Written by: Theodore Rogers
It’s a cause for celebration that the United States has finally left Afghanistan. The U.S had no business invading the country and enforcing its ideals and beliefs on them. The endless fighting has led to innumerable deaths on both sides, yet the war continued fruitlessly. Finally, leaving is the first step in undoing the damage done to Afghanistan.
The war reeked of imperialism, a practice we claim to have ended long ago. The U.S. decided it could make better decisions for the people of Afghanistan than their government. We invaded the country, destroyed the disapproved government, took natural resources and instituted a puppet government that mirrored the U.S.
Though the war may have started as retaliation for 9/11, it has continued long past its original purpose. Imperialism ended because of its immorality. A powerful country shouldn’t decide how a weaker country should exist. It should not impose values upon people incapable of defending themselves.
The Costs of War project estimates that the war has garnered an estimated 241,000 casualties, including 71,000 civilians, and Brown University estimates the U.S. has spent upwards of $5.8 trillion. That’s a staggering number of deaths for a war that has gone nowhere. Wars cost both in taxes and lives. It’s hard to even comprehend this level of devastation. How many more lives would be sacrificed to shape Afghanistan into how the U.S. wants it? Another 241,000? We should leave now before more lives are lost.
The United States has made little headway against the Taliban over the past 20 years. The Taliban is a formidable enemy: scattered, hidden and effective — a terrorist organization, not a nation. The Afghans are highly decentralized and difficult to control. Even with the incredible amount of money, time and lives that have been spent, the government the U.S. had put in place in Afghanistan did not stand on its own two feet. When the U.S. left, the nation immediately fell to the Taliban, showing that a true victory may never be achievable.
Afghanistan’s problems will never be solved by U.S. intervention. A return to imperialism is not the answer to this nation’s problems. The staggering number of deaths in this war should convince everyone that a war with so little progress is not worth fighting. Removing U.S. troops from Afghanistan was the only logical next step.