Buffered From Afghanistan's Stark Costs

05/25/2011 03:10 pm ET
  • Steve Clemons Washington Editor at Large of The Atlantic and founder and senior fellow of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation.

The clip above is one of several excellent news clips done by Al Jazeera English's Clayton Swisher. As i was watching this, I realized that Americans hardly see images form the field and front lines in Afghanistan.

Americans don't feel directly the financial costs of the war. They don't pay a direct tax to support the more than $100 billion a year effort (after the surge is in place), and the US still has a volunteer army -- so the impact that might have been felt by society from a large scale draft is not there.

America is engaged in big time, significant, long wars with a light footprint on the American psyche.

I think that Swisher's video clips are a small but important corrective. We need to see more of what is happening in Afghanistan.

We need to pay for wars we engage in -- not just leave the debts of conflict to the next generation. We need to feel the real sacrifices involved with what has become for too many a casual game.

-- Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note. Clemons can be followed on Twitter @SCClemons

Update: Here are video clips from Swisher's series on Afghanistan following the one above.

Marines Hunt Elusive Foes in Helmand:

Afghan Training a Challenge for US Marines:

Transporting US Wounded in Helmand:

-- Steve Clemons