Ernst’s perspective on Afghanistan is unique

The long war in Afghanistan has been a sobering experience for Americans. The battles in this faraway land continue to consume American treasure and the lives of servicemen and servicewomen. To many of us, this struggle seems dangerously close to being an enterprise with no acceptable outcome.

Last month, Donald Trump announced a new, more robust strategy for bringing this conflict to a successful conclusion. U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, herself a combat veteran, is in a good position to evaluate the president’s approach. Following the presidential address, the Iowa Republican shared some of her thoughts on the path ahead. Iowans should heed her wise counsel as they evaluate the president’s position.

“As a veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I do not take lightly the decision to commit America’s young men and women to conflict,” Ernst said in a statement issued Aug. 21. “Unfortunately, the reality is this: arbitrary timelines, troop levels, and an overall lack of strategy from the previous administration has created an environment in Afghanistan where 20 of the world’s international terror networks reside, the Taliban is re-surging, and the region is vulnerable to the malign influence of Iran and Russia. As Secretary James Mattis recently described, ‘we are not winning in Afghanistan.'”

Ernst is in agreement with the president that the status quo is “unacceptable” either from a national security standpoint or for American troops and their families. Her conclusion is that the more aggressive approach the president is launching, while a difficult undertaking, makes sense.

“Now is not the time to abandon our fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, its people or our international partners,” Ernst said. “Instead, we must once again lead from a position of strength. Therefore, moving forward, I am committed to both guaranteeing our service members are well-equipped for combat, while also holding the Department of Defense and the Administration accountable for ensuring the effectiveness of this strategy.”

The Times-Republican agrees with Ernst’s perspective. We are fortunate to have someone with her unique experience tracking U.S. progress in this war as the administration’s new game plan unfolds.