Keeping the Bottom from Falling Out


Cody Owen, Opinion Editor

The sad truth is that it is unrealistic to expect any politician to follow through with their promises. It’s not that they’re bad people, or bad at their job (though that has indeed happened in the past), it’s simply that stuff happens. Circumstances change, and one has to adapt.
On October 15th, President Barack Obama announced that 5,500 troops will remain in Afghanistan at the end of 2015, which is a far larger number than the promise Obama made in 2014 to have only 1,000 troops remaining in the country by the end of 2015.

While this might seem like the typical actions of a politician to go back on their promises, this measure is, sadly, a necessary one. As of this year, the Taliban controls more of the country of Afghanistan than the group has since 2001,and is encroaching on the Faryab region in the north of the country, where the country derives a great deal of it’s wealth. This situations conjures up thoughts of the current state of Iraq, where large portions of the country have come under the control of the Islamic State since the withdrawing of American troops in 2011. We returned to Iraq in a limited fashion in 2014 in order to aid in the fight against the Islamic State.

The seemingly never-ending situation in Afghanistan has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. government and a burden on the American people for over a decade, and the instability of the region has existed ever since the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. That led to the rise of extremist groups to combat the intruders, and the influence of those groups has continued into today.
The truth of the matter is that the region isn’t nearly stable enough for the U.S. to feel good about withdrawing. If we did, the immediate outcome of withdrawing would be a surge in violence as the Taliban and the Afghan government clash for control of the region. A year afterward, the country could very well once again be controlled by the Taliban and become a haven and training ground for terrorist organizations seeking to attack the Western world. Knowing this, the safe thing to do is to leave troops in the country until the government of Afghanistan can stand on it’s own. Though it does leave a bad taste in my mouth, and I’m sure that sentiment is shared by President Obama, it’s the best course of action in a bad situation.