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Content Any Way U Want It!

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Content Any Way U Want It!

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September 21, 2023

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Afghanistan War continues because we let it

Increasingly, as I get older, I’m starting to feel like the speaker in Siegfried Sassoon’s poem “Base Details:”

“If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,

I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,

And speed glum heroes up the line to death.”

The bitter irony of the poem is the bitter irony of war.

In the natural course of events, young people should outlive older ones, but in war the order is reversed. The young die and old people, like me, are left to sit around and cluck over the newspaper about it.

It’s easy to forget that this country is at war, the longest war in its history. In a country run by relatively sane and responsible people, the war in Afghanistan would have been ended long ago. It would not be allowed to grind on and on, year after year, like a World of Warcraft campaign where the purpose has been forgotten.

We defeated the Taliban-led government of Afghanistan, the sponsors of al-Qaida. Yet, we’re still there.

Elections were held in Afghanistan and a new government installed. Yet, we’re still there.

The Afghanis don’t want us there, and we don’t want to be there. Yet, still, we’re there.

Osama bin Laden is dead and the inevitable movie about that thrilling adventure has come and gone. Yet we are still in Afghanistan, killing and being killed. Why?

Because of the irresponsible people who run this country, whether they are in office or out. And, it must be said, the cowards who cater to them, when they have the power to say no. But we’re not still in Afghanistan only because of bad leaders. We have to consider the people who put them in charge.

Whenever the subject of withdrawing from Afghanistan comes up, the right-wing noise machine gears up and spews rhetoric about losing wars or at least “not winning” them.

It baffles me what these people want from the conflict. Do they demand some specific number of non-Americans be killed? Or should Afghanistan change its name to Bushistan? Is it cheaper opium we’re after? What remains to be done, at this point?

President Obama’s current plan includes a drawdown of troops that will halve the number of American forces in Afghanistan this year, ending the war completely in 2014. This seems rather leisurely, if it ever indeed happens. The “winding down” phase of the war was supposed to start in 2011 (according to news reports in 2010). Yet still the war grinds on. Again: why?

Because we let it. Most of us are insulated from the war and its effects. It’s fought by other people. They go, and maybe don’t come back. Or they come back for a while, then go away again. Or they come back changed, hurt, needing help. And we’re too busy to do anything about it.

We shout “support the troops” when we mean “more war!” and let it go at that. We’ve done out patriotic duty, sending someone else off to fight for some reason no one understands.

It’s time to support the troops by bringing them home.

It’s time to support the troops by taking care of their needs.

It’s time to do a little nation-building on the home front.

Let President Obama and your representatives in Congress know that the war has gone on too long. The time to bring it to an end has to be a little more definite than “someday, maybe.”

Respond to James at

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