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For 20 years, US military personnel have given grace to the Afghan people and brought swift justice to their oppressors. For 20 years, Afghan women have been kept from sexual slavery because of American military presence. For 20 years Afghan, women have been able to go to school, protected by American servicemen; an opportunity heretofore not allowed by the male-dominated society. For 20 years, the American soldier has stood athwart tyranny.
But let us not forget why America was in Afghanistan in the first place. A generation has passed since the awful day when our nation was attacked by terrorists, terrorists whose place in the world was protected by the then despotic rulers of Afghanistan. The American soldier returned fire, raining down justice so that freedom might ring. And the freedom was passed on to the Afghan people. The American soldier was the face of the American people, interested in nothing more than peace.
America’s protective, peace-keeping service continues today (long after World War II) in Europe and at the DMZ in Korea. Why American presence could not continue in a conditional advice-and-consent role in Afghanistan was not a decision made by the American soldier. Our commitment to peace in the Middle East was kept by the American soldier. It is unfortunate but true that in a sin-marred world there are times when the forces of good must face off against the forces of evil, with force. The American soldier runs toward the battle; the people that need protection are grateful for their fence of grace.
And the American soldier was triumphant every day for 20 years. The American soldier did not “lose” anything. Do not listen to the headlines from so-called journalists who insist that America “lost.” Hard-fought victories were won because of American military might and the combat readiness of an all-volunteer Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force. The losses sustained in our war on terror were the lives of men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice – another marker of grace – for freedom. American soldiers leave their post in triumph, heads held high, US citizens that gave of themselves, so that Afghan people could taste a bit of the freedom that so many in these 50 states have every day.
So, chalk up another American military victory. Our men and women in uniform leave Afghanistan as they came into Afghanistan, having meted out justice while giving grace to those who would receive it. For 20 years, that American grace has been a shield against despotism. No matter one’s geopolitical perspective, there is no dispute that American soldiers did their duty, protecting our country and caring for those in-country that could not protect themselves. Once again, as has been true over our 250-year history, America responds with force against aggression. And the American soldier, triumphant for 20 years in Afghanistan, stands ready again to go down range.Published in