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Afghanistan, 2923 Days And Counting

So we’re entering our ninth year in the war in Afghanistan. I almost don’t even know what that means..the middle years were such a blur. I can think of entire seasons from 2003 through about late 2007 when the media coverage on the war was lack-luster and rather matter-of-fact, we began to stop caring: “another two coalitions fighters are gunned down outside the main city of Kandahar in that province of Afghanistan today-in other news, a cat that plays the piano.” Everyone’s focus was on the surge in Iraq (which was affective), but the real terrorists havens were always in the Afghani Frontier provinces and along their Pakistani border. And now we’re getting more troops in those areas, but measureable progress is still slow, where’s the light at the end of this tunnel to nowhere. Just call me Mr. Ye-Of-Little-Faith when it comes to the viabilty of Afghanistan as a sovereighn nation. When was the last time the Afghani people had control over their government, first the British, then the Soviets, now us. I have to admit it tho, the administration’s new “winning over hearts and minds” campaign has potential-even if it might be a case of too little to late. The idea that if the Coalition forces are able to train the Afghan army, guarantee protection for the civilians, educate everyone about their intentions in the region, they will respact and appreciate us and see us as allies rather than foreigners inveding their homeland. Can you even imagine that notion coming out of the Bush White House? Didn’t think so. The hearts and minds campaign reminds me of the “take back the streets” initiatives we have in cities around America. It’s a good way to galvanize the communit[ies] and gain the natives’ trust, but what comes after that? We won over their hearts and minds, can we leave now? if, in October 2001, we knew that this would be an exercise in nation-building, I don’t think we would have approached it in the same way.

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