Local residents express opinions on the war in Afghanistan

March 19, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • From left, James Frush, Joshua Piper and Dan Davis shared their thoughts about the war in Afghanistan.
Photos by Caleb Calhoun

James Frush got right to the point when asked Monday about the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan.

“Get out,” he said. “We didn’t belong over there in the first place.”

Frush, 61, was among Hagerstown residents who responded to questions Monday about how the United States should move forward with its conflict in Afghanistan. Residents talked about whether the United States should be there and when it should leave. Frush said he was against the conflict from the beginning.

“We got nothing good out of it,” he said. “We just got dead soldiers.”

Charles Dunnigan, 76, said he supported the original mission but that the United States should begin withdrawing troops from the country.

“The mission sort of succeeded,” he said. “We got bin Laden, but the people of Afghanistan are not doing what they are supposed to be doing.”

Dunnigan said he supported a responsible withdrawal plan.

“Give it another year,” he said. “They’re all moving very slowly over there.”

Joshua Piper, 23, said that he supported the original mission in Afghanistan but feels it is time to get out.

“We were going after Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida,” he said. “But now we have enough problems here that we should work on instead of sending 18- and 19-year olds to die.”

Piper said he supports a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan and talked about how the conflict was different there than in Iraq.

“We should have a two-year withdrawal from Afghanistan,” he said. “In Afghanistan, we went after an extremist organization, but Iraq was totally misconstrued. People should have been punished for lying to the country about that.”

Don Davis, 56, said he thought from the beginning that it was a mistake to go into Afghanistan.

“We lost more than we gained by going over there,” he said. “They’re trying, but (the Afghan people) are not accepting it, and they’re giving us more hell than anything.”

Davis said he was not sure how the United States should withdraw from Afghanistan.

“The only ones who know that are the ones who are over there,” he said. “They should ask the troops who are over there.”

Mohamad Alkayal, 19, also said he thought it was a mistake to go into Afghanistan.

“We should take care of ourselves in America and defend ourselves when we are attacked,” he said. “But we shouldn’t go to into war in other countries.”

Alkayal did not talk about how long it should take the United States to get out of Afghanistan, but he said that it made no sense to be over there right now.

“If Afghanistan has a problem, let the people there fix it on their own,” he said. “We don’t need to fight. We need to be peaceful.”

According to published reports over the past week, President Obama remains committed to turning responsibility of the Afghan government over to the people of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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