I agree with Biden. It is time to depart

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I can smell the grass like it’s spring and smell the laps that go down. I can hear our endless chats during the waiting times between actions: what are you going to eat when you get home? What’s your dream meal?

I remember the camaraderie and the jokes. And these little miracles, like the time when the army sent us beautiful T-bone steaks. But we didn’t have a fridge so we 20 guys had to eat them all right away. The little plastic knives and forks we had didn’t work very well on steaks. We ate them with our hands.

Or how we couldn’t shower for weeks when we weren’t at the main base and how we just didn’t care after a while.

It’s not what most people would expect, but these are the moments I think of when I remember my days in Afghanistan. I’ve done a lot in the past few weeks since President Joe Biden announced plans to withdraw the last of our troops by September 11th.

One thing I am not obsessed with is my injuries. I lost both arms and legs when I put my backpack on an improvised explosive device in 2012. I honestly should have died.

But my boys wouldn’t let me die.

The ninth anniversary of my injury (my “Living Day”) has just passed – April 10th. It comes just four days before my birthday – the day I regained consciousness after the explosion. Some guys drink on their Alive Day, angry at the injuries they have suffered. It’s a bittersweet thing. You’re alive but you think, “Man, that sucks.”

Biden ends the Afghan “eternal war” for US troops

President Joe Biden says he will withdraw the remaining US troops from the “eternal war” in Afghanistan, stating that the terrorist attacks of September 11th 20 years ago cannot justify American forces, which are still dying in the nation’s longest war. (April 14th)

AP

Drinking is understandable, but that’s not my style. I have a beautiful wife and two children and I am grateful for being with them every day.

But I don’t have a party either.

My day in life is just another day.

Am I mad that we are pulling away after sacrificing so much? I’m lucky – over 2,300 service members will never come home to their spouses, parents, and children. So no, I am not angry.

And I see the point of those who argue that we need to keep a military footprint in Kandahar and Bagram. This is a fleeting part of the world that lies between other fleeting parts of the world, and we need some kind of presence.

But beyond that, I agree with the president. It’s time to leave.

This wasn’t a war that we could really win. How many good men and women should still go through what I’ve been through? Not one.

It was hard enough fighting a determined enemy in remote locations when they used hit-and-run tactics and was ready to kill all the civilians who had helped us and their families too.

But the rules of engagement that we dragged into combat made it especially difficult for us to protect ourselves.

(Above) Travis Mills with wife Kelsey, son Dax, and daughter Chloe. (Bottom left) Travis Mills with his father Dennis Mills Jr. and grandfather Dennis Mills Sr. Travis Mills in Afghanistan
(Above) Travis Mills with wife Kelsey, son Dax, and daughter Chloe. (Bottom left) Travis Mills with his father Dennis Mills Jr. and grandfather Dennis Mills Sr. Travis Mills in Afghanistan
(Above) Travis Mills with wife Kelsey, son Dax, and daughter Chloe. (Bottom left) Travis Mills with his father Dennis Mills Jr. and grandfather Dennis Mills Sr. Travis Mills in Afghanistan
Travis Mills Foundation

We once arrested a group of Taliban fighters in a farmhouse with rocket-propelled grenades, AK-47s and 600 pounds of explosives.

One had burns on all of his hands – clearly the result of bomb making. We had to shoot ourselves out of there. But then the local authorities released the men because we hadn’t even photographed all of the weapons and explosives to document the evidence.

Soon after, I was blown up. My bomb was one of 13 buried next to a road. Dogs found the other 12. There was forensic evidence everywhere of the man with burns to his hands.

At the end of my mission, before my injury, we were ordered not to use our night vision goggles as this angered the population. And the moment a fighter dropped his AK-47, he ceased to be an enemy fighter so we couldn’t attack him. Some nights we couldn’t do anything but watch Taliban people bury bombs.

I’m not here to discuss whether these rules of engagement made sense. I know that there were reasons for these contracts on a strategic, international level. But man, it made it almost impossible to fight on the ground.

Travis MillsThis wasn’t a war that we could really win. How many good men and women should still go through what I’ve been through? Not one.

Instead, I think back to those days in Afghanistan before the day I was alive.

Those days were not wasted.

We built wells so that Afghan villagers could have fresh water. We have built schools where, for the first time, Afghan girls were taught together with boys. We have built state-of-the-art hospitals.

See? It wasn’t just firefights, IEDs, and weeks without a shower.

Do I regret something? Of course I do. I am very sorry to drop my backpack on this bomb.

But it is what it is. I don’t need a soldier to honor me by doing the same. I hope in my heart that the Afghan people can stand alone and that these wells, hospitals and schools will help them.

But now it’s time for us to go.

Travis Mills, a quadruple amputee, is the author of “Tough as They Come”. He founded the Travis Mills Foundation, a Maine camp for injured 9/11 veterans and their families that is on the verge of a $ 5.7 million expansion.

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Released 11:46 UTC May. 2, 2021
Updated at 8.15 p.m. UTC May. 2, 2021