Our View: It's time to end war in Afghanistan

billions spent, thousands of U.S. lives lost in 12 years of war

Published:

Congressman Walter

Jones, a North Carolina Republican, made a name for himself in 2003 when, riding the initial wave of support for the war in Iraq, he demanded that congressional cafeterias rename french fries "freedom fries" in a slap at the French for their lukewarm support for the Bush administration's invasion of Baghdad.

What a difference a decade makes.

The war in Iraq is over and an uneasy peace reigns, but Americans are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan in a war that began just weeks after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. And Rep. Jones, who believes the Bush administration lied about the war in Iraq, says it is time to end the war on the other front.

"There is nothing more important than getting our troops out of Afghanistan," Jones said in a recent article in Reason magazine. "We're not accomplishing anything. I've written 8,884 letters to families and extended families who have lost loved ones."

The war has taken a terrible financial toll, he noted. "We've had to borrow $10 billion a month from the Chinese to fund this war. When we're financially broke we should not be spending money to prop up a criminal and his family."

Afghanistan, he said, "is what Afghanistan is, from Alexander the Great to the British to the Russians. No one's changed Afghanistan, and no one's going to change it. If you're just waiting to train the Afghans to be policemen and the military, it's taken 11 years already. You can train a monkey to ride a bicycle in less time."

While President Barack Obama presumably was a bit more diplomatic in his choice of words, it appears that he shared the same sentiments with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his visit to the White House on Friday. Both said they agreed that it is time for the Afghans to fight their own battle and affirmed plans for U.S. troops to end their combat role in 2014.

That's nearly two years, which means that Americans will continue to die in Afghanistan and this nation will continue to spend billions on a war that appears pointless to continue fighting.

It's time to focus on an exit strategy that brings our servicemen and servicewomen home as expeditiously as possible. And, in the event that the resurgent Taliban begin to take over more of the country, we need to be prepared to address that militarily and, if necessary, grant sanctuary to the Afghans who have risked their lives to support Amercans there. We also need to find a way to guarantee the safety of women, who would be a likely target of the Taliban, whose views of women's rights are medieval at best.

Whatever happens in the next two years, however, must not change our resolve to leave. A dozen years has been enough.

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