The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

February 18, 2014

Our View: Dismantling the war in Afghanistan

— Some waved flags, some shed tears and others held up signs of support as they gathered in Pierce City on Monday for a send-off ceremony for the Missouri National Guard’s 276th Engineer Company.

The 154 Guard members are being deployed to Afghanistan to continue taking down operations as the United States prepares to hand over security responsibilities to Afghan soldiers and police by the end of this year.

No matter what our thoughts are regarding U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, we support all of our troops there and are thankful for their service.

Pierce City has been home to a Guard company since 1877, and on Monday members of the community rightly showed support for the young men and women who will leave today to begin their assignment. This is the company’s first deployment.

And for some in the company, this may well be their first trip away from home. We were touched when Gov. Jay Nixon presented the flag of Missouri to Pvt. Trevor Carney, who at age 18 is the youngest member of the company.

In 2011, President Barack Obama announced plans to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, saying that by the end of 2014 the mission in Afghanistan would be one of support rather than one of combat.

We expect that troops will continue to be sent to Afghanistan for several years to come, but we continue to hold out hope that the complete withdrawal of our forces will be sooner rather than later.

Until then, our gratitude goes to those who are members of the military, as do our prayers for a safe return.

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