Mr. Secretary, I mourn the death of Foreign Service Officer Anne Smedinghoff in Afghanistan. She was only 25 years old. She was one of three American civilians and three soldiers killed in the deadliest day this year for Americans in Afghanistan.
Anne was killed traveling to a school to donate books, twelve years into America’s longest war.
It will be easy to dismiss this letter as “playing politics” with a young woman’s death, and you and others might just stop reading here to do so. But if you will read one sentence more, read this: Anne’s presence in Afghanistan was about politics, her death delivering books was a political act (if not propaganda) and your own statement that “She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future” was politics as pure as can be. So if this letter is a political statement, it is in good company.
Mr. Secretary, as a young man back from Vietnam in 1971 you bravely addressed Congress and said:
Each day to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Vietnam someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn’t have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can’t say that we have made a mistake.
We are asking Americans to think about that because how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
Mr. Secretary, are you the same brave man you were in 1971? And if so, will you not demand that American lives stop being wasted in Afghanistan and elsewhere on politics and bring them home?
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