The Afghanistan War: The Status Quo?

By Kelly Bates

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Dec. 14, 2010


BOSTON — Would you rather be numb or alive to a dangerous situation? Numbness is that ethereal place where our minds are set to a default. Where nothingness pervades our mind, even when threatening stimuli recur. This is the American psyche, numbed out on war.

The Afghanistan War started nine long years ago. In this span of time, I got a new job, had a child, and sent him to elementary school. Over 2,000 people have died, Taliban insurgencies have increased, and I still can’t tell my child that Osama Bin Laden is no longer a threat to him.

We can’t imagine America without this war even though we have done almost everything possible to eliminate terrorism -- except for declare peace.

War is not, nor should it ever be, a status quo.

Almost a year ago, President Obama deployed an additional thirty thousand troops to Afghanistan. He did so even though our nation was fighting an economic war of massive proportions, when war funds could have been used to extend unemployment benefits or cut into our national debt.

July 2011 was the original target date that President Obama suggested for a drawdown of troops. Now, the administration is developing a plan to transfer security duties to Afghan forces, with combat missions ending by 2014.

President Karzai wants an immediate decrease in military operations in Afghanistan. A bipartisan report sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and backed by military experts says that we should consider dramatically cutting troops unless progress can be made.

But now we may be in Afghanistan until 2014.

That would bring this war to a total of 13 years. More deaths and injuries should be expected. And the impact on our national budget will be felt for decades to come.

When we are numb, we can’t remember if it matters to be rational in the face of danger or death. But if we are truly alive, which is a privilege of those of us not on the battlefield, we can take the important and powerfully clear stand of insisting our government end this war. Not in 2014, but right now.

It’s time to snap out of numbness. War is not, nor should it ever be, status quo.

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