The very first combat deployment I was sent on began officially about one week after September 11, 2001.
I was barely in my twenties and had never been beyond the Caribbean. I was now going to be sent halfway across the world.
I was young then. I wasn’t even old enough to drink legally in the United States.
Like all armed conflicts you pray that they end quickly.
I’m much older now, I have a wife and a family. My hair is turning grey and I’ve gained a bit of weight since the time we were first in Afghanistan. We’ve been through a President or two since then.
The idea that we are still in a conflict in that country is a sobering thought.
President Donald Trump reasserted his promise on Friday to withdraw the United States from conflicts in Afghanistan and Syria.
“I inherited a total mess in Syria and Afghanistan, the ‘Endless Wars’ of unlimited spending and death,” Trump wrote on Twitter, recalling his campaign promise.
The president reminded Americans that they were spending $50 billion a year in Afghanistan, but he noted that peace talks were on the table.
“It is now time to start coming home and, after many years, spending our money wisely,” Trump said. “Certain people must get smart!”
Trump noted approvingly that peace talks were underway in Afghanistan and that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) was nearly eliminated in Syria.
“Syria was loaded with ISIS until I came along. We will soon have destroyed 100% of the Caliphate, but will be watching them closely,” he wrote.
Trump’s desire to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Syria has been cooled by the National Security Establishment in his administration. Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and H.R. McMaster, former National Security Council adviser, repeatedly warned Trump not to make a swift withdrawal from the Middle East.