WaPo: 800,000 Afghanistan War Vets Respond to their Experiences


Submitted to VT by the Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Dan Lamothe and Alex Horton report: More than 800,000 people served in Afghanistan in the U.S. military, and many of them are reflecting anew on what the war achieved and the meaning of their individual parts in it. […] The planned departure has evoked a range of emotions among veterans of the conflict. Some felt withdrawal was inevitable, the frustrating result of repeated mistakes and missed opportunities. The rebuilding of Afghanistan and the establishment of good governance seem as distant as ever. So does the end of violence.


  • “I think for the people who fought on D-Day, it was probably nice for those who survived to go on vacation in France 30 years later and see what they were looking at,” said Loren Crowe, who deployed to Afghanistan twice as an Army infantry officer. “We’re not going to get that, and that’s fine. That doesn’t make it a meaningless experience. But it also doesn’t do very much to justify the cost that we paid.”
  • Amber Chase, of El Paso, served three deployments in Afghanistan as a mortuary affairs soldier. Her tasks included receiving the remains of the war dead, and she prepared hundreds of bodies for the last trip home. Chase, who is pursuing a nursing degree, received Biden’s announcement with some bitterness. “It makes every life we lost over there pointless,” Chase said.
  • “There are 40 million people in that country,” Crowe said. “They’re going to bear all the costs of this decision.” Crowe said he began to have doubts about U.S. policy as he was serving in Afghanistan. Having less and less sense of what the United States was trying to achieve, he said, he began focusing his tour, to the extent that he could, on protecting the soldiers under his command.
  • Ronald Moeller, who served as a civilian intelligence officer in Afghanistan on 12 tours, said he “really doesn’t like” the Biden administration but agrees with the president’s decision to withdraw. But he’s also concerned that U.S. history in Afghanistan will quickly be forgotten and that necessary lessons from how the war was fought will not be learned.

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  1. Listened to Michael Waltz on FOX. For a guy who is vaunted as being a super hero, special forces guy with lots of actual experience in Afghanistan, he has ZERO empathy for the people of Afghanistan. Queue up ‘the military’s job is to win wars’, okay but let’s stop pretending they know about the countries they are obliterating. Can’t have it both ways.

  2. As for Moeller, intel, the American people probably wouldn’t agree with his job there either, as he would undoubtedly have known about our poppy business there. That’s one of our primary goals there, opium crops…but let’s not tell the saps paying taxes that. Does he know the dirt on Tillman’s death? Sure he does. As for the other statements, all the lives we lost there were not for America, they were wasted on a failed false policy to promote terrorism.

  3. The cognitive dissonance that many of these soldiers have been afflicted with is realizing that the reasons why they were there in the first place were lies. Israel did 9/11 and got away with it.

    Pat Tillman was caught up in the big lie that 19 Arabs armed with boxcutters led by Osama bin Laden holed up in a cave in Afghanistan did 9/11. Once he came to realize that he was really there to guard the opium fields for the CIA, he threatened to come back to the USA and write an expose. That’s why his own unit offed him and why the US military covered it up. We’ll never lance the still festering boil that is 9/11 until we embrace the truth of what really happened on that day.

  4. I’d love to know how much contact the typical veteran had with the native population, not a criticism, genuinely curious. I bet they were more isolated than people think. You live on a base, go out on occasional patrols mostly talking with your own unit and a handful of interpreters. I bet we still don’t know much about the place even after 20yrs of being there. If a vet wants to call me a moron, that’s fine, I’m all ears.

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