Edmonds Military Wire: We don’t belong in Afghanistan — or do we?

By Michael Schindler

What a mess. At least that’s the opinion of several individuals I’ve had discussions with over the past few weeks when it comes to our troops still being in Afghanistan. It seems the general consensus is that most folks want us out of Afghanistan – including Senate hopeful Michael Baumgartner, who is simply frustrated the media spends more time talking about gaffes than pulling our troops homes.

But is pulling our troops out of Afghanistan the answer?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as frustrated as the next guy when I read the headlines that report another six of our soldiers have been assassinated by the very troops they’ve been training to take over. And no question Karzai is as corrupt as they come; yet, we still offer our support.

Could it be that we risk fewer casualties keeping our troops over in Afghanistan than we do bringing them back home? After all, the suicide rate has surpassed the casualty rate and the VA is months behind on being current with claims requests. Why bring them home?

It would seem that if we keep our men and women on mission that has a purpose, we reduce our risks and casualties of those that fall into poverty, unemployment, suicide, homelessness and divorce.

The question that begs answering is “Are we trading one dangerous environment for another, and if so, which one is less dangerous?”

The only sure way to reduce the casualty rates for those coming home is for our communities and religious organizations to be prepared for their return. Community and church leaders need to have a clear and deliberate plan of action on how they are going to honor, support, and directly engage our military and veteran communities. Operation Military Family can certainly help with that as can a few other organizations.

Bottom line: We have one million-plus men and women that will be cycling back into our communities over the next four to five years. Are you prepared to receive them?

Michael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include  “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.”  He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

  1. For the past several months I have been all for getting our troops out of Afghanistan. Thank you,Michael, for giving us some new perspectives to consider. Once again, nothing is as simple as it seems!

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