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U.S. Troops Have Been in Afghanistan for 16 Years — The $5 Trillion War We Can’t Escape

The U.S. was supposed to leave Afghanistan by 2017. But now it may take decades.

The United States has been waging war in Afghanistan since October 2001. 16 years later and we are still sending thousands of troops overseas. Our involvement in Afghanistan has been the longest conflict in U.S. history. Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a congressional testimony this past week,

“We are not winning in Afghanistan right now.”

But what exactly is it that we are fighting for and trying to “win” in Afghanistan? This isn’t some Friday night football game, these are real lives being decimated and destroyed in a torrent of unnecessary violence.

However, Defense Secretary James Mattis (after being granted more power by Trump) has revealed that 3,000 additional troops are expected to be deployed this summer.

3,000 more men and women risking their lives for this afterthought of violence; a war that many have forgotten about. The most upsetting aspect is how the Afghanistan War has deteriorated into a waning shadow of politics and bloodshed– essentially a Forgotten War.

The only news portrayal of Afghanistan comes from random, watered-down news bites of car bombings and ISIS sightings. Politicians and the general public alike have greatly forgotten about our fellow Americans overseas, with President Trump still yet to be presented with an Afghanistan strategy; which was supposed to have been finalized before the NATO meeting in Brussels last month.

Even from a completely economic point of view, the trillions of dollars that have been wasted in this war is reason enough to pull our troops out of Afghanistan already.

The Afghan War has cost almost $5 trillion so far.

This exorbitant $5 trillion could have gone towards reconciling Flint’s despicable water situation; with even money to spare for veteran health care, better education, and improvement of our incarceration system all across the nation. While we are living our safe, everyday lives, the taxes we pay essentially fund the perpetual cycle of discord and conflict in the Middle East.

As an American whose father has already served a tour in Afghanistan and is being deployed again this September, I beg all of us to be more aware of this Forgotten War. I beg all our politicians to take greater fiscal and moral responsibility and I beg that the senseless carnage on both sides be put to an end.

But again, it seems that it will take decades for this wish to come to fruition.

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I am a Political Science major at CSU-Sacramento, with a concentration in International Relations. You can find me writing about any of the forbidden dinner table topics such as religion, sex, or politics. Check out my personal blog at !

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