Congress must halt open-ended invitations to war

The Examiner

Steve Kellogg, Independence  

To the editor: 

With heart-wrenching images of desperate departures, the sting of Taliban using American equipment proclaiming victory where Americans served, and the anguished cries from those left behind still reporting threats to their life and executions of their colleagues, the war in Afghanistan ended. Strong voices now castigate the decision to leave, arguing that staying prevented attacks for the past 20 years, calling the evacuation of over 120,000 US citizens, allies, and their families in just 18 days following the government collapse a leadership failure, and decrying the abandonment of those unable to leave. 

As a Vietnam era veteran, it is a flashback to the failures, atrocious finale and need to end that long war. The guiding principle on which those wars and endings should be evaluated, for me, is the kind of future we want. 

The world has changed. Since World War II, ideologies have not been eliminated by overwhelming military force. Even the principles of Naziism continue to flare in America. Following the Vietnam war, we learned that we can work diplomatically with enemies and eventually have bilateral relations with them and even visit them as tourists. 

Unless we want an endless future brutalizing those who despise us, we must stop fighting, start talking and find new ways to preserve life and promote freedom rather than trying to destroy those who oppose us with all its unsuccessful and collateral consequences. 

To move to that future Congress needs to repeal the open-ended authorizations for use of military force, and resume its constitutional responsibility to decide when to declare war.