If there’s one thing America loves it’s going to war: what could possibly be more sexy, more debonair than war? I know that just by reading the headline that you’re positively erect at the possibility of staying in Afghanistan for another 11 years.
A draft of a document obtained by NBC News outlines a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan through 2024 in an ongoing effort to squash the Taliban, who still remain a force in the country. As per NBC News:
The document outlines what appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan in the name of training and continuing to fight al-Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be ending, but renewed under new, scaled-down US-Afghan terms.
“The Parties acknowledge that continued US military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end,” the draft states.
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The Afghanistan War has already stretched into being the longest war the US has ever been involved in; at 12 years and one month, it’s already a full three years longer than Vietnam, the second longest U.S.-involved war. It would seem shocking to think that we’ve been involved for this long if it weren’t for the fact that American culture has essentially swept the war under the rug. You’d be hard-pressed to find mentions of the war anywhere outside of a major newspaper — television and most pop culture seems to gloss over it. We aren’t presented with any true images of the war and when we are — via leakers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden — we are told to move along and that there’s nothing to see here, thank you very much kindly.
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Troops on the ground are unsure of what they’re even doing there, and the troops that return home are faced with the most difficult job market since the Great Depression. Highly skilled fighters with particular skill sets face difficulty assimilating back into the regular job market and a growing percentage just give up entirely: every 68 minutes an American war veteran commits suicide.
Still, though, an astonishing $700 billion has been put into the war since it began and 2,193 American lives have been lost. TIME Magazine speculates that the U.S. may be keeping a military presence in Afghanistan specifically due to the shakiness of the new Afghani government, which has seen its fair share of corruption in its (still) early days. Current leader Karzai is forbidden from seeking a third term; it should be extremely interesting to see just what the beleaguered nation will do in the coming months.
Who’d have thought that when we first invaded that we — the U.S. and Afghanistan, of all places — would be together for a solid 23 years? We could have had a kid and that kid could have gone to college in that time. It’s spanned an entire American generation.
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Yes, that’s right: a child born in 2001 at the start of the war may in fact be able to fight the end of it.