12 Years Ago Today
Perhaps you missed the announcement.
Two weeks ago, Sgt. 1st Class William Lacey became the first American combat soldier to die in Afghanistan this new year.
Take a closer look at his face in the photo above. He deserves it, wouldn’t you agree? Take a closer look at all the medals he was awarded, for doing brave things that most of us could not do, for acts of valor, and for personal sacrifice.
But he won’t be getting a medal for dying.
You remember Afghanistan, right? The longest war American’s history, at 12-plus years — and still counting?
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the start of that war. In that span, too many flag-draped coffins have been shipped back from battlefields and buried in the ground. And the costs have been staggering — perhaps $2 trillion (trillion — with a “T”) in Afghanistan alone. And yet somehow, Afghanistan has become our nation’s forgotten war. Out of sight. Out of mind. It rarely receives even a mention anymore in newscasts, as though war has become “normal.”
How do we forget about thousands of lost lives and trillions of dollars needlessly wasted — that is, unless you happen to work for one of the nation’s defense contractors who are loving every minute of this as profits skyrocket? Let’s be honest about all this. Most of us go on with our daily lives and rarely give it any thought. I’m as guilty as anyone. Even the President, our Commander-in-Chief — seems far more interested in hanging out with movie stars and watching SportsCenter than letting a little war cramp on his social calender. A cheap shot? Perhaps. But there’s something disturbing and reprehensible about the nation’s leadership acting like the nation’s capital is a personal playground, while undergoing amnesia when it comes to war and the sacrifices made by so many brave.
Over there in places we don’t know and can’t pronounce, in dust-choked villages, on the barren plains, and in treacherous mountains, brave fighting men like William Lacey continue to engage a senseless war with seemingly little purpose. It seems the very least we can do is remember them on this day, yet another disconcerting anniversary of a pointless war that has gone on for far too long.
Here’s an idea. A way to honor his memory. Let’s make William Lacey the last casualty.
We lose about 1.5 American lives in Afghanistan each day. That means tomorrow, two more will die. The day after that, one will die. The day after that, two will die. Then, one more. And so forth, and so on. It’s as though this is normal, even acceptable.
It isn’t. It’s senseless. And it must end. As quickly as possible.
FOOTNOTE: Since Sgt. 1st Class William Lacey’s death, five more American servicemen have died.