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A Decade of War: Turning the Page on 10 Years of War

On October 7, 2001, the United States officially began Operation Enduring Freedom and the war in Afghanistan. Now, ten years later, America finds itself struggling to conclude a decade of relentless war that has cost trillions of dollars and an untold number of lives. While we have begun the process of bringing our troops home, the Pentagon currently plans to maintain tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan, fighting a war that even their commanders admit has only a political solution.

Our brave men and women in uniform have done their duty. Now it’s time to bring them home and finally turn the page on a long decade of war.

American national security depends on a less militarized foreign policy. It did not take 100,000 troops in Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden, and it will not take another decade of war to keep America safe. American national security depends on the effective use of all the instruments of our foreign policy, not just the military. By turning the page on war, America can focus on 21st century national security solutions, while rebuilding the foundations of America’s strength and security by growing our economy, putting Americans back to work, and paying down our federal deficit.

Afghanistan’s future depends on Afghans, not American soldiers. There is unanimous agreement that the future of Afghanistan depends on Afghans and their regional allies implementing a political solution. There is simply no military solution to the current challenges faced in Afghanistan and maintaining an American military presence only delays the inevitable political process while needlessly putting our troops in harms way.

The human and economic costs of a decade of war are simply unsustainable. American soldiers have paid dearly for a decade of war with over 6,200 having made the ultimate sacrifice while nearly 50,000 have been wounded. Unwilling to pay a cent for the war when the troops were deployed, the price tag for a decade of war is at least $3-5 trillion , paid for entirely on the nation’s credit card. Without a change of policy, America is poised to spend hundreds of billions more in the decade to come, adding to our nation’s deficit and wasting precious resources desperately needed at home.

Now is the time to turn the page on a decade of war and bring our troops home! 

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Austin Strain is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder, majoring in Political Science. He is interested in domestic politics, international affairs with an emphasis in the Middle East and civil rights. In his free time, Austin enjoys lifting weights at the gym and maintaining a healthy di[...]

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