09/19/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Why We Are in Afghanistan

At some point that I missed, the New York Times shifted its daily count of the American dead in Iraq to a count of our dead in Afghanistan, now heading toward 800.

In keeping with the grim statistics of the growing war, the Times is also reporting that candidates in the coming election are staking their ground on how to negotiate with the Taliban--which logically portends eventual capitulation (wasn't the whole point of our being there to obliterate the Taliban?). Meanwhile, by apparently universal consensus, everybody in Afghanistan hates President Hamid Karzai--a figure of grand corruption--but is resigned to him getting reelected anyway. Oh yes, and we're putting more American troops on the ground there.

This is a certain sort of news paradigm: Everything is going wrong, terribly, terribly wrong, but, given the extended time frame of the story, nobody is paying much attention to it. Obvious and egregious failures of policy, stacks of dead bodies, and an inevitably bitter outcome can still be boring.

Continue reading on