Susan Stamper Brown, 5/27/2016 [Archive]

Memorial Day 2016: Remembering Afghanistan

By Susan Stamper Brown

I had to shut down my computer the other day after reading about all the brave soldiers who've joined the ranks of the "forever young" in Afghanistan. It's been a long 15 years.War is not for the fainthearted, or the impatient. I am guilty on both counts, but I am not alone in my feelings as I come to understand the cost of war extends far beyond America's diminishing treasure.With scant media reports about the positive impacts of our presence in Afghanistan and a Commander-in-Chief who checked out before he took office, it's easy to mistake Afghanistan as a total loss. A cursory glance projects a dysfunctional nation infested with godless, faceless, soulless lunatics who will stop at nothing to "kill all infidels."

And it is also easy to politicize a war. Those who encouraged us to "cut and run" revealed their own cowardice and will forever bear the guilt associated with the loss of untold innocent lives. But those who invested their blood and treasure can take credit for the good. You gave Afghanis hope, before Democrats took it away.

As reported in The American Interest, "the Democratic Party solidly opposed the surge and supported the deadline. In September 2009, 62 percent of Democrats opposed Obama's impending surge decision, and 63 percent of Republicans supported it...The war in Afghanistan was never as politically unpopular as the war in Iraq...until the President started to telegraph his disbelief in the mission."

In February 2009, 70 percent believed Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban if the U.S. military withdrew. The public was right, Democrats were wrong and Afghanis will pay the price.

Reuters reports that senior Red Cross official, Jean-Nicolas Marti, begs that the world not forget Afghanistan. "The international community must keep their attention on Afghanistan," said Marti, "it's far from being over. It's not time to switch off." He anticipates the already deteriorated security situation and violence will only get worse.

I had to search far and wide for good news regarding our military presence in Afghanistan, but here goes: Amnesty International reports that thanks to our military, females in Afghanistan are the benefactors of increased life expectancy; seats on the Afghan National Assembly and provincial councils; increased enrollment in all tiers of formal education and equal rights are enshrined in the Afghan Constitution.

Our military should be proud their service also contributed to Afghan life expectancy increasing from 44 years to 60 in ten years and access to basic health care services went from 9 percent in 2001 to 60 percent. It's important not to forget that Afghanistan is now a democracy, though corrupt. And let's not forget that the beverage industry in Afghanistan is growing. PepsiCo opened its first plant there in 2014, creating hundreds of jobs.

Before we pulled out, the International Council on Security and Development did a survey finding that our military achievements were "unquestionable," with the majority believing that NATO and the Afghan government were "winning the war." Enjoying a cold Pepsi in Kabul or a woman graduating from college cannot make up for the loss of a single soldier's life, but these events remind us that we were there to save a people from the grip of the savages who'd checked out of humanity a long time ago. And for that, the sacrifice is not in vain. Getting lost in the fog of war has a tendency to overshadow its purpose, and sometimes we need to be reminded of the good. In his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, author J.R.R. Tolkien explained "why," when his character, Sam, encouraged his buddy Frodo to continue in the fight. Tolkien wrote, "By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. .it is only a passing thing, this shadow...a new day will come... there's some good in this world...and it's worth fighting for."

——-

© 2016 Susan Stamper Brown Susan lives in Alaska and writes about culture, politics and current events. She was selected as one of America's 50 Best Conservative writers for 2015. Her columns are syndicated by CagleCartoons.com. Contact her by Facebook or at writestamper@gmail.com.

Download Susan Stamper Brown's color photo - Download Susan Stamper Brown's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Susan Stamper Brown's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

 Lib  More Troops Stay in Afghanistan Revised
By: Daryl Cagle
Slate.com
October 15, 2015

 Lib  More Troops Stay in Afghanistan Color Revised
By: Daryl Cagle
Slate.com
October 15, 2015

Hot Potato War
By: Steve Sack

October 16, 2015

Hot Potato War COLOR
By: Steve Sack

October 16, 2015

Memorial Day
By: Rick McKee

May 26, 2016

Memorial Day COLOR
By: Rick McKee

May 26, 2016

Afghan war
By: Adam Zyglis

October 22, 2015

Afghan war COLOR
By: Adam Zyglis

October 22, 2015

Endless Afghanistan COLOR
By: Mike Keefe
The Denver Post
October 20, 2015

Memorial Day
By: John Darkow

May 26, 2016

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829 sales@cagle.com
Billing Information: (805) 969-2829billing@cagle.com
Technical Support: support@cagle.com

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. [Privacy Policy]