Afghanistan War Episode 3: No End in Sight
With the 16th anniversary of the beginning of the Afghanistan War fast approaching, President Trump has announced that he has approved a new strategy in Afghanistan, which will require sending an additional 4,000 troops to the area. Having denounced the war while running for president last year, Trump has now decided to make America's longest war his own with this new plan.
Though Trump's Monday announcement was light on specifics, other than the assertion that our purpose will no longer be nation building but terrorist hunting, we have to question the wisdom of continuing America's longest and most expensive war. The Afghanistan War has cost this nation trillions of dollars, thousands of military lives and is set to bring Americans who were born in and around 2001 into the war.
There is no question that Trump can escalate the war in terms of troops if he so chooses, as Congress passed an Authorization for the use of Military Force back in 2001 (AUMF 2001 PDF) that is still in force. However, Congress can remove their consent for military action in Afghanistan at a whim. Some members, most prominently Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), have come out against the troop increase.*
It is well beyond time that Congress step up, close the clasp of the people's purse, and bring our troops home. If after 16 years of war we cannot even complete the main objective of said war, why continue it for an indeterminate number of years? If Trump really wants to make America great again, the first step is ending the Afghanistan War so the money saved can be used for servicing the national debt and various other policies that could indeed improve this nation.
That said, be ready for the Afghanistan War to be a hot topic issue come 2018 and 2020.