I’ve found a great answer to those who have asked whether it was worth it for American service men and women to have sacrificed so much now that President Biden has negated what they fought for in Afghanistan.
David French, a veteran and editor of the Dispatch, answers “They held the line: The sacrifice in Afghanistan was not in vain.” It is a passionate and moving response, well worth reading in its entirety.
The essence is:
The purpose of sacrifice is not transactional. In other words, a sacrifice does not become “worth it” only if that sacrifice yields immediate, tangible returns—with greater returns necessary to justify a greater sacrifice. Instead, a virtuous sacrifice is transcendent. It’s an expression of duty and faith that has enduring power, and that power is often not fully perceived within our lifetimes….
Taken together, our sacrifices tell a story. What and who we choose to die for defines a faith and defines a nation. The story of horrific sacrifice in the early church, of saints who were mocked, flogged, tortured, stoned, and even “sawn in two” demonstrated not just a commitment to an eternal truth and faith in eternal life, but also a commitment on this earth to an “upside-down” kingdom, where the last are first, where we bless those who persecute us, where we gain our lives by losing our lives.
The sacrifice in Afghanistan is different, of course, but it also tells a story. It tells the story of men and women who loved each other and died for each other. It tells the story of people who chose to leave hearth and home and place themselves in harm’s way to confront a terrible evil. It also tells the story, time and again, of American men and women who died to protect Afghan men and women. And if you think those sacrifices didn’t form bonds between people from very different cultures and very different faiths, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words [BBC video of a child being passed over the airport wall.]
Can you imagine a trust so complete that you would pass your small child into the arms of a soldier from a distant land? We can lament the mistakes and the failures that brought about that desperate moment while we also acknowledge the legacy of sacrifice that created that bond.
This is a tragic story, an extremely deep one of human sacrifice and heroics. President Joe Biden’s avoidance of the wreck he has caused will and should be a millstone around his neck for the remainder of American history.