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Pulling out troops in Afghanistan

I wrote today's column about the U.S. withdrawal from the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan, the site of some of the deadliest conflict that American forces have seen in the war. Too late for deadline, I get an e-mail from Brendan O'Byrne, a former Army sergeant who served in the Korengal. This is his reaction on the decision to pull out the remaining troops:

This is combat and everyone knew someday we would pull out. I just don't think I was prepared for the feelings that the day would and has produced. I feel very torn between the feelings of relief and disappointment. It's very relieving to know that no more US Forces will die in that valley, but its hard to not feel terrible for the locals who will have no one to keep the ACM [an acronym for the anti-coalition forces, or the Taliban] from doing what they want.

I sleep well at night knowing that Battle Company 2/503rd gave their all, some ultimately giving their lives or sustaining permanent injuries, to improve the Korengalis' security and way of living. The men who served there, fought for each other every day and fought honorably. We can hold our heads up high knowing that, though US forces are pulling out of the Korengal, our honor and what we did achieve there cannot be taken away. I think thats what is really important for the men who fought there to remember.

By Eugene Robinson  | April 16, 2010; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
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Comments

".....and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride." William Tecumseh Sherman, Letter to Atlanta (1864)

Posted by: waltonr1 | April 18, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Stop the war by winning it. Correct mistakes when they are found. But if we promise to support one side against the other, we owe it to our integrity and honor to persevere. Saying it is difficult is not good reason to give up.


Life can be difficult. That is not enough to quit.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 18, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

" ".....and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride." William Tecumseh Sherman, Letter to Atlanta (1864) Posted by: waltonr1"

That was right before he ran everybody out and then burned Atlanta to the ground before marching off to the sea.

While our pulling out of Korengal Valley does expose the residents to ACM forces, it is at the wishes of those same residents, who don't like outsiders, even when those ousiders ostensibly want to protect the valley from other outsiders. If the residents of the valley wanted us there, we would probably stay, because that would plug one leak in the Afghan Border more effectively that drawing a line across the mouth of the valley and trying to control ingress and egress.

Posted by: ceflynline | April 18, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

58000+ lost in Vietnam ! what did we learn ?
if you declare "war!" win it ! remember president Truman?? he made a decision. he had what it takes. i don't know if those two bombs were the deciding factor but they surrendered very soon after.....
everywhere i go i see warships in dry dock, or being used as museums... very expensive artificial reefs !! i would use tires.....
2.1 billion for one nuclear powered attack submarine. we launch them but "never" get to use them..... this is good and bad.... 58000 is a very large number...
the defense budget is just another form of "entitlement!!" it keeps American employed, amen.
if it weren't for defense, crime and the judicial system in America, the unemployment rate would be around 30%.....
try being "realistic!" open your eyes....
we are being "duped" every day!! lied to, promised, monty halled !!!!!!!!
what is it going to take America ?? anarchy, a revolution, third world rating ???????
sports and i-phones, pads are great.... but the priority today is survival !!!!! try being more "proactive!" wake the hell up !!!
do your homework, read, if you can, use the internet, organize...... solidarity....

Posted by: ecesareel | April 19, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

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