Another Veterans Day has come and gone with the traditional well-deserved thanks to those who serve in the armed forces. Unfortunately, once again, there was absolutely no meaningful discussion of what these troops are actually doing in all these far-flung countries, and whether or not they are succeeding in their objectives.

We’ve been at war in Afghanistan for 18 years, causing some 150,000 civilian casualties, one-third of them children. Do we have a plan for winding up this war? There was no discussion about whether invading Iraq made the region or the world safer. It doesn’t seem to have. And there was certainly no debate about the recent betrayal of our Kurdish allies in Syria, who suffered 11,000 deaths, out of a small population, fighting alongside our troops.

I might be alone in this sentiment, but I feel the way to truly honor our troops is to think long and hard about the wars we commit them to: the history, the goals, the costs, the prospects for success, and the exit strategies.

While it is cheap and easy to swap clichés like “Freedom ain’t free!” and wave the flag, it we owe it to those who are facing live rounds to know exactly what they are doing in these dangerous places, and if the battle is going in the right direction.

 

Peter Pfeiffer

Solon


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