Afghanistan: why ask why?

The dedication of 17,000 more troops — with no real explanation about what they are to accomplish, or what the long-term plan for Afghanistan is — is possibly my first real beef with Obama’s policy.

The news comes at the same time that we are learning NATO has killed an astounding number of civilians in Afghanistan in the last year (not to mention Pakistan). In fact, NATO forces have killed nearly as many civilians as the “Taliban insurgents”. If our mission in Afghanistan was not already shaky enough, these facts certainly blur the morality of our presence there even more.

What I want is for people to ask why. Why are we sending thousands of young people abroad with guns to a rural country with a widespread insurgency that we still seem to barely understand? What can we accomplish with bombs in a country that has already been bombed into submission a million times? How can we fight militants who are clothed, fed and sheltered by civilian populations, militants who apparently enjoy some kind of broad support base that allows them to keep coming back? How long will we be there?

What’s our plan for Afghanistan?

It’s time to start hearing some questions like these in our press. We didn’t ask them sufficiently before Vietnam, or Iraq. And look what happened.

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