Flag-draped transfer cases carrying the stays of fallen organization members killed in Afghanistan line the within of a transport plane on Aug. 29, before a dignified transfer at Dover Air pressure Base, Del.
More than 4,000 american were killed in Afghanistan.

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No one wants to believe their love one passed away in vain. But when the happens, that is the duty that the living to make sure it go not occur again.

A week before I deployed come Iraq in 2003, I claimed to mine wife and daughter, “I’ll it is in protecting girlfriend guys, keeping our freedoms, killing terrorists prior to they have the right to come here.”

But ns never safeguarded anything in ~ 5,000 mile of American shores. And also despite what chairman George W. Shrub claimed, the insurgents do the efforts to kill me did no hate America for its freedoms. They simply wanted united state out of their country. Few, if any type of of them had plans to concerned the United says to death people.


Eighteen years later, i deal day-to-day with the fallout of U.S. Military initiatives to safeguard America’s freedoms from human being who were no trying to take them away. As a superior Court judge, ns preside end the Riverside county Veterans treatment Court, whereby I supervise the recovery of veterans who have actually committed crimes due to the fact that of psychological health problems related come war. Some have actually been horribly damaged, mentally and also physically. Many have shed everything: spouses, children, family, friends, self-worth, health and also freedom. Most suffer native post-traumatic anxiety disorder or brain injuries caused by bombs.

Like me, this veterans believed it was in our nationwide interest to crush the Taliban and also conduct counterterrorism operations. We thought that Iraq and also Afghanistan to be holding tanks because that terrorists wait for passage to America.

But us quit believing. We got tired of hearing civilization lie come us.

Gen. Note A. Milley, Chairman the the share Chiefs of Staff, stated in December 2019 that he could not watch at himself in the winter if he thought the U.S. Troops killed in Afghanistan had died in vain. Milley said the sacrifices that those killed and wounded had helped prevent other attacks on American soil choose the ones on 9/11, and their business held the Taliban and also other insurgents in ~ bay.


Milley is among several U.S. Officials who predicted a rose future because that Afghanistan: “Right now, I would certainly say that the conditions are collection for win this war,” that proclaimed in 2013. Yet the troops on the soil there were expressing excessive doubts around the competency the the Afghan forces that Milley was reflecting confidence in, at least publicly.

If preventing one more 9/11 forced engaging and destroying the Taliban, why did us hand Afghanistan earlier to them. Is the threat of attack less after ~ America i was withdrawn in a chaotic retreat that President Biden claims was an “extraordinary success”? Is the Taliban much less dangerous currently that billions the dollars that American military tools is in your hands?

You would certainly think our federal government leaders would have actually learned indigenous the 1975 fallen of south Vietnam. What function did more than 58,000 Americans die for in Vietnam?

It is painful to think that a loved one’s fatality was unnecessary and was not component of a greater good.

The Americans eliminated in Afghanistan to be warriors, willing to die if necessary. In return, they intended competence in their leaders. They gained ineptitude. According to Douglas Lute, former deputy national security advisor because that Iraq and also Afghanistan, “We to be devoid that a an essential understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing.”

And, our warriors expected to be told the truth. They obtained lies. If ours military and civilian management did find out something native Vietnam, it was exactly how to cheat Americans. The “Afghanistan Papers,” obtained by the Washington Post, document “explicit and also sustained initiatives by the U.S. Federal government to on purpose mislead the public …. t was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White house — come distort statistics to make it show up the United says was winning the war when that was no the case.”

I think our service men and women room “among the ideal people of their generation,” come quote Evan Wright, writer of “Generation Kill.” but our wanting to believe they passed away in the quest of a noble cause cannot excuse the incompetence and also deceit of the leader who sent out them there. These honored dead passed away in an unnecessary 20-year war that failed.

The very first part that addressing any failing is in admitting it exists. Our job as the life is to extremely resolve the it walk not happen again.



Gretchen Catherwood’s son, 19-year-old Alec, was eliminated in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban in 2010.

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M.E. Johnson is a California exceptional Court judge, a retirement U.S. Army colonel and an Iraq battle veteran. Because that eight years, he has actually presided over the Riverside county Veterans treatment Court.