Last Updated on October 7, 2013.
America’s Longest War Turns 12
The longest war in America’s history is now 12 years old, and, unfortunately, it is not over yet.
American troops are finally on their way home, but current plans leave uncertain the fate of tens of thousands of troops who may yet be asked to continue the fight in Afghanistan for years to come. President Obama has announced a drawdown from the current levels of roughly 60,000 troops to just over 30,000 by February of 2014, but there are no clear plans for after that. While the President has pledged to ‘continue to bring our troops home,’ the size and scope of a proposed post-2014 ‘legacy force’ remains uncertain. While the Pentagon pushes to keep as many troops as possible in Afghanistan, the American public has made it clear that they want our troops home, now. Over the past year, both the House and the Senate have voted to stand with the American public in calling for an end to the war. It is long past time that we did just that.
After 12 years, it’s time we finally turn the page on the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
- There simply is no military solution in Afghanistan. Experts of all stripes and our senior military leaders agree that, while challenges remain, only a political settlement will ultimately bring security and stability to Afghanistan. Our men and women in uniform have done everything asked of them, and now they deserve to have us to right by them by bringing them home. A lasting solution to nearly four decades of conflict in Afghanistan will depend on Afghans and their neighbors reaching political settlement, not U.S. military personnel.
- The American public is sick and tired of war. Poll after poll shows that the American public has soured on the use of military force in trying to solve problems that have no military solution. Earlier this year, Americans of all political stripes flooded Congress with calls and emails opposing an ill-advised military intervention in Syria. Polls show one of the key reasons is the lessons learned in the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, you cannot win a war on the battlefield that has no military solution. In Afghanistan, like Syria, Americans want to protect our troops by engaging in diplomacy, not more war.
- American interests are not advanced by another decade of war. While the U.S. has lasting interests in Afghanistan, as it does in nearly every country, reports indicate that the Pentagon is pushing to continue the failed policy of pursuing a military solution to challenges in Afghanistan. After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan, with Osama bin Laden dead and al Qaeda severely diminished, it is past time to end the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. American interests will be best served in Afghanistan by supporting a political settlement and the growth of civil society. After 12 years of constant battle, there is simply nothing more to be gained by continued fighting.