2,443 people and 2 trillion dollars. That’s the number of service members who died from oversees duty in Afghanistan and the amount of money that was spent by the United States on all the war efforts we had there over 20 years of time.
As I sit here and reflect on those numbers and the sudden Taliban takeover of Afghanistan just over a week or so ago now, I am extremely saddened. Saddened for the people still there who don’t want to be there anymore. Saddened for all those who can’t escape. Saddened for all those lives lost over there. Saddened for all the families affected by those lives lost. And saddened for each of those who returned home and have PTSD now, have become homeless, are addicted to drugs, or worse. I’ve met several of them.
People continue to compare what happened in Afghanistan to what happened in Vietnam. I wasn’t alive for the majority of the Vietnam War and was only three years old when it finally ended, so I can’t comment on any potential comparison. What I do know is that the $300 million that was spent per day in Afghanistan for 20 consecutive years could have changed countless lives for the better here within our own borders, through any number of programs. From hunger to homelessness, health care to addiction, and everything in between, I struggle to fathom all the financial waste our country put into the Afghanistan war and many other wars as well.
I’m sure there are many veterans who served in Afghanistan struggling right now to understand why they were even over there given the Taliban now have full control of the country. I personally have worked in the 12 Step recovery field with a few veterans of this war myself, who are mentally and emotionally unstable now, living with massive PTSD because of their time served there. The struggles they’ve had using drugs to cope with it all seems like it was so unnecessary and shouldn’t have ever happened in the first place.
Why our country must always put ourselves into the affairs of other countries when we have countless struggles going on here that are desperate for help, I have no idea. I’m not a fan of war, or violence, and have lived long enough now to know that much of our country’s money is spent on military efforts outside our borders.
I’m sure many of the veterans of this war itself believed in what they were doing for their years served. But seeing how none of it matters now, I can’t even fathom what they must be feeling, especially those who lost limbs, sight, hearing, or became disabled in some other way from their time over there.
I also feel sorrow for every single person living in our country who has family in Afghanistan still. I know of one person going through this presently and how deeply it’s affecting them, how powerless, and helpless they feel over it all and my heart reaches out to them and others just like them.
While I’m all for protecting our borders for any threats that may hit our soil, I’m definitely not in support of putting our countries interests in the affairs of other countries, because it always seems to come at the expense of our soldiers and many of our citizens as well.
That’s why I pray that the U.S. will one day stop spending so much money on military efforts and instead work more on bringing peace amongst ourselves here in our own borders, as there are countless people in need in every city, of every state, and probably even on the very street you live on.
Nevertheless, my prayers go out to all those who have been affected by the war in Afghanistan, who are presently experiencing the pain and brokenness of it all. May you each be comforted in knowing I care and may you all receive blessings in your efforts to heal and come to a place of peace within.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson