Marjah was supposed to be the breaking point, the defining turn where we would break the back of the Taliban, move the Afghan government and their forces into place.
Then move on.
Clear. Hold. Build.
I can still hear Condoleeza Rice saying those words about Iraq. Today I heard Iraqis complaining that before the U.S. invaded they might be without electricity 3 hours out of every 12. Now they are lucky to get 3 hours of electricity for every 12 hours.
It was 125 degrees in Baghdad today. Picture that with no juice, no fan, no refrigerator. You might be ready to blow something up too.
After all these millions.... Sorry, all these billions of dollars and lives lost! Now the country is sweltering in another summer of poverty with the government at a stalemate. Sometimes imported democracy ends in a deadlock and gridlock. Just like our homegrown stuff.
We were supposed to have Marjah, Afghanistan all done and up and running by now. Didn't work so well. Then, we'd do the same in Kandahar, take the home turf from the Taliban and be home by Christmas. Well.... no.... Maybe July Fourth, 2011.
Too bad about Kandahar. It's 10 times the size of Marjah. Our allies will be pulling their troops out soon. How does this end? How does this end well?
War. Peace. And God.
Our former pastor, Gary Simpson, wrote it a couple of years ago as things were gearing up. Many high profile American clerics backed our wars as just wars, if not downright holy wars. Gary was a little more circumspect.
I like Gary a lot. Our daughters used to play together. Gary, Sharon, Jean and I were in a small group for a while. Struggled through issues of feminism and faith together. He's a tennis nut. A real guy with a humble heart and a head on his shoulders.
I wonder if anybody has taken the long look at counterinsurgency? May be a little different deal from the war they had in mind when they blessed our Iraq and Afghanistan invasions. Forgive me, Afghanistan came first.
Tell me how Afghanistan ends that isn't worse than how Vietnam ended.
Does anyone but the families of soldiers care?
Is anybody still out there?
Is anybody up there?
Father, forgive us. For we know not what we do.