Over the weekend, one of our Establishment pundits, Fareed Zararia, the editor of Newsweek's international editions and CNN host, asked a sensible question about the Afghanistan war:
The comments are almost more interesting than the question:
One commenter thinks Obama is a "murderous psychopath," to which someone responds: "And Bush before him."
Though I almost certainly differ on a lot of details with Zakaria and all these commenters, the matter is clear: this country has no idea, and certainly no agreement, on why we are getting people -- Afghans, NATO allies, and U.S. troops -- killed in Afghanistan. That fact ought to be enough for a democratic leader (small "d") to draw the conclusion that it is time to end the losses.
James Carroll at the Boston Globe recently asked questions that points to one factor in our current, incoherent, angry moment:
The existence of a professional ("all volunteer") army that has carried pretty much all the burden fighting the empire's continuous faraway wars makes it easy to imagine that their horrors have not imprinted all of us. But is that true?
Yes, the Great Recession is making us (appropriately) cranky. Jobs, jobs, jobs would help. And BP's oil poisoning the Gulf of Mexico is (appropriately) revealing frightening limits to what our technology can do for us.
But a constant background of meaningless wars, of atrocious deaths and unanswered questions, is certainly stoking this summer of discontent.
About the photo: An American medic in the 82nd Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade gives CPR to a grievously wounded unidentified Afghan National Army soldier (ANA) in a Medivac helicopter November 1, 2009 in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. The soldier, who later died of his injuries, had stepped on a land mine planted by insurgents severely wounding his legs. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) We don't usually look at these scenes.