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Senseless Death

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

The war in Afghanistan continues. But why? President Obama campaigned four years ago in part on the basis that Bush was pursuing the wrong war — Iraq rather than Afghanistan. Obama vowed to reverse priorities, and indeed he has, withdrawing troops from Iraq while building up in Afghanistan. But to what end? Al Qaeda would appear to be defeated, and in any case, to the extent that they’re still around, they’re next door in Pakistan. US troops don’t seem to be welcome. See for instance Matthew Rosenberg’s piece in the NYT a week and a half ago, which opens:

American and other coalition forces here are being killed in increasing numbers by the very Afghan soldiers they fight alongside and train, in attacks motivated by deep-seated animosity between the supposedly allied forces, according to American and Afghan officers and a classified coalition report.

A decade into the war in Afghanistan, the report makes clear that these killings have become the most visible symptom of a far deeper ailment plaguing the war effort: the contempt each side holds for the other, never mind the Taliban. The ill will and mistrust run deep among civilians and militaries on both sides, raising questions about what future role the United States and its allies can expect to play in Afghanistan.

According to the NYT six days ago, “The Department of Defense has identified 1,868 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations.” And today I learned of one more Afghan war death, that of my friend’s dear son Will, a Marine, who was the same age as my son Joel. I wish I knew why.

As far as I can tell, domestic politics is once again driving the war’s prolongation, without the counterweight of a draft. If the politics of this country were at all sane, our president would have a lot of explaining to do. Instead, he’s sitting back while the truly insane warmongers of the other party call for yet more war, chomping at the bit to accuse him of losing Iraq.

Meanwhile, people die. My sadness is laced with anger.

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Categories: Politics, War
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