Kuntz: Do not forget Afghanistan


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This Sunday marked 11 years since the United States began the war in Afghanistan. Veterans for Peace Iowa City Chapter 161, along with various cosponsors, held a peaceful observance of the war on the Pentacrest.

The costs of the war, both monetarily and in the number of lives lost, must gain greater focus in the national debate. Our next leader must do more to end this war, save lives, and reduce the deficit. Voters need to push candidates on all sides to seek more sustainable foreign-policy solutions.

Last week, the New York Times reported that 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died since 2001 in Afghanistan and that 1,000 of those soldiers have died in the last 27 months.

The Center for Strategic International Studies released a report this summer detailing the approximate $640 billion spent on the Afghan war and highlighted that nearly $200 billion, or around 30 percent of that total, is budgeted for this fiscal year.

The report states that “this is an incredible amount of money to have spent with so few controls, so few plans, so little auditing, and almost no credible measures of effectiveness.”

The doubt expressed in there has been reflected by many antiwar protesters and also from some directly involved in the war. Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis testified before Congress and wrote a detailed column for the Armed Forces Journal titled “Truth, lies, and Afghanistan: How military leaders have let us down.”

In his article, Davis described many ways in which military leaders told the public that the situation in Afghanistan is improving, but Davis said, “Instead, I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.”

Though this war may not seem to directly affect daily American lives, the huge amounts our government spends on the Department of Defense — $525 billion, according to the White House fiscal 2013 budget — American lives and livelihood are largely dependent on foreign policy. However, Afghanistan is often considered our forgotten war.

When you go to vote, do not forget Afghanistan.

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