Opinion: Should the U.S. troops leave sooner rather than later?

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton

Bruce Walton is a freshman news major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Let’s talk about America’s relationship and involvement with Afghanistan in the near future. If you had asked me just last November if America should stay in Afghanistan for a few more years I would have said yes. Troops were finally pulled out of Iraq in December because the Iraq war was unnecessary, and U.S. troops were scheduled to leave Afghanistan in 2014. But in light of the first three months of this year, I say we need to rethink our decision to wait so long and move out as soon as possible.

In only three months, there have been three instances of offensive and disgraceful actions of U.S. troops publicized in the news. In January, a video surfaced on the internet of American soldiers urinating on the bodies of dead Afghans.

In February, an American military camp thought their prisoners were hiding messages in their reading materials, which included copies of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, and burned them. And most recently, a rouge soldier went on a rampage and killed 16 Afghans in villages near the military base.

Now, under new investigation, the US troops that burned the Quran were cleared of any disrespect towards Islam, but try telling that to Afghanistan.

Because of these new occurrences, violent protests against America have spiked this year, burning crosses and Obama effigies. These also may have helped some Afghans who were on the fence to decide to join the Taliban, seeing no reason to look to America for help since they disrespected them so badly.

Tensions were high enough between America and Afghanistan, but now because of the irresponsibility and poor choices of some U.S. troops, who knowingly serve our nation not just to protect us, but to act as representatives on behalf of our country, we have thrown years of negotiations and peace talks down a hole. Even though the President has apologized to Afghan leaders multiple times, this is not something that can be overlooked.

In my opinion, Afghan leaders have been very patient and it is because of our previous foreign relations with Afghanistan that we aren’t fighting them off right now, but now it seems hopeless to try to do what we planned to do with the nation. We were there to help bring democracy and peace. But our national image has been tarnished by a few bad apples in the military.

I’m just going to go out and say that this is bad. I mean really bad. Things were starting to slow down after Osama Bin Laden had been killed and American troops were being pulled out of Iraq, but now we have high tensions in a place we should be winning over.

America can’t afford to get in another war with Afghanistan after all the work the Bush and Obama administrations put into this. But because of these new incidents that have occurred month after month, tensions have never been higher and we may see a new plan to have the U.S. take a step back to at least give them some space.