Our second longest war has already played Houdini, doing a remarkable disappearing job in "the homeland." Almost 12 years after it began, no one here, it seems, is considering how to assess American "success" on that distant battlefield.
Why do we have a campaign focusing all their attention on esoteric, confusing, and misleading arguments about budget plans, medicaid plans, education and the like, but nobody is talking about this horrendous war killing and maiming our young people?
In reality, the American mission in Afghanistan failed years ago. It's as if we refused to notice, but the Afghans we were training did. Now, they are sending a message that couldn't be blunter or grimmer from that endlessly war-torn land.
It's rarely talked about on television anymore, and the images are few and far between. And yet, the war that shook Afghanistan -- and in which France has actively participated for a decade -- is not over.
It was a primitive form of surgery. 10 years ago, the U.S. stuck a knife deep into Afghanistan in an attempt to remove two malignancies -- al Qaeda and the Taliban. With bin Laden gone, the debate has intensified: What to do with the knife?
The detention of journalists for trying to provide an independent voice on security incidents in Afghanistan undermines Western governments' otherwise positive efforts to support free media there in the past 10 years.
Massacres like the one in Tucson are more common than Americans like to imagine, but still reasonably rare. The repetitious deaths of innocents in Afghanistan are commonplace in a way that Americans generally don't care to consider.
In Afghanistan, a nation where 850 children die every day, about a quarter of the population goes hungry. "Do you think we like to live this way?" an Afghan man asked me, last October, as he led us toward a primitive tent encampment on the outskirts of Kabul.
I called for McChrystal to go in October, 2009. I called for him to go yesterday. And now, he's gone. But this isn't about McChrystal's job. It's about McChrystal's plan -- the plan for endless war. The question is whether America is turning away from war. And we are. Slowly.