The past decade has been revolutionary for the U.S. military. It has adapted to a very old kind of warfare for which it was unprepared, developed new tools to defeat terrorists, and—most of all—seen extraordinary determination and courage from a new generation. As the wars begin to wind down and the country struggles to pay the bills it has accumulated, we must ensure that those who have borne the burden are not forgotten and that the nation remembers and cares for our veterans and their families, as they deserve and have earned.
In the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the victory over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq known as Desert Storm, the U.S. military focused on improving its capability to fight conventional war against conventional enemies—although there were few to be found.
When the attacks of 11 September 2001 found three of their four targets, America rightly attacked an Afghan government that shielded al Qaeda, toppling the Taliban in an innovative campaign that relied upon Special Forces soldiers, some on horseback, calling in the support of the Air Force, the world’s most powerful.