BRACK: Another local soldier falls abroad; No more build-up, President Trump

By Elliott Brack, editor and publisher |  It was near the start of the war in Viet Nam. This war was a long distance away, though Americans could see its action on the six o’clock news each night. But then that illusion of the war being distant was shattered when a local young soldier, was killed in Viet Nam. With modern transportation, his body soon arrived home.

Hundreds of people engulfed the town’s First Baptist Church for the funeral. It was the funeral of one many had known. Attendees overflowed to standing outside for the funeral. Suddenly, that war was not so far away.

These thoughts came to mind this week, when another Gwinnett soldier was killed in a foreign war, this time in Syria. While not in combat, 22 year old Infantry Spec. Etienne J. Murphy was killed in a vehicle rollover incident, while on his first deployment. He had attended South Gwinnett High, and was a member of the Junior ROTC.

With American troops now stationed in this nasty war zone in Syria, though we are not officially in the war, it is still another deployment of American military to a foreign land where we can’t get much done. It will cost us dearly, not only in money, but in American lives in danger, and possibly killed.

Remember that we still have some 8,500 troops (advisers, they say) in Afghanistan, in harm’s way as this war drones on.  President Obama did a good job of pulling out of Afghanistan a large number of our combatants. If only he had pulled them all out.

Russia saw ages ago that fighting a war in Afghanistan was a disaster. They could not win a victory even though their borders once touched. (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, all former Russian states, currently touch Afghanistan.) Now the United States, with supply lines half a world away, continues to try to prop up the Afghani government against the Taliban. When will we learn?

There’s a bad possibility on the horizon.  The American military now wants to send another 5,000 American troops into Afghanistan, for a “mini surge.”  What will happen? Should this group be deployed, we would suspect that six months from now, the military would ask for a “few additional troops,” nothing less than typical “war creep.”

Luckily, the way our government works, the military leaders are advisers to the civilians running the Defense Department. They may have strong opinion about how to fight a war and defend this country. But our military commanders do not have sole authority on how our troops are deployed.

After all, the American concept is to have civilian leaders in charge of the Department of Defense.  (However, we may have too many former generals and admirals seeking to man these civilian positions after they are retired.)

President Trump will be wise if he merely takes the advice of our military commanders on the question of more troops in Afghanistan “under advisement.”  After dragging on forever, most of the Washington leaders recognize that a military solution to Afghanistan is not even a reasonable possibility. It will take a political solution for Afghanistan ever to return to normal. And that may never happen.

Sending more American troops to foreign soils is an old way of thinking. With modern warfare, on-the-ground troops is not always the solution.

We can only hope that Mr. Trump and his staff won’t bow to the generals and admirals on this decision.  We have all too many funerals of our men today killed in foreign wars.