The damages of war go far beyond what we once believed; society has now reached an understanding about the kind of moral, communal and psychological toll war can have on the soldiers, their family, community and even country.
Last weekend marked another grim new milestone for the war in Afghanistan: more than twice as many U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan since President Obama took office than in the eight years Bush was president.
In a real sense, there were no surprises in the president's announcement, or in the reactions. What is troubling, however, is that the debate focused on numbers and dates and not on the war itself and what really needs to be done to end it. In this, I have problems with both sides.
The United States will undoubtedly withdraw from Afghanistan at some time in the future, and it can either choose to do so under its own realistic timeline, or continue to push it off until it realizes it cannot meet unrealistic goals.
Julian Assange has done America a service by releasing the new "Pentagon Papers" on Afghanistan. He reveals to a citizenry that has been left in the dark about the true nature of the war just what is going on.
In the AfPak theater it is impossible to say what is Washington's objective. Short of a massive force expansion, the ignominious end seems likely to come soon, for political rather than military reasons.
By sending 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, President Obama has made a tragic mistake that could define, and undermine, his entire presidency. Ending the war is, of course, more important than quibbling over its beginning.
Walking the streets of this ancient and haunting city, imbibing its culture and recalling its history, one can easily recognize why it suffers from a condition that can only be described as "perpetual dysfunction."