One of the most sacred responsibilities of combat soldiers is to NEVER leave a buddy behind. There is a certain comfort in knowing that your corpse will be returned to America, helping your loved ones to grieve.
Of course, the mission always comes first. As long as the mission is not compromised, do whatever you can to recover your dead and your wounded.
Biden’s wise decision to finally withdraw from Afghanistan produces emotions best left in the foot locker of bad memories. No, we are not leaving our dead behind, but we are leaving the purpose of their death behind. 2,442 of our troops died, plus 1,144 of the coalition troops, plus another 3,500 “contractors” gave their lives, breaking the hearts of their seven thousand mothers.
Fifty years ago in Special Forces training, we were taught “asymmetrical warfare.” Few countries can stand toe-to-toe very long with American tanks, airpower, long-range artillery, etc. If you want to fight the military might of America, you have to fight like a guerilla, such as the Vietcong – many small, unpredictable attacks by soldiers using small arms, who can quickly melt into the local population. We were taught the ultimate weapon is NOT the atomic bomb – it is the guerilla. Look at Somalia.
Personally, I was glad to see us invade Afghanistan but sad we did not withdraw once Osama bin-Laden was killed, albeit in Pakistan. From Genghis Khan in the 12th century to the Russians in the last century to the Americans today, no nation has been able to occupy Afghanistan for long. Fiercely independent, with no separation between church-and-state, we were foolish to think we could inspire democracy there.
Afghanistan was a third-world-toilet when we got there, and it will quickly become a third-world-toilet again when we leave. Does that mean our Americans died in vain? No! They died in uniform, in service to our country, and they ARE heroes! God bless them, everyone!
In Vietnam, there was great angst about being the last American to die there, and I’m sure our soldiers in Afghanistan are feeling the same. My heart breaks for the mother of the last soldier to die there.