We Should Leave Afghanistan - Alma Villa, 17
Although supporters of the war in Afghanistan may feel like the United States has already poured too much time and too many soldiers into the war effort to retreat, past experiences have proven time and again that Afghanistan cannot be conquered.
More and more arguments against the war are surfacing and with America's piling debt, this is no surprise. The United States can no longer afford to put more taxpayer money into a costly and unnecessary war. The number of casualties since the presidential transfer of power has spiked to its highest level since the war's commencement, making October the deadliest month so far for U.S. troops.
Now, President Obama has pledged to send an additional 30,000 troops to different provinces in Afghanistan. This decision will overextend the already bloated military expenditure. But more than that, additional lives are likely to be lost in the process.
Because the fighting takes place overseas and does not directly affect most Americans, the Afghan war is becoming less visible and important to the public. Few people have the ability to point out Afghanistan on a world map, let alone discuss the policies our government is trying, and failing, to successfully implement there. Billions in taxpayer dollars have been spent, yet virtually nothing in the country has changed. Osama Bin Laden is still alive and the Taliban still controls parts of the country.
A blogger for worldfocus.org comments that, "There was a time when I thought that we should stay the course, but as time goes on and the end result becomes clearer - I think we should get out and cut our losses."
Instead of wasting time trying to get rid of an "American threat" through aggression and combat, the United States should have used more education, humanitarian aid, and economic opportunities to promote the country's advancement. It is hard to prevent citizens of nations with anti-capitalist mindsets to accept opposing views and attempting to do that through intimidation was a mistake.
There may always be anti-American sentiment in areas around the world, but it does not mean that mindless conflict should take place every time the country finds something or someone alarming. Yes, thousands suffered from the 9/11 attacks, but that does not justify the number of blameless people who lost their lives and homes because of the invasion.
The reason we study history is to not make the mistakes of the past, yet the similarities between the Vietnam War and the current one are gradually becoming more obvious. Let’s make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Alma Villa is 17 years old and a junior at The Preuss School UCSD in La Jolla, CA. She wants to major in Political Science.
Standing Our Ground - Karina Santellano, 16
The United States is still at war with Afghanistan, a fact that alarms many Americans. Currently, more and more Americans support withdrawing from the war, despite the fact that so much time and money have been spent and so much blood has been shed. These people believe that soldiers should return home and the government should focus on America and its internal problems.
But to simply pack up belongings and to return to the United States would be cowardly. We must stay there to ensure security within and beyond our borders.
The war effort is preventing Al-Qaeda and the Taliban from controlling Afghanistan. The Afghan government is weak and open to exploitation. Without interference from American forces and other NATO countries, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban would be able to seize control very quickly. This could be avoided if international forces remain in Afghanistan in order "to create the space for an effective political strategy to work, weakening the Taliban by strengthening Afghanistan itself,” as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated.
The U.S. has taken responsibility for teaching Afghan leaders to strongly uphold their beliefs and defend their own country. We cannot leave Afghanistan after we have promised to help them.
Sending men and women back into combat was a difficult but necessary decision. The 30,000 additional troops and resources will act as reinforcements for the troops currently stationed there, helping to make Afghanistan’s nation-building goals possible and contributing to the global security Americans want.
Senator John McCain is a well known supporter of General McCrystal's proposal and of remaining in Afghanistan. Senator McCain commented in October that, “Success in Afghanistan will emerge, as it did in Iraq, when local leaders and citizens are more and more able to take responsibility for governing and securing their own sovereign country without substantial international assistance. This won't be perfect or easy, but it will allow America's fighting men and women to leave Afghanistan with honor, and it will enable Afghans to build a better, more peaceful future.”
Senator McCain’s optimistic hopes about the war act as a guiding light for Americans who need to support the soldiers and acknowledge the soldiers’ efforts. And once we reach the end of the war, Americans will know, as McCain said, that the job has been completed and some security has returned.
Though it may be difficult, it is important for America to stand its ground in Afghanistan.
Karina Santellano is 16 years old and a junior at The Preuss School UCSD in La Jolla, CA. She wants to major in Creative Writing or Journalism.