The American War in Afghanistan

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Many people agree that the American government had to retaliate to ensure that the country does not suffer another attack on its soil like during the 9/11. However, the response by the U.S government to invade Afghanistan to target the terrorist groups that pose a danger to the Americans has always elicited different emotion resulting in an unending debate on the government approach towards the matter from various quarters. After the 9/11 attack, the U.S under George W. Bush sort to dismantle al-Qaeda the group behind the attack and remove the Taliban government in Afghanistan that harbored and protected terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. Apart from the U.S main interest of keeping violence out of America, the invasion was also as a result of moral obligation to promote democracy, peace and improve the Afghanistan economy by empowering the country's security forces and build a stable government that will reduce terrorism. Despite the American government achieving some of its goals such as protecting Americans from terrorist attacks, it has done so at a higher price, which calls for the U.S to consider alternative measures with same results other than the invasion of Afghanistan.

By invading Afghanistan, many of American soldiers and innocent civilians have lost their lives in an unnecessary war. As a firm believer that all life needs protection whether it is that an American or Afghan citizen the U.S government should have embraced approaches that will minimize the risks of losing lives. The price that we have had to pay as a country to be safe is by losing our brothers, sisters, and family in a foreign land and not to forget the children and women of Afghanistan caught in the crossfire in our wars. If our politicians and military generals could adopt different strategies to protect us that does not entail sending our troops to foreign countries, then we should not have to worry about the death of our soldiers and what they call "collateral damage." In the first six years that our war heroes had served in Afghanistan more than 4300 have lost their lives with the number increased to almost 7000 a decade later with other ten of thousands injured (Bacevich; Chivers). The U.S government should have considered protecting all life using a minimalist approach that does not endanger others’ lives.

Another concern related to the Afghanistan war is the expensive monetary cost associated with sending troops and waging war on foreign soil. As a taxpayer, I believe that the government should use the money they collect from us more productively. We the American people should be angry that the government is using the taxes it collects from us to fund wars that bring death, destruction, and miseries in the Middle East yet the funds could be better utilized hear to improve our security. If the government offers humanitarian help and donation from the taxpayers' kitty in Afghanistan, it can achieve its moral obligation of promoting peace, democracy, and stability in the region. As noted by Bacevich, the U.S government has spent billions of dollars on militarization while the same amount could have been useful in other noble causes.

Even though the U.S government might have thwarted the security risks in its home soil its goal of denying terrorist groups a safe base of operation in Central Asia is not that effective. As a keen observer of America war on terrorism in the Middle East, most of the defeated insurgent groups do not die altogether but mutate into different dangerous groups. As in the case of Afghanistan, as pointed out by Chivers, terrorist groups have been hardened as a result of fighting the American army making them even more dangerous. The situation risks escalating to that of Iraq whereby the various thwarted insurgent groups have reemerged causing more havoc such as the Islamic State that emerged from the remnants of earlier defeated groups. Chiver’s article heading War Without End, and that of Bacevich The War We Can’t Win summarizes the reality of the Afghanistan War.

Supports of the invasion of Afghanistan argue that the war has been successful as it has reduced the risk of America experiencing a terrorist attack of the 9/11 magnitude. However, as identified by Bacevich, the 9/11 attack could have been averted if the relevant law enforcement agencies could have taken severe security measures. Therefore the U.S can avoid going into foreign war and instead focus on improving its security agencies’ ability to thwart terrorist attacks before they happen. Also, supporters of the Afghanistan war always cite the death of Bin Laden and the limitation of Taliban and other terrorist groups in Afghanistan as a result of the invasion. However, there are better ways of addressing terrorist threats in America that do not entail risking the lives of our soldiers such as training and empowering the Afghan military and government for them to tackle the issue.

Other supporters of the invasion of Afghanistan cite moral obligation of the U.S to help Afghanistan's get democracy, peace, stability, equality and economic freedom through military intervention. However, that is not always the case as various studies in political science, economics and security have revealed that using aid is sufficient to control insurgencies and establish control by winning over the locals (Sexton). As observed by Chivers, most of the Afghans locals do not support the U.S military which makes it difficult for soldiers to win the war as it was challenging to separate insurgents from the population putting our troops at risk. We cannot win the population support by intimidating them but by funding them and as correctly pointed by Bacevich that the Afghans are “capable of managing their own affairs, relying on their own methods," and we should only support them through aid instead of military invasion.

To summarize, the Afghanistan war has more negative consequences than positives. As a result of military intervention by the U.S in the Middle East as a way of thwarting terrorism, many people have lost their lives including our war heroes and innocent civilians. Military invasion is also a costly affair, and there are better ways of using taxpayers' money that does not endanger the lives of people overseas. The final challenge associated with fighting insurgencies using military conquest is that war is not effective in eradicating terrorist groups as other more dangerous insurgents emerge from the remnants of the destroyed groups. However, we can still protect our country without sacrificing our moral obligations if we consider alternative approaches to solving the terrorism challenges. One recommendation includes empowering our law enforcement agencies to secure ourselves from within. Also, we should consider providing countries that are hotbeds for terrorism with financial and humanitarian aid to bring stability and reduce violence in such regions which can help the U.S gain the local community support. Therefore the alternative approaches to addressing the terrorism problem in America are more efficient than military invention which has various risks that outweighs the benefits.

Works Cited

Bacevich, Andrew. "The War We Can't Win | Harper's Magazine". Harper's Magazine, 2009, Accessed 8 Sept 2018.

Chivers, Christopher J. "War Without End". Nytimes.Com, 2018, Accessed 8 Sept 2018.

Sexton, Renard. "Aid as a Tool against Insurgency: Evidence from Contested and Controlled

Territory in Afghanistan". American Political Science Review, vol 110, no. 04, 2016, pp. 731-749. Cambridge University Press (CUP), doi:10.1017/s0003055416000356.

August 21, 2023

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