Yesterday, Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) — a 24-year Navy veteran and former Special Assistant to Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Wesley Clark — wrote an op-ed in The Hill noting that today, Christmas Eve, marks the 3,000th day of our war in Afghanistan and also carries another historic significance for the nation of Afghanistan: It’s the 30th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of that country:
As we begin our deployment of 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, this Christmas Eve will also mark the 3,000th day of the war in Afghanistan and the 30th anniversary of the initial Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Thus far, this war has already cost the American taxpayer a minimum of $300,000,000,000 according to the Congressional Research Service (and that’s just the funding that’s “on budget”).
Sadly, the fact that we’re spending about $101 million per day in this war is the good news. The financial cost of this war is nothing compared to the fact that 937 American troops have been killed, and 4,434 have been wounded (and that’s not counting the thousands more that will carry the memories of this war for their entire lives).
Massa went on to call for an up-or-down vote on the funding for the upcoming escalation of troops, and insisted that we begin to drawdown our forces from the country — something President Obama has indicated he supports and which most Americans do as well. During an interview two months ago, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev shared his feelings on the Afghan war, given his country’s experience there. When asked what lessons he learned “that President Obama should heed in making his decisions about Afghanistan,” Gorbachev –- who ended the Soviet Union’s 10 year war there in 1989 — replied, “One was that problems there could not be solved with the use of force. Such attempts inside someone else’s country end badly.”