Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 05, 2011 7:20 AM

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Time to end the longest U.S. war

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan on Oct. 7, we have to ask ourselves, why are we still there? What constitutes victory? Will we stay 10 more years?

Each month, we spend billions of dollars in "contingency operations" in Afghanistan. The first year after the invasion, we spent $20.8 billion. In fiscal 2011, we have spent nearly six times that amount. By any standard, it is a lot of money. What did we get for that?

These are the human consequences of this war: 1,798 United States soldiers killed, more than 13,000 have visible injuries, and countless numbers bear the invisible wounds of PTSD; hundreds of thousands of displaced Afghans are now refugees; hundreds of villages have been destroyed, and tens of thousands of Afghans have been killed or injured as a result of U.S. operations.

It is easy to wrap the flag around U.S. service members killed in the war. But we have to ask, what greater good was served by the deaths of people on all sides of this conflict?

As we attempt to protect a corrupt government, the billions of dollars we spend in Afghanistan increases its corruption and ours. This is not how a civilized nation conducts its foreign policy.

It is still time to support the troops by bringing them home. It is time to end the longest war in U.S. history.

Paul Deaton
Veterans for Peace, Iowa Chapters 161 & 163

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