In the last few days, We lost our 1000th American in Afghanistan. I do not need to say how much I regret the loss of a single life let alone 1000. It is not just Americans. 2500 civilians have gotten caught in the cross fire of war just this past year. They were people who just wanted to go to a market, school, or sleeping at home. Some were sympathetic to the enemy, and others to us. Some were just children who became pawns sacrificed in another phase of a 30 year war. The Taliban shoots, bombs through IED’s, and terrorizes civilians then uses them as human shields. Some died because they were too near the guilty. Death and destruction rained down on the just and unjust in the blind fog of war. We too killed civilians even though we try to avoid it. Our intention is honorable, but dead is dead. This is why we mourn them all. I look forward to the day when peace comes to that land torn by war for at least the last 30 years. I pray for that day to come as quickly as it is sustainable. Peace with freedom not peace with terror and oppression. The Taliban must never hold power again. Afganistan has advanced 500 years in the last 5. Girls can go to school. Women can work outside of the home and even vote. Children can play music. Christians do not live in fear of execution and torture. Roads are being built. Mines are being recovered. Real medical care is arriving to more and more of the nation. The people get to vote for leadership for the first time in the land’s nearly 1500 year modern history. Leaving these people at this juncture would be a crime against humanity. I support our President’s plan to leave the country a stable ally. I support the plan to keep terrorist training camps and bases out of that mountainous fortress. We do not need to go back and fight a second time because we were impatient the first time. Forces of evil based in Afghanistan have brought terror and devastation to the world. Forces of good will be advanced by the establishment of a free republic in the heart of Islamic traditionalism. The nation will emerge as a model of human rights in that part of the world. It will not be the U. S. It will not look like us. They will do things their own way. That is okay. The world is a big place. The institutions of freedom take root in many lands and bear various fruits, but what we all hold in common is a respect for the freedom and dignity of the human spirit. The country will grow and develop. We have assisted in the rebirth of a people, but like parents we have to let go slowly and let them control their own destiny. We did it with Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. We can certainly do it with this ferociously independent people. The 1000 Americans who sacrificed themselves so we can live a more secure life are heros. Their sacrifice is not lost on us. We have not forgotten them. We shall always support the servicemembers who are putting themselves in harm’s way for the cause of liberty. May GOD comfort the families and strengthen the spine of the nation they loved to the point of death. May GOD give grace to the United States.