It’s beyond me why some in our country are so concerned about what’s happening in Afghanistan.

Not only should our country leave Afghanistan as fast as we can, for the real problem is that we should never have sent American troops to that country halfway around the world in the first place. Fighting against the natives there is a zealous guerilla war. There was no way a visitor could “win.”

The Russians, even sharing a common border with that country, and able to supply their troops much easier than we could a half-world away, realized eventually what they were up against with the Afghani.  But somehow, our country thought we could do better than the Russians?  Fuzzy thinking.   

Now 20 years later, and thousands of lives lost on both sides, and so many American veterans suffering from living through that war, we still never could claim victory.  And there is no doubt in my mind that should the United States troops remain another 20 years in Afghanistan, we still could not be able to claim victory in any way. The outcome would be no different.

Besides the toll of casualties, think how much tax money the United States has squandered in Afghanistan.  The most recent total that I have seen is that we have wasted $2 trillion (amounts to $300 million a day) to Afghanistan.  We suspect the total is even higher, since other departments besides Defense have been involved.  And that is not taking in consideration the non-governmental agencies that have also had to expend loads of money for their operations.  The actual monetary figures are so high that it is incomprehensible.  The real dollars spent in that far country run into the trillions, maybe zillions, or whatever is next. 

What could our country have done if it had appropriated those same dollars and put them into a far better health care system to dramatically bring down the cost of American healthcare? Or what if we had invested those dollars into providing free technical and college education for everyone in this country?  Think of the difference that would have made!

But no. The Congress fritters and stutters and debates and attacks and quarrels with each other about healthcare, and gets nothing substantially done. It’s been relatively easy for them to squander away more money on Afghanistan, and Defense in particular, than to address real solutions to healthcare. 

While our Defense Department has spent no telling how much to supply the most advanced equipment for our troops and diplomatic personnel in Afghanistan, now we hear that in the frenzy to leave the country, they are ordering computers (with key data on them) to be blown up. And how about the Jeeps, the trucks, the radio transmission equipment, the helicopters, and yes, the modern guns of warfare, that we have either just discarded in Afghanistan, or have blown up so that the Taliban cannot use them.  We suspect the Afghans are smart enough to take the parts from our various units of equipment and salvage enough to put together quite an assembly of working computers, vehicles, rockets and even health care equipment. We must remember how resourceful the Afghans can be.

Will the United States learn from this fiasco in Afghanistan?  We know one thing: governments are slow to move. Sometimes we wonder if governments in themselves aren’t just downright ignorant. Ours doesn’t seem to learn from its mistakes.

Leave Afghanistan?  Nothing could be better.

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Editor's Note: this story first appeared at GwinnettForum.com.

Image Credit: KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – 08.17.2021 Photo by 1st Lt. Mark Andries, U.S. Central Command Public Affairs (DVIDSHUB.net, Public Domain.): Marines assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) fly to Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, August 17. Marines are assisting the Department of State with an orderly drawdown of designated personnel in Afghanistan. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Mark Andries).

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.