Chuck Hagel’s first trip as Defense Secretary to Afghanistan underscored what a political quagmire the war-torn country has become.
As Hagel arrived in Kabul over the weekend, two suicide bombs exploded nearby; Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai accused the U.S. of colluding with the Taliban; and only hours after Hagel left, a gunman wearing an Afghan Security Forces uniform opened fire during a meeting in Eastern Afghanistan, killing two U.S. soldiers.
After more than eleven years of war in Afghanistan, Monday’s NOW with Alex Wagner panel discussed what has been accomplished, the challenges that lie ahead, and weighed the successes and failures of President Obama’s approach to national security and foreign affairs.
This war has cost the U.S. $470 billion, nearly 2,100 American lives, and the lives of countless Afghan civilians.
“But it’s not like the costs are even going to end once the conflict ends,” said Wes Moore, a former U.S. Army captain. Moore pointed to a new study out from the VA that estimates that about 22 veterans commit suicide every day. “Even when the fighting ends,” Moore said, “for the people who are overseas fighting, the war just begins for a lot of them when they come home.”
“You begin to wonder,” said The New Yorker’s Rick Hertzberg, “when are countries going to learn that it’s a mug’s game to go and try to run Afghanistan? The British learned it; the Russians learned it; now we’ve learned it.”