David Martin (60 Minutes): It's been two years since that operation, and it's still not safe to go into Ganjgal.
Dakota Meyer: It's not.
Martin: For all that loss of life, for all your courage -- what was gained?
*Dakota Meyer received the Medal of Honor on September 15 for his bravery trying to save his comrades during a deadly ambush in Afghanistan. Meyer was interviewed for the 60 Minutes episode that aired this past weekend.
Last week's anniversary of the September 11th attacks offered all Americans an opportunity to reflect on the losses of that day and the changes our country has undergone in the past decade.
Yesterday, September 18, 2011, gives us an opportunity to reflect on another somber anniversary -- ten years ago, George W. Bush signed the authorization to send military forces to Afghanistan.
Our nation's longest war began with a clear goal of disposing of Osama Bin Laden, those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and anyone who harbored them. Ten years on, we've accomplished our mission. It's time to end our involvement in Afghanistan and declare victory.
The mission to capture Bin Laden and bring down the Taliban in Afghanistan has cost American families over 1,500 dead and 13,000 wounded, and cost American taxpayers close to $300 billion. Too much American blood and treasure have been spent in Afghanistan, and the impact is far from over.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will continue to have an impact on communities across the country as the thousands of young men and women wounded in the conflicts require long term treatment for the signature wounds of traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress syndrome. I've met with too many families who've lost a loved one or seen them come home with missing limbs and other serious injuries. I believe it's time to get as many of our brave men and women in uniform home as quickly as possible.
Earlier this year, I had a chance to travel to Afghanistan and meet with American leadership on the ground including General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, as well as many young men and women serving there in uniform. Our people have done and continue to do good work as they've been ordered to, but it is time to let the Afghan people take responsibility for their country. As long as American troops remain in Afghanistan, our tax dollars will continue to support development in Afghan towns, building roads and schools, at a time when we should be rebuilding the infrastructure in our own country.
During my visit to Afghanistan, military commanders told me they expect to see a U.S. military presence in the country for another eight to ten years. That is far too long. It took ten years for American troops to confront Bin Laden. I do not want to see another ten pass before they're finally brought home.
We must end this war now.