Afghanistan’s last election was most definitely a fraud.
When your country is torn apart on all sides by war, what the few who actually voted say doesn’t tend to matter much. As a result, Hamid Karzai may be in power, but he is hardly a model of strong statesmanship. With casualties mounting and allies falling by the wayside, the United States is left fighting for an Afghani president whose regime stands more for corruption and failure than it does for Afghanistan.
But when we’re talking about the United States fighting a war, what do we really mean? Is our nation really at war? Ohio State may be a bit of an insular community, but looking around, it’s not immediately obvious that we are citizens of a country that is fighting a war of occupation in a foreign country. Besides those with service members in their family, Americans don’t have to care about Afghanistan, understand reasons for being there or even know where it is on a map.
The war is said to be critical to our national defense and strategic interests. At varying times, we are told that we are there to build a democracy, protect Pakistan, fight al-Qaeda, fight the Taliban or to fight the drug trade. The reasons have changed over time, and so have people’s feelings toward the conflict. With so little consensus, especially among politicians, it’s hard to see how America’s interests are really involved with Afghanistan at all.
President Barack Obama is mulling over the prospect of sending more soldiers there. Should he choose to do so, he will be continuing what I think is an unjust inequity. The only people who are being affected by the war are our soldiers and veterans and their families. They have gone well above their duty many times over the years, and deserve all the gratitude that we can bestow upon them.
This small slice of the population is bearing all of the costs of conflict, while the rest of us need only be concerned about our tax dollars. The nature of the war may not make it possible for Americans to escape this lack of involvement. It doesn’t require rationing or bond purchasing, only acceptance of and political consensus for our presence there.
It seems to me that conflicts like this should weigh heavier on a nation’s public conscience. There are strong political forces working to rebuild our own nation through energy and health care legislation, but the forces that want to conclude the war are not nearly as vocal.
Our soldiers at least deserve a finish line to run toward, and if people are realistic about what this war should mean for America, our goal should be peace as soon as possible.