Why Are Good Men Still Dying in Afghanistan?

I had just finished the harrowing account of just how we got bin Laden in the New Yorker -- including a Navy Seal who tackled two people he had reason to believe had suicide bomb vests on to save the rest of his team -- when I got the first report of our largest single day death toll in the wars that have dragged for near a decade now.

I personally went from cheering the amazing courage of the guys dropping into a Pakistan compound, despite having to crash land their helicopter to find Bin Laden -- to realizing the utter futility of what we are doing there when men from the very same unit got shot out of the sky yesterday on yet another mission to try to weed out the bad guys.

Perhaps we are engaged in a war on terror that will determine the very future existence of the United States as we know it. Perhaps the attempt, despite looking futile at times, to install democratic institutions in Iraq and the largely illiterate and desperately poor Afghanistan is the only way to preserve American freedom.

But if that is the case, why are our very bravest men still getting shot out of the sky? And why is our country's debt being downgraded at least in part because of the financial cost of embarking on the wars on terror in the Middle East?

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Photo by permission of Michael Kamber