As a pastor of a church that is close to Joint Base Lewis McChord, we have many current and ex-military families at our church. I have seen up close the incredible dedication and service our men and women provide, and the cost and commitment of their families.
I just had lunch with a couple of chaplains, one, who is deploying to the Kandahar region of Afghanistan where 16 civilians were killed by an American soldier recently.
The President has announced that regardless of what happens, our troops will be coming home in 2014.
The question I have is, WHY NOT BRING THEM HOME NOW?
I ask this question because the Afghans know that our troops will be leaving. It would be crazy for any Afghans to cooperate with Americans or any of the coalition forces. Even if one favored democracy and did not like the Taliban, it would be crazy for any Afghans to cooperate with coalition forces knowing that they will not be there for the long haul to provide protection, knowing that as soon as we leave, the Taliban would retaliate against anyone who worked with coalition forces.
So our troops continue to deploy into a part of the world where they put their limbs and lives in danger every time they step foot on the ground, knowing that what they are doing there currently will not make much of a difference in the long term. They are merely keeping time while coalition forces continue to experience death and injury on a weekly basis.
So, again. Why are our troops there now? Why not bring them home now?
Mr. and Ms. Politicians. If you're going to send our troops in harms way, give them a mission and then leave them alone to get that mission accomplished. Don't tie their hands behind their backs and don't keep changing the rules of engagement to make their work there harder or if not impossible.
If we don't have the backbone to support our troops in that way, bring them home.
Those are moms and dads, those are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters that are doing their duty to serve our country. We owe it to our soldiers and their families to put them in situations where they know what they're fighting for and where there is a clear goal of victory.
When neither the goal or victory can be defined and/or achieved, please bring our soldiers home.
I may be naive. I know I'm not that smart. But I know enough to know that this is an untenable situation for our troops.
As I minister to our troops and their families, I hate the thought of them going into a situation where they are putting their lives at risk for an undefined/unachievable mission. If Afghanistan will be stable and Taliban and terrorist free by 2014, keep them there. But if not much will change from now to 2014, why are we sending them there now?
I pray for the wisdom of our leaders who make decisions of life and death for our soldiers and their families. Our men and women will continue to serve our country and our President with excellence, risking their very lives.
Please, define the objective. And if we can't, bring our troops home.