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Letter to the Editor: Why do we still have troops in Afghanistan?

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Why are we still in Afghanistan?

It's been so long now, 17 years. That makes Afghanistan the longest war in our history, topping even Vietnam which lasted 15 long years (1960-1975).

True to his word, President Donald Trump considered pulling our troops out of the war-torn country.

You'll remember the president interrupted TV programming to address the Afghanistan war.

He said that yes, as a candidate, he thought we should bring our troops home.

Yet, now as president he received the input of his military pros, including that of the top military pro, Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Mattis convinced his boss that we needed to stay in Afghanistan a bit longer. We're training Afghan forces. How long does that take? Seventeen years? Gee whiz, but that's an eternity.

When we began the war in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was no homeland security. There was no Department of Homeland Security for sure, but there wasn't really any homeland security at all.

In those long ago days  prior to 9/11, we basically came and went as we pleased. Free and easy.

We were.

These days, we have a highly sophisticated Department of Homeland Security. We are far safer at home here in the States than was the case before.

Face it, the Afghanistan war was a two-pronged affair. From its very outset it was.

Yes, it was the direct action of responding to the attacks of 9/11. But it was more, too. The war in Afghanistan was fought to buy us time to get our act together here at home.

We needed time to get our own homeland security in place and operational.

The thinking was that it's better to confront those wishing to do us harm over there and not here in the States. We needed time to get our security measures up and running. But now, 17 years later, that can't be the case, can it?

Those in charge tell us snippets of facts. We don't know the whole story because really we don't need to know the whole story. Roger that, sir.

One thing we are told is that fighters routinely move from neighboring Pakistan, over to Afghanistan and back again. That's frightening enough in the face of it, because Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

Maybe fighters to move back and forth between the countries. They must.

Perhaps we should build a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

ROBERT PEELE

Rocky Mount

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