Afghanistan: The Forgotten War

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryIt is simply not in the news. Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, we have not heard anything about what has been going on in that country for almost three years now. In August of 2021, after almost 20 years of being out of power, the Taliban defeated both the United States and the National Afghan government it supported and regained power. These are absolute facts. For almost 20 years, the United States fought in a war to keep a government of its choosing in power, and sacrificed 2,459 military personnel, lost $7 billion dollars of military equipment, and spent $2.5 trillion dollars in the Afghanistan War to achieve that goal.

Since the war ended, there has been no congressional investigation on why the United States lost a war it had fought for 20 years. No U.S. Senate committee has investigated where and how U.S. foreign and military policy went wrong in Afghanistan, and why the United States stayed so long in that country. I believe one of the reasons why there has been no investigation is because both the Democratic and Republican parties are guilty and responsible for how long this war had gone on. I also believe that the so-called War on Terror was so unrealistic that previous administrations believed that the war was winnable, that the Taliban could be defeated, and that the United States could turn Afghanistan into a modern democracy just like the United States. The hubris America had at the time was unbelievable, and in 2021 it all came crashing down.

Even though the U.S. government has moved on from the Afghanistan War, even though the American public seems to have moved on from this war, and even though the U.S. news media has moved on, there is one group that cannot move on. These are the soldiers who fought in the war, and their families who must deal with the collateral damage of the Afghanistan War. What about the families who lost loved ones in the war? What about those surviving soldiers who fought in the war and who must now deal with physical wounds as well as the psychological trauma that has gone with it? Doesn’t this country owe those who have suffered from this war deserve some closure from this war? I remember after the U.S. defeat in the Vietnam War America searched for answers for what went wrong in America’s defeat in that conflict. This time it seems more like an intentional amnesia to block out why America lost. For the sake of those families who cannot move on, for the sake of not being stuck in another forever war, and for the sake of generations to come, we as a country and a people should talk about and investigate a war that has had such devastating consequences for all of us.

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