Sixteen years of war. Sixteen years of witnessing American men and women make the ultimate sacrifice. Sixteen years of failed U.S. Strategy. We cannot in good conscience sit idly without voicing our displeasure with Defense Secretary James Mattis’ plan to send 4,000 more U.S. Troops to the War in Afghanistan. Despite President Trump and his Administration’s intent to quell the Taliban Resurgence, we believe this plan is certain to be added to long list of failed U.S. strategies since the war began in 2001. The concept of sending 4,000 more troops without a change in U.S. tactics and clear definition of the war’s end is foolish and dangerous. It must be noted that President Trump and his team have merely inherited a senseless and seemingly endless war with no official exit strategy. It is no wonder why Trump granted power to Secretary Mattis over the War in Afghanistan.
We believe the proposed troop increase by Secretary Mattis is not properly thought out and more strategic information should gained if troops were to be deployed. The risk of sending more American men and women to fight in a war built on bad intelligence and revenge just induces sentiments of The Vietnam War of the late sixties and early seventies. As if the risk of troops dying or lack of strategy in the war were not bad enough, we’re dealing with our own controversial president. As Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan once so eloquently stated, “The president is new at this, he is new to government,” it seems clear no proper exit strategy exits within the Trump Administration.
The United States currently has roughly 10,000 U.S. Troops and personnel deployed in support of the War in Afghanistan. The Taliban Insurgency is growing, and Afghan Soldiers have been killed in devastating numbers. Sixteen years of war has depleted the war-torn country and created a continuous divide amongst the people inhabiting it. We agree the United States must play a role in the ultimate revival of Afghanistan. We even agree that Secretary Mattis is a qualified decision maker for the War in Afghanistan, especially with President Trump in office. We believe our divide with the Trump Administration and their supporters lies within the lack of preparation and strategy from previous administrations.
With the new Trump Administration we are looking for a more fluid strategy in Afghanistan. We hope to see more U.S. investment in funding the Afghan Army with proper training and weapons, ensuring a seamless transition of power during U.S. withdrawal. The Trump Administration should consider taking a chunk out $582 Billion Defense Budget and choose to use money instead of bodies. Deploying 4,000 more U.S. troops is clearly not the answer to Afghanistan’s problems and will only lead to more American deaths.
The next time President Trump and Secretary Mattis meet for a cup of coffee, we strongly suggest they take a trip to the Vietnam Memorial Wall and read the names of the fallen men and women. The War in Afghanistan must end immediately. Secretary Mattis has the power to control the United States Troops and ultimately their destiny. It is on him to determine whether another troop is added to the Afghanistan War Memorial.
This editorial was written by David Watters based on the opinion of a JAMS 504 editorial board.