Turning 18 is exciting. The additional freedom you've been longing for since 16 is finally yours; the future is wide open and full of opportunity; you're finally an adult, and that still sounds like fun!
But for Operation Enduring Freedom, turning 18 means…much of the same as the last several years.
And America has largely lost interest.
In July, then-Secretary of Defense nominee Mark Esper wasn't asked about Afghanistan once during his confirmation hearing. Then-Secretary of the Army nominee Ryan McCarthy — an Army Ranger who was one of the first on the ground in Afghanistan — wasn't asked about the war until two hours into his confirmation hearing in September.
The American public appears to have moved on from a war that's still happening, as the Pentagon looks ahead in preparation of potential future conflicts with Russia, China, and Iran.
And then late on Sunday night, hours before the anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, the White House announced that it would be leaving U.S.-backed Kurdish allies to the mercy of Turkey, and while the Pentagon isn't endorsing a Turkish incursion into northeast Syria, it's not exactly planning on stopping them either.
And just like that, the world shifted its attention once again. By 4pm on Monday, the war hadn't even been mentioned in a tweet by the President.
Hate to see a big birthday upstaged like that!
But since there's still a few hours left in the war in Afghanistan's big day, so here are a few things it can look forward to, now that it's legally an adult:
- Get a tattoo
- Enlist (and fight…itself?)
- Go to college — perhaps Harvard
- Visit a strip club
- Buy cigarettes — which, if its enlisting, is really the only option since vape pens got the boot
- Be selected for jury duty
- Get married without parental approval
- Play the lottery
- Legally change its name
So OEF, best of luck in this new chapter. And remember, if anyone asks your age, answer with “old enough to party.”