America is still at war nine years after the first bombs fell in Afghanistan, where the violence is only increasing. Soldiers have had to battle an increasingly strong and popular insurgency as U.S. officials prop up a government widely viewed as corrupt. In Iraq, about 50,000 troops remain âÄî even though the combat mission is officially over, they are still in harmâÄôs way.
Combined, the wars have cost more than $1 trillion. More important, though, is the human cost. Almost 6,000 soldiers lost their lives fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Close to 40,000 have been wounded and many more have returned with mental illnesses.
In short, the wars have taken and are continuing to take a heavy toll on America. Statistics cannot show that each soldier lost is a son or daughter, many are mothers and fathers, and all are members of their communities. Each death is a profound loss.
Yet these wars have dropped out of most citizensâÄô consciences recently. When asked the most important problem facing the country, a shockingly low 3 percent mentioned the war. Exit polling showed fewer than one in 10 voters considered it their No. 1 issue in the most recent election.
We understand the economy is the most immediate concern for many Americans. But we ask our readers to take a broader view, to take this Veterans Day âÄî and each day âÄî to reflect on the honorable service of our men and women in uniform and contemplate their sacrifices. Furthermore, we urge readers to reflect on the costs of war, which robs us of our bravest men and women. We thank all veterans for their service and hope those still stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan are able to return safely and soon.