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      Words of an Afghanistan Veteran

      Hayden couldn't have used a more accurate word to describe our mentality regarding 9/11. After serving as an Army Infantry team leader in Iraq and Afghanistan, I can say, with all certainty, that we simply have no idea what we are pursuing.

      After watching a fellow team leader and close friend succumb to friendly fire, I began to seriously lose hope in our leaders' ability to do just that-lead.  After September 11th, we were overcome with emotion that we lost our ability to reason.  Upon saying this, I wonder how many of the article's readers were physically affected by that day, either by losing a loved one or participating in the rescue operations or spending time in combat overseas.  I feel anyone without those "certifications" should not say much beyond their feelings, because to observe is to not participate, and to participate is to understand and affect a greater change in the outcome.

      We have not changed our way of life; we are still overly indulgent and all the more pompous and naive.  We never consider the effects, on our country, of two ongoing wars, as though they are necessary evils, which ensure our safety.  We are just as vulnerable as ever.  How many more must fall before we can say we have defeated terrorism? Occupying a nation for as long as we have yields no benefits, as was the case with the Vietnam War.  If we are to act, those actions should be swift and calculated, absent propaganda and ideologies.

      Mourn those we have lost, swallow our pride, and vow not to allow our egos to grow disproportionately alongside our experiences.

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