Last week Gen. Stanley McChrystal admitted that "nobody is winning" in Afghanistan
. Hamid Karzai, the Unocal shill that the Bush Administration installed as leader of Afghanistan, has degenerated into no more than "He's a schmuck but he's our schmuck" territory despite the sunny face put on his recent meeting with President Obama in Washington, DC.
Now the Taliban have retaken at least one area that had been held by US troops
Farmers from the district of Marja, which since February has been the focus of the largest American-led military operation in Afghanistan, are fleeing the area, saying that the Taliban are terrorizing the population and that American troops cannot protect the civilians.
The departure of the farmers is one of the most telling indications that Taliban fighters have found a way to resume their insurgency, three months after thousands of troops invaded this Taliban stronghold in the opening foray of a campaign to take control of southern Afghanistan. Militants have been infiltrating back into the area and the prospect of months of more fighting is undermining public morale, residents and officials said.
As the coalition prepares for the next major offensive in the southern city of Kandahar, the uneasy standoff in Marja, where neither the American Marines nor the Taliban have gained the upper hand and clashes occur daily, provides a stark lesson in the challenges of eliminating a patient and deeply rooted insurgency.
We don't even know what "winning" would look like, let alone how to do it. Squelching the Taliban is a now-nine-year game of whack-a-mole, eating billions of U.S. dollars that could be used for health care and alternative energy research. Instead it's going to prop up an oil puppet and play at righting a "winnable" war.
There's no draft, so this forgotten war isn't at the center of anyone's consciousness. The evening news has forgotten all about it, what with volcanoes and earthquakes and oil slicks and missing white women and American Idol
to talk about.
But if this country can only wrap its mind around the important when it's wrapped in the trivial, consider this: Last night at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York, Sgt. First Class Marcus Twine was in the audience. He's on his THIRD tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is on a two-week leave so he could attend last night's Survivor finale
, in which his wife, Sandra Diaz-Twine won the million dollars for the second time. She's a bank teller in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Sgt. Twine is lucky that his wife was a "colorful character" in her first try on the show, was invited to come back, and was smart enough to win for a second time. For the Twines, the reality show money is a cushion, not a lifestyle. For many military families, multiple deployments is a financial and emotional hardship, often a devastating one. And it looks more and more that the hardship is for nothing, other than so that the U.S. doesn't have to say once again that it got embroiled in an unwinnable war.
Labels: Afghanistan, Survivor