The War in Afghanistan - Is it worth it?

March 13, 2012
Afghanistan has become a war torn land by heritage. Over the centuries, through conflict over land, religion, and power, Afghanistan has gained its reputation as a truly hospitable territory. Modern combat in the region has evolved over the past couple decades; through failed reform and threatening terrorist groups. These threats never crossed the minds of most American citizens until that fateful morning on September 11, 2001. With news of successful terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the launch of counter-measures was swift. Two months later, CIA and other military groups were deployed into the region after the Taliban’s, the primary terrorist group responsible for the attacks on 9/11, refusal to hand over their leader, Osama bin Laden. For over 10 years, the United States, along with over 40 other countries, has endured with its mission to eliminate primary terrorist groups, and restore balance in Afghanistan.

But has all of this effort done its worth? Let’s look at the statistics, in a financial sense. The estimated, total cost of all operations in relation to the Afghan conflict (from 2001 – 2011) has reached around $470 billion; quite a lot of money, obviously. This information has caused many U.S. citizens to question the relationship between the amount of money being spent on the war, and the gradual economic decline in the past five years, as it’s an obvious drainage of our federal funding. Also, the war has absorbed a substantial amount of taxpayer dollars over the last decade, depriving other, more important projects of their possible funding.

The real question of the matter is, though, is our occupation of Afghanistan really necessary in the long run? The answer, give or take, is no. It has been shown through the cruel acts of our enemies that they are a ruthless force that is not shy of brutal confrontation. Through endless bombings and assaults, they hope to spread their message of control and tyranny, against our message of hope and reconstruction. Our combatants are against compromise, and don’t intend to put down their weapons any time soon. Countless agreements have been attempted with these militia groups, and almost every request is met with violent response or an instant betrayal. Is it even possible to reason with the unreasonable?

And the United States? What mark has been left on our own country by this conflict? The goal of the terrorists was simple: to terrorize. They have won on that level. Our country’s physiology was immediately shaken after the initial attacks on 9/11, and is still today. We’ve become more divided than before, with people losing the trust they had with their fellow man, in fear that they may be out to get them. Along with the surge of military and government protection over the country, officials and citizens alike, are in constant paranoia of their “peace” being ruptured.

Though, our occupation and mission to restore Afghanistan has had its upsides. We’ve established many recovery and education facilities in the region to aid civilians caught in the crossfire. Native people have been exposed to Western education, and have learned the ways of the “outside world”. But the way things look now, we may be in the same state we’re in with Afghanistan five to ten years from now. It’s unclear if definite change is imminent. But, after over ten years of occupation, it can be said that our presence in Afghanistan is unnecessary, to say the least. After billions of dollars spent, hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries on both sides, and endless conflicts with a relentless enemy, can you ask yourself; is it really worth it?

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