Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.


An American soldier provides over watch security for Air Force Explosive Ordinance Disposal personnel outside an Afghan Border Police checkpoint near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2013. (Photo: Staff Sgt. Shane Hamann/DVIDSHUB/Flickr/cc)

As 18th Year of War in Afghanistan Begins, Sen. Warren Says: 'Long Past Time to Bring Our Troops Home'

Sanders, meanwhile, called for "a vigorous discussion about our foreign policy, and how it needs to change in this new era."

Jessica Corbett

After the U.S. War in Afghanistan passed the 17-year mark this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) turned to Twitter on Wednesday with an assertion popular among advocates for peace: "It's long past time to reexamine why we're in Afghanistan, and whether keeping our troops there is making us any safer. It's long past time to bring our troops home."

Linking to a BuzzFeed News report that pointed out that the military is struggling with recruitment among young Americans—including those who were born after the war began in 2001 and are now old enough to enlist—Warren lamented the numbers of Afghan civilians and U.S. soldiers who have been killed or wounded, and how the U.S. justification for being in Afghanistan has continued to shift over time.

"We went to Afghanistan to defeat al-Qaeda—instead we have become deeply involved in a civil war that no amount of American military willpower, elbow grease, or ingenuity will bring to an end," Warren said. In addition to calling for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, she also demanded that soldiers receive adequate healthcare and other benefits when they return home.

Warren's remarks followed Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) pointing to the $700 billion in military spending that lawmakers approved earlier this year and declaring, "The time is long overdue for a vigorous discussion about our foreign policy, and how it needs to change in this new era."

As the U.S. military struggles to recruit new soldiers from a disillusioned and disengaged public, BuzzFeed reports that its leaders are worried "the cost of the U.S. War on Terror is being borne by an increasingly smaller number of families, isolated and unnoticed by the rest of the country."

Writing for OtherWords this week, Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out detailed the impact the seemingly endless war has had on families, and demanded, "Support the troops, America: Bring them home now. Enough folded flags."

As Bannerman wrote:

Unfortunately, America's amnesia didn't prevent Command Sergeant Major Tim Bolyard from being killed in Afghanistan in early September during his eighth combat tour and 13th deployment.

Eight combat tours—which should be illegal—sent Bolyard down-range repeatedly in a war President Obama purportedly ended over three years ago. A war this country forgot long before that.

A nation that doesn't remember the men and women sent to fight on its behalf has no business whatsoever sending more. And a democracy that spends more time debating kneeling before the flag than the justification for issuing folded ones desperately needs to get re-acquainted with the Constitution—and its moral compass.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)—a combat veteran who lost both her legs while serving in Iraq—also referenced the raging public debate over athletes kneeling or silenting protesting in some other way during the national anthem to direct public attention to police brutality and racism in the United States.

"We've had more discussions about people kneeling during the national anthem than we have about when the war in Afghanistan is going to end," Duckworth said at a recent event, according to BuzzFeed.

Although recruitment numbers and public awareness of the 17-year-old war have declined, BuzzFeed notes that "the U.S. military footprint across the globe has expanded rapidly since former president George W. Bush ordered U.S. troops into Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, 2001. The U.S. still has 15,000 troops in Afghanistan, but last year Americans also died in combat in places like Yemen, Niger, Syria, and Somalia, where most people back home—including some members of Congress—were not even aware the U.S. was fighting."

While some members of Congress have failed to keep tabs on U.S. military action abroad—even as war profiteers like Blackwater founder Erik Prince have pressured President Donald Trump to pour even more U.S. tax dollars into waging war on the world—others lawmakers including Duckworth, Sanders, and Warren continue to demand more critical public discourse about where the United States is engaging in armed conflicts, why, and at what cost.

As journalist Rania Khalek noted in a video breaking down the war on Tuesday, that includes answering to the more than a million allegations of U.S. war crimes that Afghans have submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Keeping with the age-old American tradition of rejecting the ICC's legitimacy, the Trump administration has refused to cooperate and even threatened sanctions against any court officials who probe claims made against the United States or Israel.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist Thích Nhất Hạnh Dead at 95

"He inspired so many good people to dedicate themselves to working for a more just and compassionate world."

Jessica Corbett ·

Draft Order Shows Trump Considered Using Military to Seize Voting Machines

"This was part of the records that Trump was fighting to keep from the January 6th committee," one government watchdog noted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Groups Warn US Lawmakers Against Fueling 'New Cold War' With China

A policy of hostility toward Beijing, says a global justice advocate, has "become a convenient excuse for pushing a corporate, militarist agenda."

Jessica Corbett ·

Democracy 'On the Line' Says Bowman After Protest Arrest

"I will not stand by and I will not stay quiet while the fate of our democracy continues to hang loosely by a thread that the Senate is hellbent on tearing apart."

Julia Conley ·

To 'Hold Her Accountable for What She Did,' Primary Sinema Project Gets Into Gear

"Kyrsten Sinema is unfit to be a United States senator," the project asserts. "Just like the filibuster itself, we need to get rid of her if we want to save our democracy before it's too late."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo