As the Afghani people continue their violent protests over the burning of holy Qurans by American military personnel, one question immediately comes to mind; why were U.S. soldiers given the task of sorting through an Afghanistan library looking for books to burn in the first place? They obviously were not properly trained to do so. It is bad enough that these protests have led to the deaths of dozens of Afghans and two American soldiers last week, but then came news this past Saturday that two high-ranking Army officers were shot execution style inside a highly secured Afghan government building. This decade-long war, already the longest in U.S. history, has cost the precious lives of more than 1,800 U.S. military personnel, hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars and the loss of an unknown number of Afghan civilians, appears to have no end in sight.
It was reported in the Columbus Dispatch that Imam Mawlawi Enayatullah Baleegh was quoted as saying “Burning the Quran is an unforgivable crime and sin, but the presence of infidels in a Muslim country is even a bigger crime.” The presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia was precisely the reason given by Osama bin Laden for his horrendous attack against America on September 11th.
America is bankrupting itself much like that of the former Soviet Union during the 1990s with its military buildup and endeavors. What exactly is our goal in this ongoing war? The Taliban are no longer in power and bin Laden is long dead. Our military leaders continually talk of training the Afghan army to take our place, but what is taking so long? We train our soldiers in ten weeks, yet we have been training Afghans for ten years. This just doesn’t seem to make sense.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who most likely maintains power solely by the presence of the U.S. military, was quoted as saying if war broke out between the Americans and neighboring Pakistan, Afghanistan would side with their neighbor. Now is the time for the American government to declare victory and bring all our troops home from this volatile region!
Steven H. Spring