When’s the last time anyone thought about Afghanistan? Been a while hasn’t it? Less than a year ago it was the biggest story around, and now, nothing. All of that earlier conversation revolved around the ramifications of our impending exit and what it meant to our national interests and national security. We left in a hurry and horribly. Both Democrats and Republicans told us for 20 years how vital our occupation of Afghanistan was to the deterrence of further 9/11-type attacks. Have we experienced anything since we left? No, and while that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, it’s just a hypothetical. Politicians like to use those to scare you. If they don’t have the data or their argument isn’t persuasive, just throw out some hypotheticals to bolster support. One could say our occupation prevented further attacks, but there may or may not have been further attacks. We only know what did happen, not what may have happened.
  There were 2,448 American servicemen that died in Afghanistan and 3,846 civilian contractors. There were also 20,752 American casualties that survived an array of injuries and lost limbs. In addition to the human capital, the numerical cost so far is estimated at 2.26 trillion. Added to that cost is another 500 billion in expenditures expected to be spent on the care of the still-living casualties. That estimate may be low as it was calculated prior to the recent rise in interest rates.
  And what about those poor Afghan people that we tried to westernize and then subsequently left to a supposedly “reformed” Taliban Government? We told them that in exchange for their support and help we would protect them and keep them from harm. Many did despite the risk to themselves and their families. Do we know or even care how they’re doing? Has the media stopped reporting on them due to the lack of information or has the collective consciousness of the American people moved on? What little information we do get indicates that the population is facing an extreme danger of starvation. They are also suffering under a revengeful “reformed” Government that is actively seeking all who co-operated with us. We wasted a lot of blood and treasure and for what? It’s as though we were never there, and the surviving population is probably wishing we hadn’t been.
  Thankfully our political class is resilient and unaffected by past lessons, so we almost immediately became embroiled in the Russia/Ukraine situation. Using that same “hypothetical” logic that with minor exceptions has always proven to be detrimental, both Democrats and Republicans wholeheartedly supported our interference in a conflict that involves neither a neighbor, ally, or significant trade partner. Russia and Ukraine are actual neighbors and have a centuries-long history of disputes and wars. 5 million Ukrainians speak Russian and until recently were in the same country, but that’s no deterrence to our involvement. As of yet, we don’t have troops on the ground, but we are sending them military and financial aid. I like the Ukrainians and wish them all the best, but this is looking like a protracted war (our favorite kind) and we will be spending much much more. We’re at the point now that if we stop aiding them, we will be vilified as responsible for all the death and destruction that ensues. If you believe the current administration that this conflict is solely responsible for the spike in the cost of gas and groceries,(wink, wink) then that’s another bad reason to be involved.
  If I was a cynical person, I might think that we’re incapable as a culture of learning from past mistakes. Another alternative is that we elect a lot of really stupid people, which would make us stupid. Although both concepts are probably partially right, I’ll go with the thought that we have a national compulsion to get involved in other people’s business, regardless of cost or necessity to the welfare of the American public.

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