It was Military “mail-call” - Matt opened yet another letter from his wife Paula, one of many during these last three long tours in Afghanistan.
As usual the letter was short but the pictures of his daughter Amy pulled at his heart. As Matt placed Amy’s pictures on the wall above his bed his thoughts dragged him into a deeply-sad reality and with tears in his eyes and a heavy heart he thought to himself – “God I miss her - I missed her first steps, her first words, and ‘I love you Daddy’ is something I’ve seldom heard”. Given his love for Amy and the absence in his heart only she can fill, Matt cried once again. Matt said to himself – “I’ve spent the last three years watching Amy grow up in pictures and there’s still one unanswered question weighing heavy on my mind - will Amy ever understand the reasons why I wasn’t there?”
I’d love to believe Matt was one of only a few who had the heartache of watching a child grow up in pictures but unfortunately he isn’t alone. Moms and Dads have forever born the heartache of watching their children grow up in pictures as their lives were torn apart by divorce, and in Matt’s case (as in far too many) within military-service in the empty-arms of war. Matt is one of thousands whose children spent years without their mom or dad at their side – pulled away most recently by the unjust wars named Vietnam, Iraq, and most certainly the senseless political/religious war in Afghanistan.
I’m writing this “opinion” based on research and my deep belief that war always spawns death and destruction. And although the many like Matthew may not die, there is indeed a certain level of destruction in their life – no parent should have to watch their child grow up in pictures.
Recently Vice President Joe Bidden debated V.P. Candidate Paul Ryan – there was one major point of interest for me and it was this: Bidden adheres to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2014 while Ryan agrees; Ryan also insists “there must be contingencies”. After careful consideration I understand that the only significant reason for the United States to remain in Afghanistan lies in the arms of those who benefit from and manufacture military weapons of war.
“We the People” without doubt are deeply in debt – the war in Afghanistan has cost us $285 billion, $100 billion this year alone – all of it borrowed. The war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U. S. history – a war in which we have lost 1,196 of our priceless brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers since 2001 – unforgivable. Those sacrificed were sacrificed in a country that views the United States as “occupiers,” the majority of Afghanistan’s wants the United States to withdraw from their country now. And – as for our “saving the people of Afghanistan from the horrors of the Taliban”– inhale this: a December 2009 study by the US Army in Kandahar found 94 percent of the local people support reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
The Karzai regime is weighed down with corruption - Afghanistan lies in the embrace of corruption. A study by the United Nations found that corruption accounts for nearly 25 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP). And, according to Integrity Watch Afghanistan, corruption has doubled since 2007. Why would anyone want to remain in Afghanistan – unless they in the end benefit financially from the products of war? Bring our sons and daughters, moms and dads home – no later than December 31st, 2013. Or, as I would wish for – bring them home now.
Thomas H. Hunkele of Troup County is a certified fitness trainer and president of Lakeside Fitness.