislature to enact a law requiring that Idaho’s National Guard troops can’t be deployed to foreign combat without a formal declaration of war as provided by the Constitution.
Ben Adams, of Nampa, is a Marine Corps veteran. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Adams can be reached at email@example.com