For 16 years, we’ve been in a war with Afghanistan. Most young adults don’t remember the beginning of it, and many adults don’t remember the reason behind the war in the first place. So the Trump Administration’s latest decision to send 4,000 new troops to Afghanistan seems rash and uninformed.
There is nothing wrong with standing up for the innocent and fighting terrorism, but without a clear plan of action, as we are dealing with now, it is hard to understand why troops are going to be sent over. In the past, there have been reasons behind the deployment of troops. The obvious example of September 11th looms over much of the United States military activity, and preventing the spread and growth of terrorism is indeed important. The Taliban and ISIS do continue to grow in the Middle East, and their rhetoric spreads across the globe. In a world where not even a concert for young girls is safe from the jaws of terror, anything we can do to condemn and stop those actions is necessary.
And yet, there is no plan. No explanation as to why these men and women will go into Afghanistan. Parents, spouses, and siblings don’t have any expectation of when their loved ones may be returning home. There is no plan. And without a plan, it is so hard to understand and support an action like the one that General Mattis gave.
Centuries of conflict have riddled the Middle East, and the idea that the United States has to somehow police these countries is flawed. There is no way we could ever eradicate the radical terrorist behavior that so often finds its roots in countries like Afghanistan. At some point, there has to be an end. And yet, it’s hard to end something when the horrors of war are seen on television and social media.
There’s the idea that we can somehow train and support Afghani troops so that when it comes time for the United States to pull out of the Middle East, they can fend for themselves and protect their people. However, it’s hard to leave a country that is so susceptible to the Taliban and terrorist organizations, so there is a legitimate concern pulling our troops out if the Afghani forces couldn’t combat the terrorism on their own. Perhaps that’s what these 4,000 new troops will be doing, perhaps not. We cannot know until there is a clear plan of action given by the Trump Administration.
Sending more brave men and women overseas is never something that is supported unless there is a clear and succinct reason behind it. There is no clear reason for the deployment that the Trump Administration announced. And until there is a plan that is laid out plainly and an active mission is understood by the people of the United States and not just the government elite, we see no reason for the United States to be sending over more troops to Afghanistan.
This editorial by Catie Middleton is based on the opinions of a JAMS 504 editorial board.