A 22-year-old soldier from Washington County died Wednesday in Afghanistan, the U.S. Department of Defense reported. Army Pfc. Andrew J. Keller was killed when insurgents attacked his unit in Charkh, in the southern part of Logar province. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Caserma Ederle, Vicenza, Italy. He was deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom. Keller graduated from Southridge High School in Beaverton in 2008.
In news that probably barely registered, if anyone outside of the Portland area noticed at all, Army PFC Andrew Keller was killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday. He’d been there for all of a month. Keller was four years removed from high school and due to marry his girlfriend, who now must face the prospect of burying him.
There’s no reason anyone should be making anything more out of Keller’s death than they would for any other soldier. He knew the risks when he enlisted; who could have imagined that he wouldn’t even last into his second month in Afghanistan? Still, I have to wonder just what noble purpose Keller died for. How does his death contribute to the popular myth that we’re fighting terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them here? How does the continued bleeding of American forces in Afghanistan contribute to the protection of our freedom and liberty? Can anyone explain how America is a better place for the steady stream of young Americans being flown home in flag-draped boxes?
Keller is the 34th Oregonian to be killed in Afghanistan. Many Americans aren’t even aware that the US military is still fighting there…and the tragedy is that soldiers like Andrew Keller continue dying in a war that America no longer gives a damn about. We’ve been at war in Aghanistan for 11 years. Originally the casus belli was the hunt for Osama bin-Laden, who was found and killed on May 2, 2011. Whether you agree with the morality of that act or not, the hunt for bin-Laden was the reason we were in Afghanistan. The mission was accomplished, and yet Americans are still dying…thought I’m not certain anyone can make a convincing argument for what it is they’re dying for. It seems we’re propping up a corrupt government destined to collapse approximately 20 minutes after the last US C-130 takes off from Kabul International Airport.
The plan, at least insofar as I understand it, is for Americans forces to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, fully three and a half years after bin-Laden was killed. I can’t help but wonder why young Americans like PFC Keller continue to be sacrificed in Afghanistan. If someone can explain to me why Americans are still in harm’s way in a country we can’t conquer or fix (the British couldn’t do it, and the Soviets, who didn’t skimp on brutality, couldn’t do it), I’m willing to listen. Go ahead; I’ll wait….
Meanwhile, young Americans like PFC Andrew Keller continue dying in a faraway land…and for what??