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After reading Michael O’Hanlon’s June 6 column “In Afghanistan, success is worth paying for,” I finally realized what bothered me about his statements. He did indeed quote some less publicized statistics about recent successes in various provinces, and the actual “costs” of these successes. But as usual, and in keeping with his intellectually elite partners in Washington, he failed miserably to talk about the real “costs” of the war in Afghanistan.

As a taxpayer, I am as aware of the money being spent on the war as the next person. But as a soldier and father, I have a lot more insight into what this war is actually costing our country. Aside from the social and educational programs that have been scrapped to pay for huge government contracts, there is the toll on the American families that no dollar amount can be equated to. Our national budget is obviously at the center of the debate for further defense spending, but little has been said about the effect on the spouses and children of soldiers who are deployed, wounded or killed. And what about the emotional toll on the thousands of children who are waiting to see if their deployed parent is going to come home?

Barely a word has been spoken about these “costs” of war.

Maybe Michael O’Hanlon and some of his buddies from their think tank can go discuss it at my house … since I’m never there to do it.

Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Rogers

Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan

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