News broke over the weekend that North Ogden Mayor Brent Taylor, an Army National Guard reservist, had been killed in an attack while deployed in Afghanistan. The community lost a well-liked political leader, his family of seven lost a husband and father, and the nation lost yet another military man to a war without end. Indeed, we’ve now been involved in Afghanistan for over 17 years, a slogging and directionless military action whose intended purpose no longer seems clear at all. It has clearly become this generation’s Vietnam, a war that soon will be claiming lives that didn’t exist when it started.
This begs the obvious question: why do we still have as many as 10,000 troops in Afghanistan? The Taliban-backed government was toppled. We’ve had sufficient time to train forces in the country to handle their own defense. There no longer appears to be any evidence of a threat to the United States or its citizens from that country. But given the speed with which our mission was muddied as soon as boots started to hit the ground, is it any wonder why it’s still not clear two presidents later? Were we there just to defeat the Taliban? Did we want to nation-build a modern Democracy? Is this an endless role in which we’ll be directing the fate of central Asia for many more generations? The lack of solid objectives means we’re stuck there until someone finally has the political will to demand better.
We’ve made enough orphans and widows during our adventures in the Middle East, both for us and the people we’re ostensibly protecting. We’ve asked enough parents to bury their children. We’ve incurred enough monetary debt. If we really want to honor men like Brent Taylor and the 120+ of his colleagues who have been injured or killed this year, let’s end the war in Afghanistan.