120229-A-8536E-817 U.S. Army sol­diers prepare to conduct security checks near the Pak­istan border at Combat Outpost Dand Patan in Afghanistan’s Paktya province on Feb. 29, 2012. The sol­diers are para­troopers assigned to Company A, 3rd Bat­talion, 509th Infantry Reg­iment. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson, U.S. Army. (Released)

On Sept. 7, The Col­legian pub­lished an article titled, “Amer­icans less safe with more troops in Afghanistan” by Cal Abbo. Abbo’s claims are false.

Abbo claimed “al-Qaida allegedly attacked the U.S.” His statement is not only naive, but foolish. Abbo’s assertion is a denial of doc­u­mented his­torical reality. Osama bin Laden and a major element of al-Qaida used Afghanistan as a base of oper­a­tions.

Bin Laden was pursued in Nan­garhar Province by American special oper­a­tions before he escaped into Pak­istan in late 2001, fol­lowing the Battle of Tora Bora. The attacks per­pe­trated on Sept. 11 were planned and orga­nized by al-Qaida.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a senior member of al-Qaida lead­ership, began devising the use of com­mercial planes for weapons as early as 1996. In October 2001, al Jazeera released a video from al-Qaida spokesman Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, where he relayed the fol­lowing message to the United States: “The Amer­icans should know that the storm of plane attacks will not abate, with God’s per­mission. There are thou­sands of the Islamic nations’ youths who are eager to die just as the Amer­icans are eager to live.”

The his­torical record explicitly shows that jihadists who were members al-Qaida con­ducted the attacks that mur­dered 3,000 Amer­icans.

Beyond his original claims, Abbo went on to state, “the Taliban has never threatened the American homeland.” If you aid and abet the enemy, as the Taliban did for al-Qaida, you are des­ig­nated as an enemy com­batant of the United States. The Taliban began a war with us through its alliance with al-Qaida.

To win a war, you take the fight to the enemy, you kill them, and remove them from their strong­holds. Al-Qaida main­tained a prevalent stronghold within Afghanistan, so we took the fight to them and killed them. You win wars through vio­lence of action, killing your oppo­nents and those who ally them­selves with them. This dis­suades those who would join the enemy and aid them in their pur­suits.

A clear goal, however, is needed to effec­tively fight and win a war. Abbo stated, “The lack of a clear goal can cause the U.S. to overstay even more than it already has, exac­er­bating the ter­rorism dilemma.” The lack of a clear goal will ensure one thing in war: defeat. America has fought this war with two hands tied behind its back, with no clear goal that aims for victory.

The imple­men­tation of restrictive rules of engagement has allowed the enemy to easily maneuver on the bat­tle­field and hold ground. Abbo views our ongoing engagement with jihadists as evi­dence that victory is impos­sible. He appeals to the sen­timent that we only create more jihadists’ through our con­tinued war against them. He bla­tantly ignores the reality that through our non-com­mitted approach to war we encourage any indigenous pop­u­lation to aid the jihadists.

Why should the common Afghan civilian risk his and his family’s lives to aid our mil­itary, if he knows that the United States will cut and run when the going gets tough? Should the United States withdraw from the region, the jihadists’ will ascend back to absolute power and butcher any that aided the “infidels.” A clear objective, on the other hand, would express to the jihadists’ that as long as they con­tinue to fight and kill our people, we will con­tinue to respond with force. This clear approach allows those Afghans that ally with us to know the fol­lowing: We will con­tinue to fight until we destroy the jihadists and there is no amount of sac­rifice that will dis­suade us from our goals. Demon­strating to our potential allies in the region that it will behoove them to find them­selves on our side will show that we are com­mitted to victory.

Besides the knowledge that Abbo’s claims are fac­tually incorrect, they are offensive. His abhorrent state­ments were pub­lished a mere four days before the 16th anniversary of Sept. 11 — day in which 3,000 Amer­icans were mur­dered by jihadists and on which we also remember the 2,403 Amer­icans who have been killed in action in Afghanistan (this not including the 4,520 Amer­icans our nation lost in Iraq).

Thank God for men who bore names like Patrick Hawkins and Cameron Thomas. Men who set aside their peaceful lives, took up the tools of war and “gave their last full measure of devotion.”

For Pat, Cody, Josh and Cam. One for the Air­borne Ranger in the Sky!