Andrew Exum

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The Afghan War Took an Awful Toll. I Would Still Serve Again

Was it worth it?

I don’t mean the wars — it’s nearly impossible to argue the wars were worth it, surely — but what about our service in them? Did it mean anything?

This question haunts many veterans on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Did anything we do in the years that followed matter? Worse, if the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan hurt the United States more than they helped, did our participation in them betray the country we had pledged to serve?

I was already a second lieutenant in the Army in the fall of 2001, and much of my life since then — two combat deployments to Afghanistan, one to Iraq, time back in Afghanistan as a civilian adviser, several years in the Pentagon as a senior defense official — has been shaped by America’s forever wars.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Bush says the Iraq Study Group report “did a good job of showing what is possible.” Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain said, “It offers a strong way forward.” The New York Post called it the work of “surrender monkeys.” There is no shortage of opinions. Here are a dozen worth considering.

1) Endangered Advisers

The fates of 26 million Iraqis and the 141,000 American troops in Iraq have long been intertwined. Wednesday, their shared fate was inexorably altered by the report put out by the Iraq Study Group, a panel made up of nine lawyers and a mathematician.

Some of the recommendations are sensible, but a few of the military suggestions could spell disaster.…  Seguir leyendo »