It is a good outcome that Bales has been held accountable for his deadly attacks on Afghan civilians. But his crimes are not the only heinous incidents involving U.S. personnel to have occurred in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
Once again, the United States has officially handed over the keys to the Bagram detention center to the Afghans. Only just as with the previous agreement to do exactly the same thing, the U.S. military will actually not be handing over all of the detainees in its control.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai's order to his forces to wrest control of Bagram prison from the U.S. highlights Afghans' growing testiness. It comes just as talks begin on new security arrangements to govern a continued U.S. military presence.
Having been in the country for the past decade and seized and imprisoned thousands of suspected fighters, the United States has an obligation to help the Afghan government establish a justice system that will treat them fairly. It will surely be blamed later if it doesn't.
Back when he was a candidate, then-Senator Obama criticized President George W. Bush for his frequent reliance on signing statements to circumvent Congressional intent. What a difference executive power makes.
Politically, there may be reasons why Congress has supported the National Defense Authorization Act, including the many earmarks that bring costly projects to members' districts. But as a matter of national security and American principles, the bill is a disaster.
And as long as the U.S. remains "at war" either literally or rhetorically, either directly or by proxy, we will continue to present our infrastructure as legitimate targets to our adversaries. If we want to be safe, we have to end the wars!
While some secrecy is obviously necessary in the conduct of a war, the U.S. government's extreme secrecy about its detention of thousands of Afghans without charge or trial at the U.S.-run Bagram Air Base is actually creating a threat to U.S. troops, not alleviating one.
The death of the world's most wanted terrorist is building up pressure on the United States government to end our country's longest-running war. The question now is whether the American public and its leaders are willing to invest in a long-term strategy for peace.
As the war in Afghanistan drags into its tenth year, the United States doesn't need more martyrs. It does need to do a much better job of winning regional support for its mission. Sending innocent prisoners home would be a good start.