My 20-year-old son is a Navy sailor. He currently is stationed in San Diego. My wife and I pray for his safety each and every day.
So we found particularly pertinent the assessment of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan is “likely to result in failure” if our current troop levels are not increased within a year.
If President Obama heeds Gen. McChrystal’s assessment, if the Pentagon orders more troops to Afghanistan to mount the “comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign” the general advises, there is a distinct possibility that our young man will be dispatched to Kabul.
There already are thousands of Navy personnel on the ground in Afghanistan, putting their lives on the line for their country. Indeed, just a fortnight ago, a Navy Corpsman just one year older than our son was killed by a bomb blast while supporting U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan.
Yet, even though a U.S. military “surge” in Afghanistan could very well mean that our only child will be deployed to Afghanistan for six to 12 months, during which he almost certainly would find himself in harm’s way, we nonetheless agree with Gen. McCrystal’s sober analysis and we support his call for a counterinsurgency campaign.
My wife and I do not like to think about the dangers that could lie ahead for our young man in Afghanistan. But, at the same time, we think of the nearly 850 young men and women serving our nation’s military who have died in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001.
If the Taliban manage to regain control of Kabul, if Afghanistan once again becomes a safe haven for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, then the young American heroes who’ve died in Afghanistan over the past eight years will have done so in vain.
Our son swore an oath before God to support and defend his country against all enemies – even at the risk of his very life. We, his parents, continue to pray for him and for our men and women in uniform.