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!