U.S. President Barack Obama was scheduled to give a speech today about the 10-year-old war in Afghanistan. He was expected to announce some sort of troop reduction plan. The United States has some 100,000 troops and and equal number of mercenaries (so-called contractors) in a nation that neither the British nor the Russians could subdue in the past.
The U.S. mission in Afghanistan, never well-defined in the first place, has become more ludicrous and amorphous as time passes. The costs are staggering. The red-white-and-blue nation-building notion gets stupider and stupider as the tribal composition and allegiances of Afghanistan become more apparent. The notion that anyone could stop something referred to as "terrorism" gets stupider and stupider as well.
Last night on TV, I saw a three-person panel refer over and over again to "the fighting season," as if the Afghan frictions were some school year with vacations spliced in. Who are these people and do they ever bother to look in the mirror and wonder what the hell they are talking about?
But these are the kinds of people whose opinions the president of the United States will probably take into account when he speaks tonight. In the past, there have been endless announcements that amounted to "just a little bit further" or "just one or two more fighting seasons." Expect more of the same.
For what? Because we were dumb enough to stick our finger in the beehive in the first place? Because we are appalled at the incivilities of the Taliban, a group whose depredations are mimicked in a host of other countries ... countries the U.S. did not choose to invade? Because we are the good guys? Because it is glorious and honorable to send our sons and daughters to get wounded and die ... and coincidentally instill fear into a flag-waving electorate that will re-elect the same people who, without good reason, stuck our national finger into the beehive in the first place? Because war is exceptionally good for business?
On and on and on and on and on and on ... and there is no credible reasoning ... and there are people losing their jobs and homes ... and the deaths mount up like cord wood? Is it possible to put a good face on any of this? I guess so ... goodness has never been much of a priority.