In 2009 I did my first tour of Afghanistan. I was based out of Kandahar airfield as part as RBGS (regional battle group south). This meant, that for the southern region we were available to anyone that needed help on an operation. In 2012, I served in an area of Afghanistan coined the 'Valley of Death' by eager BBC reporters. At both times, I didn't put much thought into the whats, whys or whens. I was to sucked into the military world. In time that has changed.
Over time I began to question the whats, whys, and whens. What was the point in the war in Afghanistan? Why did I go? When will things ever change? Questions like these can drive you mad because the more you think about them the less answers you can find. Most people in the military don't put much thought into these questions. They are just there to 'get some' and legally kill people. Some people in the military believe in 'the mission' even if they don't know what the mission actually is. I've heard Afghanistan referred to as 'the cause' among many other things. For me I need a narrative and as someone who like to think critically I struggle to answer people when they ask me those questions beginning with W. So, after little thought I have decided to try and answer them on paper.
What was the point in Afghanistan?
Well, I don't know. Was it because of Bin Laden? I am guessing, no. Bin Laden escaped to Pakistan in 2001. Was it because of extremist groups controlling Afghanistan? I am going to go with no, again. Afghanistan has been at war since time began, they have had periods of calm and relative normality but in the long run it has always been a hot spot for crazies. Was there some economic benefit to the war? Politics? Doing the 'right thing'? Oil? Minerals? The people? Democracy? Failed democracy? Diplomacy?
In short, who knows. Not me, not you. Somewhere, someone knows why we spent billions of dollars, countless lives and man hours in that country. There's the narrative of installing democracy but there is plenty of other countries out there that would have benefited from such strong international scrutiny. Will we ever really know why, probably not. I can sit there and smile listening to peoples eager questions. I can talk about the 'good' we did there. I can talk about the difference we made, I can even talk about the sweet little kids who had never seen themselves in the mirror. It's all bullshit though, I don't have a clue, nor will I ever. Anyone who talks about the great work we did offends me to the core. It's a sickening pill to swallow believing that we changed that country for the good. It's changed but there is still more of the same crap from more of the same people.
Why did I go?
Why not. I didn't have anything else to do with my life at that exact time, and it seemed like the kind of place to give me good life experiences. My grandfather served in WW2 and Korea, I wanted to experience what he had. As the old saying goes, you don't walk through the fire without getting burned.
When will things ever change?
Never. I am not even going to try and expand on that answer. That country is screwed and we are the perpetrators of its screwing. We may have made a difference, but that difference made more opportunities for those who wish to be bad.
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