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Dateline Labor Day 2018
Labor Day is filled with barbeques, parades, family picnics and one final trip to the lake or shore. While the holiday honors America’s workers it also marks the end of summer and the beginning of school starting in most American communities. While we celebrate a great American holiday the war in Afghanistan will remain nothing more than a back-page headline in a few newspapers while families of loved ones deployed endure the absence of their son, sister, mother or father. For them, the war is very real and close to home this holiday weekend.
Operation Resolute Support (ORS) continues to support the fledging Afghanistan government in their fight against the Taliban with about 14 thousand American troops and some NATO alliance support. Seventeen years into this war it is long overdue to take full measure of what has been accomplished, what is still needed to be done. Do we have the right strategy and is the Afghanistan government committed to bring forth a stable Afghanistan that is something much more than a failed state threatening global security?
We are 17 years into the Long-Forgotten War. While this author does not advocate a date certain for bringing American troops home (just look at what Obama’s irresponsible withdrawal from Iraq brought forth) American forces and their families deserve to know what winning looks like. Besides “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here,” what are the conditions for American victory in Afghanistan? I want to emphasize the word “victory.” I trust our political and military leadership are not fighting for a stalemate; that they are fighting for more than not losing; and that they are fighting to win in the strategic national interest of the United States. As a new US commander takes the helm in Afghanistan for ORS it is worth revisiting all these things and for President Trump to remind the American people what it is we are doing in Afghanistan and what it is we are fighting for.
Our troops that are deployed in Afghanistan this Labor Day are fighting for each other; they are fighting to come home to their families; they are fighting for their country and the small part of the mission that has been assigned to their unit. American troops know what their task and purpose is in Afghanistan. The American public does not know what American forces are fighting for this Labor Day and the President should remind all of us. Mr. President, talk to us about Afghanistan and the path forward, our troops and their families deserve it.
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