“You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb the world to peace.” This memorable quote from Michael Franti is fitting for the now decade-long war in Afghanistan.
The façade of "progress" in Afghanistan is falling apart. A few days ago, The Los Angeles Times published pictures of U.S. soldiers posing with the body parts of dead Afghans. Last week, the Taliban coordinated gun, rocket and suicide attacks in Kabul, one of the most heavily secured cities in Afghanistan. Last month, a distressed U.S. soldier went on a shooting rampage that killed 16 innocent Afghan civilians.
These recent events are just a sampling. Indeed, L.A. Times story echoes previous instances where troops filmed themselves desecrating the bodies of dead Afghans, and the so-called "kill team" that killed unarmed Afghan civilians and collected their body parts as trophies. 2012 began with Qur'an burnings on a U.S. military base, prompting violent protests that resulted in the death of several people.
The excuses for our prolonged presence in Afghanistan are always the same: We are making progress, we just need more time, and more money. Yet the events of the past month alone clarify what "progress" looks like in the country after more than a decade at war.
Finally, the corruption is deep and pervasive. We are pinning our hopes of leaving Afghanistan on a government that is among the most corrupt in the world. According to an article in The Washington Post, the government of Hamid Karzai has not prosecuted a single high-level corruption case, despite the billions of dollars the U.S. government has spent in an attempt to prop up his government. This, despite the fact that billions more – including some believed to be U.S. aid money – has been shipped to Dubai via wealthy Afghan officials.
These are the symptoms of a war that must end.
It is time to end the war in Afghanistan. It is time to bring our troops home.
— The writer is a U.S. Representative from Ohio.