There are lots of legitimate differences over U.S. policy in Afghanistan. Arguments continue over what happened to the “good” or “real” war that after the first five years of relative quiet (from 2001 through 2006 there were never more than 100 Americans lost per year) began heating up in 2007–8 (even as Iraq quieted), and by 2009 (317 lost) and 2010 (499 lost) had become a mess, even as we began to pour reinforcements and more money into the country. (No one to this date has explained adequately why violence increased even as we put more troops and material into the country and disengaged our efforts and attention from Iraq. There are all sorts of possible explanations, but none really have been offered.)
Forget the background, context, and all the various exegeses, and simply note that we have reached a point where the secretary of defense is met with a probable assassination attempt upon landing at a coalition, supposedly secure, airport, and the American soldiers he addresses, for the first time in recent U.S. military protocol, have to be disarmed, given fears of some sort of repeat of last week’s appalling shooting.
(photo credit: The U.S. Army)