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Afghanistan: Lessons learned?

| Friday, February 14, 2020

On Saturday, two American 20-somethings were brutally gunned down. No, this isn’t a trendy opioid crisis headline or part of a shrill gun control debate. Sgt. 1st Class Javier Jaguar Gutierrez and Sgt. 1st Class Antonio Rey Rodriguez were killed in an attack on U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

It’s been 19 years (attention first-year students: your entire life) since President Bush announced Operation Enduring Freedom, and it’s now that CNN reports 13,000 American troops continue to endure combat in Afghanistan.

The men and women of the U.S. military, alongside their Afghan partners, have served with distinction and valor. Now, this war has come to our generation. Would it be worth it to you if the ROTC friends who are our classmates and interhall sports teammates one day return from service in Afghanistan with PTSD, missing limbs or not return at all? A dilemma this grave deserves reflection.

After $1.5 trillion already spent on this conflict, the Cost of War Project at Brown University estimates we should still expect to spend hundreds of billions on veteran healthcare on top of the interest on money borrowed for war funds.

This is the great question that confronts our rising generation. What is our strategy in Afghanistan? As Notre Dame students, we are the leaders of the future. We are called to face tough questions and create a better world. What would be the pro-life approach to this war?

Above all else, we owe it to both our brave armed forces and the fleeing Afghan refugees to become informed voters who demand our leaders learn from history.

Where can we start? By learning from those who best know the war. All are invited to a panel discussion hosted by the John Quincy Adams Society with veterans and experts of the war in Afghanistan on Monday at 4:30 p.m. in the Eck Center Auditorium.

Republican or Democrat, hawk or dove, chemical engineer or art history major, it will take all of us to forge a path to peace and justice. Come, and let’s start the candid conversation we need.

 

Andrew C. Jarocki

senior

Feb. 9

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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